Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The 4 hour facial.

No it isn't some kind of crazy beauty treatment. It was the first race in the Super Series here in Queensland. It's run by Tailwind Promotions and is new for this year. There are a 4 hour, 6 hour, 24 hour and an 8 hour race in that order all about 5 weeks apart. Nice idea, lots of racing.
I'll get the praise for the event out of the way now so I can get down to tin tacks in the race report. It was a well run event on a great course with a really good vibe. There was a lot of mud. A lot of mud. Even with all the mud it was a top day and a real challenge. The post race burgers were a highlight too!
Spencer had decided to do the race as well. He was even more under done than I was but it was a fun course and we were with fun people. We caught up with each other a couple of times and even lapped for a while together. It's great to shoot the breeze and take the mick out of each other while passing quite a few riders. It's also cool to have someone to have a coffee with on the way out to the race and a coldie on the way home with.
Right, to the pain and suffering. I got a good start although there was a lot of traffic and basically once we hit the first bottleneck it all turned to poo. Down through the first section of course looked really promising with fast corners and tacky dirt. Unfortunately once you were through that it turned into the first of the mud sections. It went on with little let up for about 2 kilometers and included a climb up a fire road that became the equivalent of having teeth pulled without anesthetic. I had little or no traction and it culminated in a spectacular 180 degree spin where I didn't even have time to unclip or put a hand out. One second the bike was tracking along nicely and then it started to let go and suddenly I was in the mud, fully clipped in and facing the wrong way back down the trail. No damage was done and all I could do was cackle maniacally as all the people I had passed so far rode through. That pretty much set the mood for the rest of the day. I was going to try my butt off to do well but was fully prepared to have fun and laugh my way through the race. What else can you do when half the time your bike is going where it wants and not where you point it?
I knocked out a couple of reasonably quick laps for the next two laps and all was cruising along fine. The mud was pretty sapping though and I didn't really factor that in too well to my race plan. More on that later though. As I came through the last of the mud sections on lap 4 I heard a strange noise that was like having a leaf of small stick caught somewhere in the drivetrain. As it turns out I had a slash in my rear tyre that was bleeding air for a minute or two until the sealant kicked in and after that it was smooth sailing again. I had felt a bit squirrelly in a couple of the fast descents and only realised I had a problem when another rider commented on how low my rear tyre looked. I have been well impressed with the Maxxis Aspen tyres and the Caffe Latex tubeless sealant I use. This is the first flat I have had in 10 months. Not bad.
Lap 5 probably cost me my goal of a top ten in my category. I had some shocking stomach cramps brought on by too much carb in my bottles. It came on fast and doubled me up on the side of the trail in a matter of minutes. I got off and tried to walk to complete the lap but found it getting worse. I decided to do the only thing I thought may sort me out and headed off into the bush and empty my stomach. After nearly 20 minutes of suffering and hurling my guts out I felt much better. I got back on the bike and finished the lap with just 5 minutes left on the clock. There was a lot of back slapping and "well dones" going around but I soon put the brakes on that! If I start the lap before the 4 hours elapses it counts. I wanted the 6 laps as my goal and the mud had made that a much bigger challenge than I first thought it would be. Suddenly I had bottles being changed, the bike getting a spray to clear the drivetrain and gels being slipped in my jersey pocket. A slap on the arse from some "helper" and I was off for my last lap. It's a good feeling even though it was close to the time limit to head back out on the track and know that you couldn't have given more than what you are doing right now. I chatted to a couple of riders on the last lap but still pushed a little up each of the hills. I was flat by then with the stomach emptying of the previous lap really stamping it's mark and no gel was going to dig me out of the hole I had dug through my own lack of understanding. It wasn't going to get me down though as with little training I had gotten to my goal in some less than ideal conditions. I love a tough race as it sorts out who really wants to be there. I slid, I ground, I groaned. But I got there.
I was stoked when I crossed the line. I gained what I consider high praise from Nick, he said it was gutsy. That will do for now. Stay tuned for race two. The game face is on! A big thanks to the rocking sponsors I have in Cyc'd for Bikes and of course the boys at Giant for the race van, the tent and all the other cool stuff. Cheers lads!

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