Posts Tagged ‘Otway Odyssey

Felt fine in the morning, just the usual post-epic fatigue and – tellingly – some soreness in the muscles, but as the day progressed I felt not-so-good. A little ill. A little nauseous. And then, around 3:00 the need to sleep now.

I caught a cab home and fell into bed around 3:40. Slept until 9:30pm, got up and ate, went back to bed and slept until 7:30 the next morning.


Strava: 96.3km, 2,883m, 6:51:15

260th overall (/806)
175th in category (open men, /466)

Stay tuned for words…

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.

Time: 07:21:07
Distance: ~96.18 km
Elevation Gain: ~2,862 m
Calories: ~5,756 C

September 2020

On the bike

CrossFit benchmarks

100 Burpees: 11:07 10:32
50 Burpees: 4:24
Angie: 30:47 (60 pull-ups only)
Annie: ---
Cindy: 13 rounds
Dianne: 39:07 (scaled)
Elizabeth: 24:47 (scaled)
Fight Gone Bad (3 rounds): 311
Filthy Fifty: 31:16
Fran: 10:31
Grace (35 kg): 4:25
Hangover Cure: 8 rounds
Helen: 11:10
Jeremy: 13:33
Kelly: 36:09
Linda (scaled): 1:17:04
Michael: 32:30
Murph: 54:17
Nancy: 17:30 (scaled to 35 kg)
Nate: 7 rounds (scaled)
Nicole: 3 rounds, 19 pullups

Row 1k: 3:26.3
Row 2k: 7:15.4
Row 500m: 1:35.7
Run 5k: 24:05 (Feb 17)

Weightlifting PBs

Bench Press: ---
Clean: 70kg
Jerk: 70kg
Press: 52.5kg
Snatch: 47.5kg+
Squat (back): 102.5kg
Squat (front): 85kg (x2)
Deadlift: 130kg
CrossFit Total: 623


3RM OHS: 55kg
3RM Front squat: 82.5kg (x5)
3RM Back squat: 90kg
3RM Deadlift: 130kg
5RM Press: 45kg
5RM Front squat: 82.5kg
5RM Back squat: 90kg
5RM Deadlift: 120
20RM Back squat: 65kg