Archive for February 2010
I went into the race with a completely open mind. I liked my target time of 6-6.5 hours because a) it was respectable and, b) it meant I’d be off the bike in 6-6.5 hours, and that sounded like plenty.
We got to Forrest with plenty of time to spare for registration, toodled into Apollo Bay, checked in and got everything organised for the morning. 2L CamelBak and a 750mL bottle full of Endura. Another 750mL of Optimizer with an extra 350mL bottle of the same to be collected from Fee at the 64km mark along with extra water. Three gels, two PowerBars and a big breakfast of muesli, milk and nuts would power me for the day. Later I’d pick up an extra gel from David and two ‘bonus’ 750mL refills with a Shotz electrolyte tablet in each (which taste great when you reach the point where you’d rather die of dehydration rather than taste another sweet thing ever again).
I self-seeded myself toward the back of the ‘big ring’ group (6.5-7hrs or 3.5-4 hours for the first 50km). The ride out of town was mellow. I waved to Fee and Claire as I passed them and then we turned off the Great Ocean Road and began climbing a beautiful road climb up out of the township, a serpent of riders glowing in the sunrise.
For the first few lengthy climbs my focus was on riding efficiently and not getting excited about moving up the field. If I passed more people than passed me I was happy, and that set the tone for most of the day – sit and spin. When the climbs were hard, I climbs hard. Where the trail was narrow I channelled Jeff and Jim and John to yell “No brakes!” at me and worked the smoothness. And by and large it felt like it worked.
I picked up a big bunch of places by riding the first two very steep, technical grades that had most riders walking, which was a cool experience. Having dismounted riders shout “Riders coming!” to others up the trail for you is very cool indeed, as is having people cheer your efforts.
I remembered people by their bikes. I saw one guy on a red, Surly, singlespeed 29er pass me on no less than four occasions, though I never remembered passing him. A couple of guys I was able to recognise by their tatoos, but as the day and elevation advanced and I was able to hold my pace, I found that I had left most of those guys behind and was now in the company of people I didn’t so easily accelerate away from.
The 50km mark came up fairly quickly at 3.5 hours almost exactly (bang on the for the ‘big ring’ seed). I didn’t stop to refill, but noticed some guys already lying down and stretching, one already cramping so badly that he could neither stand or remount his bike.
With the exception of a couple of ~5k sections I felt good the whole race. I drank as often as I could remember to (a lot). Drank when I was full. Drank when I felt queezy from the sugar. Drank protein when I wasn’t yet hungry and ate a gel each hour from the two-hour mark onward whether I wanted to or not (usually not, but felt better after I did without fail). I had some pain in my hips for a little while as things began to stiffen up, and my hands and arms got punished. The day after I couldn’t hold a plate in my right hand, my grip was so messed up.
There was a run called “Red carpet” which was good, but not the run in which I found my flow. Almost immediately after that section was an unnamed furl of singletrack that just rolled and railed. There was a run called Slingshot that began with berm after Glenn Jacobs crafted berm and that just ruuuuled. Elevator to Hell didn’t seem as bad as everyone else thought it was. The Yaughter Loop looked strange in mid-day sunlight and brought back vivid memories of the conversation I’d had with Chris Quain on that trail during last year’s Kona, but I never felt like I had the speed to really rail it. The second and final loop trails were better and I was in a good state of mind knowing that all I had to do was keep the pace on (the faster you go the faster you get home) and watch the miles tick down. I crossed the line some 7 hours and 21 minutes after leaving Apollo Bay, spending maybe 3-4 minutes maximum off the bike refilling bottles.
My preparation for the race pretty much completely derailed around Christmas time. It took far too long to shake of the cold I picked up over the break, and as soon as I made it back to full capacity work became nightmarish in terms of workload. Three-four gym sessions plus two-three on the bike worked out to be one of each toward the end, so I feel lucky just to have been able to enjoy such a long and difficult course.
Of course I’m completely humbled by Neil’s 6:15 suffer-fest and in literal awe of AJ’s winning effort of 4:44, close to three whole hours faster than me over the same course. If you want an elite rider’s perspective on the race, try reading Willo’s account.
It seems unfair that only the people on the get box get to thank the people who put their race together so in no particular order:
Thanks to Baum for putting me on the best mountain bike in the world. I’m still head over heels in love with that bike – it’s like we were made for each other. Oh wait– We were!
Thanks to Neil for the endless bike-banter and camaraderie.
Huge thanks must go to Jeff for preparing me well enough that I survived despite botching the entire second half of the program, and to Edmore at Feeling Healthy, without whose help I would have been an immobile mess.
Finally, thanks to Rapid Ascent for running the best-run large scale race ever. Their professionalism and class is on a whole ‘nother level.
GPS data; more photos.
|Elevation Gain:||~2,862 m|
Maybe you know it?
The first time I entered I was rendered to spectatorship and the best riders I knew crawl out of the forest, broken men. Monsters ordinarily, their faces were fixed into grimaces and thousand-yard stares well before the finish line. Jim pulled out, sat down and wouldn’t stop yabbering about umbrellas, such was his state. Jase Jackson had people help him back onto his bike because he couldn’t stand, let alone swing a leg over a bike without giving way to severe cramping.
Well, I’m signed up again. And in spite of the best possible intentions and seemingly clear slate in the lead-up, you just never can tell what kind of time-sucking antelope is gonna fall on your plate. Mine has been so big that I’ve been apologising for getting in late at an hour everyone else in the company calls early, eating on premises and then saying goodnight to developers at 10:00pm, leaving them to keep trucking into the night.
Training? I’m in this deep for the love and the joy of it. A lack of training and an edge of pre-loaded adrenal burnout can only make it more epic right?
3 x 10 Hill repeats @ Edgewater Blvd
5 min spin between
So training has been basically shot to bits since New Year. The future is uncertain, but I’m going to make it to the Odyssey and have my race. And if nothing else, I’ll never have to do this workout again. Good riddance.
1 x 25 seated BB press @ 20kg
1 x 20 knee jumps
2 x 25 squats
1 x 20 box jumps @ 24″
2 x 2:00 box hops e.s.
1 x 20 box pistol e.s.
2 x 20 step-up, lunge e.s. @ 25 kg
3 x 20 bulgarian split squat e.s. @ 25 kg
5:00 KB long cycle C&J alt. hands every 5 reps
This whole week has been a derailment as far as training goes. I’ve been in the limbo state between getting a cold (I have the cough and the ‘not feeling snappy’ feeling but otherwise fine) and being A-O.K.
Work has been … busy. Lots of latent stress. Much of it is positive, but it still burns the candle.
It’s been too hot to sleep well, I haven’t been getting to bed on time and Claire has been waking us up at odd hours and I’ve made the call not to train until I feel like there’s no danger in doing so. With the Odyssey just two weeks out it kills me to not be training, but it’d kill me more to be laid up and going backwards.
Now for the bad news:
I’m about to be seconded onto a complicated project at work that is likely to involve long hours and very probably weekends. Best case it’ll make training very hard to fit in. The worst case is that I won’t be able to make it to the event, which would suck.
My approach for now is that even if I can’t do anything except for a few sessions in the gym in the next couple of weeks, at least I might still be able to go and have a little 100k adventure in suffering. The goal posts shift, but I still get to check the Odyssey box and put a time on the board to beat in coming years.