3rd Open / 5th Overall
This weekend was the Scott 24hr at Mt Stromlo.
This race was going to be a change from the previous solo races, as we were back an hour glass / red / blue lap format, and we were sharing the track with the 2, 3, 4, 6, and 10 person teams.
Leading up to this race the Canberra weather was doing it's best to be miserable, and there was quite an amount of rain in the previous two weeks. Despite the rain, the track was held up pretty well.
The two lap format meant the red lap was through the lower sections of Stromlo (Holdens Creek), and then up the trunk trail to the top of the mountain, then a fast descent down Skyline, Berm, Luge etc and finishing via Little Rascals.
The blue lap was up through Blackberry, Slant 6, Willow Link, out into Deep Creek, back via Shadys & Missing Link, and finishing with the fast run down Party Line and the lower link trails back to the event center.
The blue lap was definitely the harder of the two - with a lot and lots of rocks. The Deep Creek area lacked flow, and required a lot of low cadence work. Lap times would start out in the low 40 minutes and blow out to an hour!
The race start was fast (as expected), with Ed McDonald setting the pace up the first red lap climb. Needless to say, with the start of race nerves and Ed's cracking pace, my heart rate was pegged at 180 bpm!
Ed pulled away from Jason English, and I hung with English for most of the first blue lap.
I had no intention of staying with Ed and Jase - I'd learnt my lesson at Easter Solo Nationals about going too hard in the first 8 hours, so I deliberately throttled it down and rode to a sustainable heart rate.
This was working well, and Ed and Jase were not getting too much time on me - and I was slipping away from Brett Bellchambers.
A few hours in and I came across Ed who had some mechanical issues. He had got about 5 minutes on English, and then lost it with tire issues. Once Ed caught me back up, we rode together for a few laps. Ed was obviously keep to go chase down English, and was clearly willing to give it everything to get there.
Letting Ed go, I settled back into my own pace of around 135 bpm which was working well for me.
A strategy I was using was to keep using the same gearing up the red lap, and really punch it on the descent. I knew that Brett would probably gain time on me on the climb, but I could get this back with a fast run down skyline. The same applied to the blue lap, with party line back being an area where I could gain time on him.
I did achieve a little personal goal in doing this, of hitting every red lap in my 3x10 big ring (44) ...
As the night came in, it was really nice to be doing nice laps in reasonably warm temperatures. Along with the super tacky trails, the night laps were really good fun. Only the odd Kangaroo jumped out onto the trails to keep me awake!
Somewhere out the back of the blue lap I had an encounter with a tree and had a little over the bars incident. I did not think anything of it, until I noticed that my knee was getting quite sore. Around 10pm it was very sore and I have myself one more lap to test it out. This of course turned into "I'll just get to midnight", which then was "I'll just get to dawn" .. etc
Just before dawn an awesome fog rolled in over the mountain. With visibility down to just a few metres it was a real test of memory in descending. "I think I turn left .... now!"
By 8am I could no longer climb the red lap. My knee was just too painful to push the pedals. So, with much disappointment and emotion I stopped with 4 hours to go.
At this point, I was up about 27 minutes of Bellchambers, and behind a slowing Ed by 20-30 minutes.
That is the nature of these solo races. Despite me having great fitness, no nutrition problems, and having set a sustainable pace I got hit with the knee problem. Oh well.
A big congratulations to Ed McDonald and Jason English for their respective rides. Ed gave it everything to chase Jase, and Jase showed his World Champ form by keeping Ed at bay.
Congratulations also to Jase McAvoy for his Masters Solo win, Garry James for his Master's Team win, and James 'PRO' Downing for this Team's podium.
I ran my usual Torq bars, gels and energy drink. 1 gel / hour, 1/2 bar / hour, scoops energy / hour.
In addition, I substituted in some Cliff Shot Bloks, Muffins and the odd Sandwich.
I started my caffeine intake around 11pm.
My two Scott Spark 10's performed exceptionally well - with no mechanical issues at all. I had them set up nice and soft for the rough conditions - 50 PSI in the forks and 160 PSI in the rear shocks.
As always, the Twin-Loc was really useful. I would lock out the forks & shocks when hitting the fireroads and crit track.
Post race, no excessive muscle or joint soreness - a sign that the Spark was setup well and comfy for my 320km race.
For tires I ran a 2.0 UST Continental Race King on the rear, and a 2.2 UST Continental Race King on the front. During the start of the race when it was a little muddier, I ran a 2.2 Continental Protection X-King on the front.
With Stromlo being tacky from the rain, the Race Kings were perfect. Fast and strong. The low profile tread pattern is great for weaving down Skyline and maintaining full speed.
- Robyn, Kylie &, Merryl for looking after me on track, keeping me going and helping me make the right call to stop when my knee was dead
- Brett for looking after my bike ( as well as McAvoy's & English's bikes) throughout the race. It was great swapping bikes every 3 hrs and having everything freshly cleaned and running smoothly
- ACT Bike Superstore for getting all my bikes ready to race. These guys really went out of their way to get all my last minute details sorted. They also hooked me up with some great new kit!
- Chris from Avanti Bikes / Scott for bring down some extra backup gear for me and helping the shop chase up my last minute items
- Mick and the boys for their late night cheering and encouragement up on luge/berm track. Hilarious!
|Garry, Jase and me on the start line|
|Ed, English and I|