Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Left over pasta" - Scott Australian 24 hour MTB Championships

Wow! 'That's the hardest thing I have ever done.'

Haych - 11th place. Solo Male 40+.
Kate - 3rd place. Solo Woman.

 It turned out to be a 5 day weekend but the extra days helped in the preparation and recovery.

Kate, Mark & I set off towards Canberra late in the morning.
Here starts the carbo loading. Baked potatoes for lunch, pizza for dinner.
We settle into our backpackers' accommodation for the evening, our home for the next 2 days.  As Glenn put it.  "I little bit above our standard."

Nice to relax for the day and not have to travel. We have an easy morning inside, it's raining and has been all night. - 55 mm of rain in fact. We are starting to worry about the track and are thinking back to the Garmin last year and the two previous years @ Forrest. All in the rain.

By late morning the rain had cleared, Glenn & James have arrived and we head off to lunch.  You guessed it, gnocchi.
Canberra sucks. After quite a few wrong turns we finally arrive at Stromlo Forest Park, the site for the 2012 Scott Australian 24 hr MTB Championships. What a fantastic venue. We set up the marques & tent on Solo Pit Straight.
Kate & I set out for a practice on the Red Lap with 9 year old James in tow.  We find out soon enough there is no tow involved. He rides like a machine, like no other 9 year old in the world.
Off to Chris' place in Canberra for dinner.  Guess what. Pasta.

End of the Red Lap.
Saturday - Race Day.
No pressure to get up early. Eat that last 1/2 dozen slices of toast & head out to the track.
Shannon is with us now so the pit crew is complete. The 3 boys, Mark, Glenn and Shannon have got their instruction written down and the wraith of Kate awaits should they stuff it up.
The nerves are setting in, 4 trips to the bathroom in the last hour.

12.00 noon. A rolling start for the 130 Solo riders and we are on our way. The Red Lap first. A 7 km climb up to the top of Mt Stromlo. Tight & technical with lots of switchbacks, but mostly dry. Then the amazing descent across Skyline & the tight section back down to camp on The Luge to complete the 12 km lap.
Garmin Connect The Red Lap

12.45 pm. We go back through transition and head immediately out on the Blue Lap.  Not as steep and not to the same altitude but there is still the same amount of climb over 14 kms.
Garmin Connect The Red & Blue Lap

Start of the blue lap, some time before it got dark.
A light drizzle in the early afternoon sees the track start to deteriorate.

6.00 pm. Time to stop racing a 6 hr Enduro and start racing for 24.  It starts to get dark and stage 2 begins.  Can we ride through the night?  9 hours in the dark.  I know I can, I've done it before.  But Solo? What was I thinking?  A bit more rain in the early evening and now some sections are becoming unrideable.

Sunday - The race continues.
12.00 midnight. It's dark. The mud gets stickier, but still going, have not had any spills yet and still........... happy?
1/2 way checkpoint on the Blue Lap about midnight.

6.00 am. Have gone way past the cramp stage. The mind is still good, the body is reaching its limit.

7.30 am. The body is shot.
Slow up the climb and now slow coming down. Legs, arms and back feeling the pressure.

10.50 am. The last lap Red & Blue has taken me me 2 1/2 hours and I'm officially cooked.

23 hrs.Why was I smiling?

11.05 Back on the bike and cross the finish line and straight back to the deck chair.  NO MORE

3.30 pm. All packed up and on the way home.  We spend the night in Albury and I have a massive steak with fresh vegies.  Lovely! And a couple of ciders and a red wine.... or two.  Off to bed at last.

Altogether a pleasant experience. The body will recover but the sense of accomplishment far out ways the pain.
Will I do it again. YES! Bring on WEMBO 2013.

I haven't said much about our support crew in all this.  What a bunch of inconsiderate bastards. All they could say was "Drink that water bottle Haych," & "You haven't eaten enough."  I just wanted to have a quiet rest and go for a leisurely ride.
Without them,  Mark, Shannon & Glenn we could not have done it. Thanks guys. You Rock!

We finish the trip home on Monday morning and I go into the usual clean up routine until dinner time.
What's for dinner Jac?
"Left over pasta"

Friday, October 5, 2012

TdH 2012 - Bright

This year TdH (Tour de Heartland) was a base camp in Bright. 4 days with a bit more of a challenge for anyone willing to step up.  375 km over 4 days with 5768m of vertical climbing.

TdH - Day 1 - Mt Hotham
Early Thursday morning,  Dave, Kate, Paul & I set off from Vision Drive heading for Harrietville. After a quick stop in sunny Bright for lunch we were on the bike just before 1.  Nice and sunny at the start but as the altitude increased the temperature started to decrease and a little bit of rain as I rode above the snow line. As I rode into the village 2h 5min (PB) later the temperature had dropped to 7 degrees.  A quick rest, put on some warmer cloths and into downhill madness.

TdH - Day 2 - Mudegonga Mt Buffalo
Days 2 sees us as a bigger group of 16 rides We set off from Bright heading for Ovens. There is a nasty wind blowing up the valley but the group still manages a good pace.  When we start on the Mudgegonga loop the wind picks up even more and we are almost pushed up the hills backwards.
Now the fun starts The A+ team branches off at Porepunkah and head for Mt Buffalo. The first 15 km are good but we ride in rain for the last 10 km. The temperature drop to 4 degrees as we come back down. Wet & very cold but another great ride and a PB on the climb.

TdH - Day 3 - Happy Valley Loop
Again as a bigger bunch we set off up Tawonga Gap.  Another PB on the climb for me and an amazing challenge for some of the others. The sky is getting a bit dark.  We are told that 15 min after we leave the top there is a blanket of snow across the rest area. The trip down the valley turns bad as the rain starts falling.  Then the hail and then more snow.  If that's not bad enough, add in the head wind and a few magpies.

TdH - Day - 3 Bright MTB
Just for something different Dave and I head out for a little MTB.  Those Bright trails are something else.

TdH -Day 4 - Harrietville Return.
An easy day to finish off. We all ride up to Harrietville for a hot chocolate/coffee.  A little bit of drizzle but not a show stopper.  The trip up 49 min.  The trip back. Awesome 32 min