Sunday, 8 July 2012

N-Duro Winter Series Race 1

6 O’clock on Sunday morning I’m sitting in the dark watching my idols do battle in France. Rogers and Porte tapping a ferocious tempo and destroying the peloton. Stage 7 of the tour did not disappoint. Sensational viewing and certainly lit the fire for the serious climbing ahead.

Shortly after the coverage of the tour ended I realised I was running a bit late for getting to the race. The car windows were completely iced over and my feeble attempt to spray the windscreen with the garden hose ended up creating a thin layer of new ice. I rolled into Long mile road with 20minutes to race start. Still having to enter I enjoyed a short jog from the car to the rego to try and make it before it closed. Thankfully i was allowed to enter. Race briefing was 5 minutes away and i still needed to eat get changed and build my bike. Weekends are not supposed to be this stressful.

I got to the start with 5 minutes to go sans warm-up. It was not a warm morning so I was a bit worried about the start. The race starts with a road climb followed by some single track. An easy start to blow yourself up. I knew i wasn’t going to be able to start with the big boys without a warm-up so tried to curb my enthusiasm on the first climb. I held back but my cold legs still started to build up some acid. Not ideal. A pack of riders formed a front group, through the first single track and traffic I lost eye contact. I could vaguely see them on the forest road through my watering eyes. Time to settle in, there’s plenty of hills to come.

Coming back to real mountain bike racing came as a shock to the system. The course was hard. The climbs were long and plentiful. Eventually I got into a bit of a rhythm. Must have been 30-40min into the race. Started to tap out some decent tempo. The course was epic. Riding down some walking tracks, across ice fields. Frozen mud is super tacky so traction was good. I never saw a sole from my event for almost the entire race, which was a little disappointing. Would have liked to ride with some locals and learn some of their lines.

With about 5km to go the penny dropped. I was empty. The infamous bonk. I looked at my watch 2:25 minutes. I had taken 2 gels and a single bottle. Absolute rookie error. There was nothing left in my legs. I switched into survival mode. Spinning  the 36 tooth up climbs and trying to be as smooth as possible. Every time I had to accelerate a piece of my soul died. I was pretty damn thankful for the big wheels and suspension on the epic round about now. Think Specialised should explore some marketing around that: Get a Epic and you can save on nutrition!

Exit trail was still super fun even in my delirious state.

Rolled in 6th in the 42 km race. I wanted to be in top 5. As my parents frequently said to me in my childhood, “Im not angry, just disappointed”

Some photos from Helen Brumby:

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