Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In2Adventure Dirtfest

Preparing for the Lemans start:

The FTR Dirtfest 50km race was set at the slickers race venue on Brisbane's northside. I've never seen this course dry for a full race, but we'd be using the newer, shortened 10km loop for this race. NICE, 5 laps ... the shortest race I've ever done.

I didn't get a chance to do a warm-up lap to learn the course, and paid for this by finding out the hard way there were some REALLY sharp and long turns. I had too much speed and ended up riding off the track a couple of times. I'm a bloody gumby!

Anyways, lap 1 was a blur. I wasn't warmed up, and I felt very slow. Many others were storming past, but I just had to bight my lip and reign in the horse, or pay the price and blow up big time. I felt much better on the 2nd lap. I targeted to just maintain a steady speed for the full distance. My plan worked. Many other riders rolled out too fast, and blew up on the many good hills out there. I picked back up to somewhere between 7-9th place overall, WELL, at least I would have if I actually finished at the correct finish line. Thanks to the race organisers and FTR for suppporting another great MTB event. Here are a few more photos:

FTR riders Tim McCullough & Josh Bamford getting off to a super fast start

Opening the throttle on one of the flat sections

Big Al down from the sunny coast, showing most of the vets how its done

Meg once again untouchable in the vets category with her big niner wheels, oh, and amazing riding ability.

AWESOME to see Jaman on his new steed, from FTR of course. Lots more attacks off the front to come from this rider I'm sure.

Passing traffic

Nick Mills well on his way to taking out the single speed category. Top effort mate.

Peter Winfield on his way to 2nd in the single speed category.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kellevie 24hr

I was really looking forward to my first interstate 24hr event, even moreso that it would be in beautiful Tassy. I'd heard reports the Kellevie track was rough and rocky. After just one warm-up lap, I knew I'd have my hands full on a HT. All the locals seemed to ride dually's.

There were a few fellow Queenslander and other interstate riders toeing the line. I didn't know many at all, but I did quickly migrate to the Qld camp;) Thanks for use of the chair Nick:) My pit arrangement would have been pretty primitive otherwise;)

Race start:

I felt really underdone with training of late, but I wasn't going to let that get in the way of having a good crack. The gun fired and, to my suprise, I was leading out the solos. About 4km in, I had a little gumby stack, and a few riders snuck past. I didn't know how many of these were solo or team riders. After a couple laps, I snuck past Sam Chancellor in transition, but he quickly jumped my wheel. I led the next 3 laps in solos. I tried to break Sam on the hills and on some fast flats, but he seemed to comfortably re-catch me on the rough desecents.

About 3hrs in, Sam slowly pulled away. Without any support crew, I had to stop at transitions and didn't have any much appreciated feedback about race positions. I maintained a strong pace up to the 12hr mark (just under 200km), but quickly started to peter off from here. Limited training was showing. Third place caught me at the 13hr mark, and I had a rare soft moment .... I decided I'd comfortably get my WC qualifier, so decided I could afford a sleep.

I felt guilty as crap after 5hrs sleep. How soft am I?!? The course had really taken its toll though. My callased hands had blisters all over, and my arse, well, I know you don't want to go there, but lets just say "baboon arse" thanks to all those rocks. I rode most of the final 6hrs standing up!

The course wasn't steep but included a testing rock garden, some great single track, rainforest sections. My compliments to the Kellevie track crew. There was brief rain several times during the night. It was threatening to pour down, but never did.

The back end of my race was a real let-down. I'd lost some motivation and just went through the motions to get my WC qualifier. Anyways, this race was a great mental learning experience for me: 3rd in category and 6th place overall. Hmmmm, now if work would just allow me some time to train .....

I rode the last few laps with Nick Westwood and was pleased to see Nick perservere and also get his WC qualifier. Top effort amigo!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Inspirational Biking Adventures

I always enjoy reading and following inspirational adventures. Here are a couple I have recently stumbled upon:

No.1. Mike Curiak's solo and unsupported Alaskan MTB touring.

Mike is presently attempting the first solo and unsupported ride of the 1100 mile Iditarod trail. I believe he may also be utilising a single wheel trailer. Mike started one day behind the ITI racers, and is making good progress considering he's carrying all his own supplies and not utilising any en-route assistance. His only benefit is in following the snowmobile formed trails like the ITI racers.

You can read all about the background and his motivation for attempting this route on his blog here. Mike has some pretty inspirational photos there of terrain he will be covering. This is one:

Mike started with 24 days food onboard for this adventure. He's 7 days in now and needs to maintain a steady schedule before his food and fuel supplies run out. My hat is off to ya Mike. Good luck.

No.2. Greg Kolodziejzyk's pedal the ocean expedition.

Greg is planning to pedal a high-tech, custom-designed, human–powered boat called WiTHiN 4500 kilometres from Vancouver to Hawaii! Check out details of the adventure here.

Check out footage of a trial on the inside passage here. This is a 10 min vid, but well worth the look.

Good luck Greg. Inspirational stuff!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Iditarod Trail Invitational - Day 4

The first bikers have completed the 350 mile ITI. Peter Basinger took out the win just 33 mins ahead of equally experienced Jeff Oatley. This was Pete's 4th ITI win. Both riders were in a league of their own, approx a full day ahead of third place Jay Petervary who has yet to finish. Pete finished in 3days 9hrs 45mins. Given the length of this race, Jeff came very close to catching Pete given Pete had built up a 6hr lead going into Rainy Pass Lodge check-point 165 miles into the race.

All of the back of the pack has now passed the half way.

It'll be interesting to see how many continue the full 1100 mile trail to Nome, and also how conditions pan out further north.

Above photo was taken from a ITI flicker photo site; no credit listed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Iditarod Trail Invitational

The 2010 race is underway, and the favourites (Pete Basinger, Jeff Oatley & Jay Petervary) are leading the way with a wealth of experience in these tough conditions. This year I'm watching from the luxury of my couch, but hopefully next year I can be on that startline myself. What an adventure[:-}

Here's a link to the latest news update.

Here's the current leaderboard:

Pete (race leader) has recently left Puntilla heading towards Rohn. Looks like tough territory even on the topo. I can only imagine what it will be like there next year ....

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mebbin MTB Mudfest

Having been out of racing for ages thanks to a certain desert ride, I was psyched to be heading south for the Mebbin MTB marathon. 75km with lots of challenging hills. Let me at it!

It rained LOTS in the lead-up to this race, and evidently most of it poured into the Mebbin district. I knew all my time yesterday spent cleaning my bike was a complete waste:( Never before have I seen such a mudfest! Clay was alreaedy caked to many bikes prior to the gun after a just a short warm-up.

The race organiser had already shortened our race from 75 to 55km. The 45km was reduced to 35km; conditions were so bad.

My race started ok, well up to about the 2km mark with my first big off. Both wheels slid out under me on a boggy camber. I was up in an instant though and on my way. The course would have been great in the dry; very challenging with some good climbs and technical creek crossings. In the wet, everyone was reduced to the inginity of pushing their bikes up so many long steep climbs. It was not only impossible to get traction to wheels, on many ocassions it was difficult to get traction to shoes.

On several occasions I'd slow down and lean forward to scrape handfuls of mud from either side of my front wheel. Then I'd unclip one foot at a time, and scrape more mud off my rear wheel. This procedure was annoying, bit it did reduce the number of times I had to resort to a stick.

After a painstakingly slow 20km I took an OTB tumble on a steep rocky creek crossing. This place was dangerous in the wet; slipping and sliding from side to side, it would be easy to end up hugging a tree if you didn't exercise a bit of caution and keep speed down.

My third big off was on flat boggy ground, in a deep puddle. I did have too much speed coming into this one. Again, both wheels washed out and one calf landed hard on my bike. Once again, I was up and off in a flash. The remainder of the first lap was an absolute grind. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but my calf had blown up like a balloon.

At the start of the second, shorter lap, I pulled out. The leg was just going to get worse, and I really wasn't enjoying pushing my bike up slippery clay hills.

Casper Oxlee did an amazing job to complete the 55km in 4:01 to take out the win. Given the winner averaged a meagre 14km/hr, and was nearly 40mins up on 2nd place, this is testimony to how tough conditions were.

Prize for courage for the day goes to an 11y.o. riding the 25km race alongside his father. I have it on good advice this lad was already struggling big time at the 6km mark, so kudos to him for sticking it out when I couldn't!

No-one escaped the mud today:(

This creek served as both bike-wash and bath. It felt so nice to be clean again:)

Even after an epic 5 hours plus on the course, we couldn't wipe the smile off Hucap's face. You're a trooper dude!