Sunday, May 18, 2008

Glasshouse Trail Run 11km - 2nd place

I went into this mornings' run with some apprehension. I haven't been doing enough running to have any confidence on my feet. The MTB is definitely my priority for the time being.

The atmosphere was very welcoming. It was my first event with this "new crowd", and very friendly so I will be back for more. The setting was some very well treed trails around Woodford. The terrain was relatively flat, sandy and rocky in places, but never a concern underfoot.

I was suprised to find myself in third position in this 11.4km run after the first kilometre. I felt comfortable enough for now, but thought I'd pay the price later. About 4km in, I steal a look behind, and fourth is nowhere to be seen. I had an extra reason to keep on the shoulder of 2nd now. I didn't bother listening to pre-race instructions so didn't know where the hell I was going.

I definitely wouldn't have the condition to challenge for a win today, but thought I could take 2nd. My form was less then perfect, and breathing laboured, but I could see 2nd was in a similar boat. He was fast on the downhills, so I'd have to take him on an uphill or long flat.

At approx 9km, I saw my chance and took it. It was nice to stretch out for a bit. I knew I couldn't hold it long, so was pleased there was no challenge. My time of 45mins put me 1 minute behind first. The next Glasshouse trail runs (for me) will be much further; 24 & 30km. Time to crack the whip on foot! I take my hat off to all the ultra-runners. In September these guys and girls will run 100miles.

This photo taken just before the finish, slowly catching a very strong finishing 30km runner:

These trail runs are well catered events. BBQ and free G'House coffee mug included in entry. I look forward to the next event:

Free as a bird

Today was a day that I would just see where the wind would blow me. I had already slept in and missed my planned 3am departure to ride up to Peachester for a cup of tea with good friend Brit Ballard. I'd become wary that my body was telling me "enough". I needed to ease off on training and catch up on sleep. So I did:)

Instead of riding to Peachester, I drove. I had a good catch up with Brit who is unfortunately riding out a bout of glandular fever atm. Brit is normally a very active person, so I can understand that the mind is keen for fresh air and exercise, but the body has its days when it must slow down. All the best for a speedy recovery Brit!

It's been a while since I've been up any of the Glasshouse mountains, so I figured today was as good a day as any to fix that. Beerwah is a favourite scramble of mine. It's doable in under 20mins if ur hoot-footing it, but today was a casual day for me, so no hurry. The views from the top are breathtaking. Ngun Ngun (also called Coonowrin) below has a beautiful 3 pitch crack climb in the centre of the east face. Climbing has since been banned on that peak due to some seriously unstable rock columns that move when you press against them. Scary stuff!

After my leisurely morning scramble, I decided it was time for lunch in Maleny. Gourmet sandwich and ice coffee. YUM:) Now off to Conondale NP for a ride up Booloumba Ck Rd to Jimna, and back via Sunday Ck Rd. Some water to negotiate to keep things interesting! I always find waterways relaxing for some silly reason. Does anyone else???

Booloumba Ck Rd is a terrific climb. I'm glad I had granny on board for this ride, because she sure came in handy. The rainforest is gorgeous, and so are Booloumba Falls. I think I need to re-hash my "northern loop" to remove Sunday Ck Rd and include Booloumba Ck Rd to add to my total climbing meters. Great training;)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Training Ride Sat 10th May

Brrrrrrr it's cold. 1am start. Jeez I'm mad! Why do I train for 24hr MTB racing? Ah yeah, because it's such a physical and mental challenge and very rewarding. Well maybe come sunrise it will be rewarding!

Trip computer battery has run out, so no actual temperature. I tried my nice new leg warmers for the first time this morning. They're a godsend let me tell you. Next purchase: arm warmers!

Todays ride will be broken into two legs. 165km morning session (inc. 35km off-road), and 185km afternoon/evening session with kip in between. Total 5500m climbing. My aim is to acclimitise the old bod to the 3-400km+ range if I'm to give myself any chance of cracking my target 400km off-road goal for the upcoming Insomnia event.

Since many of my training rides are solo at present, it's a rare treat that Nat & Matt joined me for part of my evening session. It's been over a year since I've ridden with Nat. She's a different rider now; so much stronger. It's so great to see people living up to their sporting potential and achieving their own goals. You go girl!

Matt the poor bugger has come unstuck with tendonitis in his wrist. He's had to cut his training right back which is sad because this guy is riding hard at the moment and would certainly be in contention on the podium for us solo nutters in the Insomnia race. Hope the wrist is better real soon mate:)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Bribie Island Multi-sport

27 April:

100km of swimming, paddling, running and mountain biking broken up into nine legs. It sounds like a combination of triathlon and adventure racing taken to the extreme, and that's pretty much how it was.

This was always going to be a fun event for me. Still recovering from last weekends MTB enduro, the body was in go slow mode, but still keen for this great adventure triathlon.

When my team-mate doing the swim and MTB legs pulled out with a days' notice, there was no time to reconsider the options. I had only been intending to do the paddle and run legs. Solo it would be! Doh, I'm a sh!t swimmer at the best of times!

My sister and father kindly offered to "crew" for this race, with all the logistics involved.

As expected, the first 800m open water swim was an experience. I wasn't quite last out of the water, but needless to say, I would not be competing for a place in this event. Huh, I wonder how far I really swam, treaded, dog-paddled since I went in anything but a straight line - lol.

2nd leg, onto dry land, shoes on now, and much more at home. Bit by bit, I catch and pass a lot of the rear of the field, up till the next swim leg, when most of them again pass me. This see-saw passing motion was quite amusing for me as I alternated between strong and weak disciplines. The kayak too was a slow one for me; no training does that. The highlight for me here was seeing a dolphin playing alongside me in the Pumistone passage. Any small diversions from my slow paddling were welcome.

Leg 5 onto the bike. Now finally I felt at home on the land again. It was getting warm. I figured one bidon would be enough for 20km on the bike. I saw lots of others loading up with camelbacks, but thought the weight unecessary. This ride was fast, flat and sweet through some sandy G'house mountains fire-trails.

Leg 6 was a 9km run finishing up Whitehorse mountain in the midday heat. Hard work for my tired body, but I was happy to plod away and just be consistent. Leg 7, a 30km ride. It was a meandering course and a fun ride. I made up lots of ground on my competitors on this leg, only to again lose it on the following paddle.

Going into the final 4km run, leg 9, logistics issue. My support crew weren't to be seen. Either they'd decided I was too slow and it was beer o'clock, or they'd got lost with my crappy instructions. Turned out to be the latter. Just when I'd decided to do this last run bare-foot, my crew and sand-shoes arrived. 4km to the finish, and now it was (ginger) beer o'clock.

My time of 8:09 would have placed me 15th in the solo division. It was a real fun day with friends anyway. Might have to see if I can get some swim and paddle training in before next years event.

GAR put on a good selection of adventure races, off-raod triathlons and MTB enduro's. Check them out here:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Merida 24hr - 1st Mens Open Solo

19-20 April:

What a weekend. First off-road ride for my new wheels, first race, first place mens open solo - 369km.

My day started early to help the crew set-up the Tajmahootchie - thanks to the SES and Bigfella for organising this. My TransOz cycle epic partner was up for this race. It was a non-serious race for Brad with little training, but I was pleased he got to meet a lot of the MTB dirt crew I'd told him about.

Off for a warm-up lap to test my new hardtail - it's first off-road ride (without helmet - doh!)

With some more regular training of late, I felt stronger on the hills but if anything this made me unsure of a race pace strategy. I went out slow from the start, but my patience didn't last long. On the first exposed ridge (just b4 the first summit) I blasted past a string of riders. Now with some clear space ahead of me, I could settle to a comfortable speed. All the elite and fast team riders were already out of sight.

Into the 2nd lap, Jeff Toohey starts talking from behind me; he'd had to attend to a pedal in his first TA. I can't remember when we grouped with Craig Storey, but the 3 of us completed a few laps together before Jeff left Craig and I behind at TA once and for all. Another couple laps with Craig, and then Craig disappeared behind me. I later found out this was a mechanical which ended his race. All on my lonesome now, I didn't see any more of my solo competitors till the 9hr mark when Jeff got a lap up on me. Nearly 23 laps (203km) up at the 12 hour mark, but at this point energy started to wane. Some more nutrition lessons to learn - hmm! It was a slow and steady decline for me from this point, but with my competition seemingly dropping like flies (Jeff Toohey current world No.3 was out with suspected food poisoning and no it wasn't me - lol), there would be no stopping. Plenty of time to rest at the finish (where I also coughed up a lung due to dust inhalation)!

Since Jeff retired, I had a comfortable buffer on Tim Ferris & Ross Uhlmann, but appreciated the updates and support from all friends and MTB dirt crew for the entire race. All the support really does help us solo riders go out for "just one more". I really enjoyed so many chats with other friendly riders during this race. It's always great to see so many people going out to achieve their own personal goals. The weather was spot on. Overcast so not too hot, and just a perfect amount of rain at the perfect time. AWESOME!

As always thanks very much to the event promoters, sponsors and volunteers for helping out. I feel so lucky to have so many great events to choose from:

All the goss and photos from the MTB Dirt crew:


Peter Ford from Cycle Sports News summed up the race:

Bike Bling

Ba da boom, ba da bing; new bike bling! My brand spankin' new GT Zaskar hardtail, sporting Ay-Up headlights. This little puppy is a bullet.

All dressed up and no where to go? Not a chance. How could you not let this black steed open up it's throttle?!? It's just begging to be unleashed. One 24hr MTB Enduro already booked;)

Thanks very much to Adam at For the Riders for time spent on my set-up.

FTR offered exceptional service. I don't hesitate to recommend them to anyone: