1st - Solo - 12hrs:40ish
~ 250km / 3800 vert m
Following from the Audax roadie ride in Bright last weekend, Robyn and I decided to hang out in Bright for the week, and prepare for the Gravity 12hr.
After racing this event last year, I knew what I would be in for - solid climbs, flowing singletrack, power oriented fireroads and a heap of fun!
The course is perfect for an enduro. The course follows the river up stream through to the local dirt crit track. A quick lap of this, and then it off into some singletrack over old river bed rock.
This singletrack is great fun, as the rocks are quite smooth and slippery, and they are always moving around. I did a practice lap earlier in the week after some rain, and I had some interesting moments slipping around on these rocks and logs!
Once out of the river rocks, there is a longish fireroad into a climb. This section is great to get the power down and really accelerate away.
The climb itself is reasonably gentle. I ended up making it through the whole race and never used the little chain ring on the front (2x10). I was thinking that next year I'll run XX1 here.
The climb went up a bit higher then last year, and into the pine forest singletrack. Despite my badgering of the event organisers to take up higher into the forest, we dropped back into "Gorilla Warfare" - a classic pine forest flowing descent.
About 5km later, the course leaves the pine forest and drops back down to the river, where we get another fast fireroad and suspension bridge into the final 3km of pinchy and tight singletrack.
The race starts with the only crappy part of the event - a running start to the bikes. I have no problem riding for 12 hrs, but a 300m run kills me!
By the time I got on my bike and into the rider train I was about 20 bikes back from the front. Not knowing where Ed McDonald was, I took every opportunity to start moving forward.
I'd seen Ed out of the corner of my eye in the run, so I was pretty sure he was in front of me. So, with that in mind I pushed really hard to get to the front.
About half way into the lap, I came across what appeared to be the front group - but no Ed. Hmmmm - knowing Ed, he could be off the front of this lead group. So I kept pushing.
Coming through transition, I heard I was in 2nd place. Was that 2nd solo or 2nd overall? Better put the head down and find out!
Another quick lap later, I came through and was told I was now in 1st place overall - nice - always good to be sticking it to the teams!
I ended up staying in 1st and 2nd place for the first few hours, and figured I may as well keep up the pace.
Around the 5 or 6 hr mark, I had a little lull in pace and Robyn let me know that Ed was within 3 minutes of me. Bugger.
Oddly enough, after the 6hr mark I started to feel good again and was able to pick back up the pace. A few hours on and that 3 minutes gap was back over 10!
Coming in around the 11hr mark, I asked Robyn if Ed was going to go out for a last lap. I figured we were both up to 50 min laps, so he would come through with a minute to spare. Next lap I learned Ed was done, and I thought sweet - this will be my last lap too then :) ... however, coming in at 11:50ish, Robyn (and JD via phone) quilted me into one more lap. So, off I went :)
The bike of choice for this race was my new 2013 Cannondale F29er Ultimate (29er hard tail). It was perfect for this race. The bike only weighs around 8.5kg, which is very handy on the climbs and getting over the various pinches on track.
The 29er wheels just roll over everything, and I really did not feel too beaten up after the race.
Tires were my trusty Schwalbe Racing Ralph Snakeskins.
Nutrition wise it was quite simple - 24 x clif gels, 1 x clif shot bloc and 12 bottles of electrolyte drink.
A big thanks to;
- Robyn for looking after me and keeping me moving
- Cannondale Australia - the F29er is awesome
- SRAM Australia - SRAM XX group set worked flawlessly, and I'll be definitely going for the XX1 at this course next time
- Frameskin - With heaps of rocks and dirt flying around on track, I was very happy to have the new bike all frameskinned up!
- Finishline Events - Iain, Russ, Clayton and all the volunteers who make this event happen - one of the best races in the enduro calendar
- The Cyclery - the place to go to get Cannondale bikes!
|On track at Gravity|
|... and I'd also like to thank ...|
|Robyn with it all under control|
|Not gravity - Duo Classic - but a cool photo!|