Mens Solo - 2nd place - 350km
Well bugger me. We may not have had a whole lot of rain in the lead-up to this event, but one section of this 17.5km course was a swamp. Whilst axle deep mud would have been enough adventure for any 24hr MTB enduro, there were a couple of unseen sinkholes that laid in wait to swallow a whole wheel and buck the unassuming rider ungloriously into the mud-slop. We were a sorry bunch, but once fully caked in mud, nothing mattered anymore. I was on the look-out for hippos:-)
The race was set in Kerwongbah on Brisbane's northside. A nice setting with lake on a well treed property; a relatively flat course. The organisers had gone the whole hog on arranging live music and a bevy of food and LBS stalls. Pity as a solo rider I never got to see any of these.
My race was tempered. I knew I was not at full strength. It's amazing how much conditioning one can lose to the flu. But the plan was to get ahead of the hordes for an unscathed run through the swamp. Having done the course last year, I knew better than most how wet this course could get.
After a fast-faced Le mans start, I find myself on Jeff's wheel. This wouldn't last long though. Jeff dropped me at the first climb, where Craig Storey also snuck past. I knew I wasn't on song today, and I knew to go out too fast would only bring a world of hurt. I settled into my own rythym. In the space of half a lap though, Jeff had lost a peddle and started pedalling on one leg, still faster than most with both, and Craig had blown a tyre.
I find myslef in first, but there's still 23.5 hours to go. By the 3 hour mark, I was still in first (solo), but wanted to pull out. The condition I knew I should have just wasn't there. Jeff and Craig both caught and passed me in quick succession. I find out Jeff's only racing for 5 hours as "polishing" for the World 24hr Champs, so it looks like Craig is the main competition. I wasn't going to challenge him today.
One friend summed up my race nicley. Sometimes you have good races, sometimes you have bad races, and sometimes you persevere and make good from bad. Today I needed to do the latter. I would persevere. Come nightfall, temperatures dropped (not that it was hot), and I found some rythym. I just kept pedalling, and pedalling. The laps slowly accumulated, and it sounded like I had a comfortable buffer on 3rd. I ran out of juice towards the end because I neglected hydration and nutrition. Craig was one lap up but also eased off the gas towards the end. I was really pleased to have salvaged a respectable result under the circumstances.
The race organisers and sponsors did a great job with prizes for this race. I scored a nice set of Ay-up lights for my troubles. A big thanks to sponsors, race organisers, and all the volounteers that helped out to bring us this great race. Most importantly for me, a HUGE THANKS to Matt Powell and his son Jax for their terrific support for my solo effort.
In the end, my bike didn't look a whole lot different to my post-race bike last year:
Lap 17: Still smiling:-)