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I didn’t do any real specific training for the Southern Exposure Surf Coast 100. It’s a 100km, it’s a (relatively) flat course, it’s certainly nothing like the Otway Odyssey … what could go wrong?

What I neglected to consider is that, while 100km might make a delightful pre-breakfast jaunt on a road bike, it’s still a pretty hefty chunk of distance-change on a mountain bike. I also realised too late, just how much of a beating even a mildly rocky or rooty course dishes out. It’s a double-whammy, because everything’s fine if you stay above a certain speed, but it’s a slugfest below that. The combination mandates a minimum sustained effort if you want to survive (or at least if you want to enjoy your survival).

My first lap was pretty conservative. I would say I rode it like you ride a 24 hour race — thinkin’ about where you’ll be at 2 a.m. and playing the patient tortoise game. Not the way to ride if you want to lightly skim the root-tops.

By lap two I’d figured out that I needed to kick it up a notch, and did so. Everything got more fun. Switchbacks weren’t no thang. Riders in the distance got closer, then passed, then dropped. The trail felt smoother. Life was sweet. I eventually found my mark, a guy about the same pace, behind me and together we ate up a few of the slower 50k stragglers.

We crested a sustained climb, dropped down through some quick singletrail and then climbed a harder, switchbacked climb. About a quarter way up that climb I. Just. Slowed. Down. At the top I rode to the side of the trail and waved him through. I’d been hit by the man with the hammer. Bam.

I’d been drinking steadily, but with no get out of jail Gu I’d have to mope along to the end of the lap, getting kicked in the butt and hands at slow-speed along the way. Some guys I’d passed re-passed me. (Ouch.) My left foot, which had been aching, started to hurt — really hurt. I started to get a twinge in my vastus medialis, which turned into the threat of real cramp, which, by the end of the lap, had become a visible spasm on the upper inside of my left leg above the knee.

Not a big deal.

I rolled back into the feed zone thinking I’d take five to ten minutes out of the race to down a whole bottle of recovery drink, eat a Gu, stretch and then jump on and ride the race to completion. When I got off the bike though, I was shocked. Firstly at how much my left foot hurt, then at how Goddamn stiff I was — it was hard to bend down to release the shoe — and then how hard it was to stand up. Yikes. Either way, I drank, I Gu’d, I stretched and I got back on the bike.

I got back on the bike, rode down into the pit area and quit. My hands felt like I’d just finished the Odyssey. I felt spent and tired. It was Just Not Happening.

I had a number of possibly admissible excuses for succumbing to the dreaded DNF — a finishing status I’ve been quietly proud to avoid until now (one nasty little case of heat-stroke notwithstanding) — big, stressful work week, interrupted sleep, whatever. Now might be a good time to think about focussing on finishing what you start.

Anyway, I was pretty damn tired after that. Andrew also DNF’d with a bikeful of chain-suck. The guy I was chasing, and several guys I passed also pulled out. All in all, there were only 12 finishers in the Men’s Vets, but Dave managed to pull through and nab third (we didn’t know this until safely back in Melbourne).

Dave booked an awesome dinner at a sleeper of a Greek restaurant in Airey’s Inlet, where we ate duck and lamb with a local red and romanticised about hitting the hay early. Which we did, but Mae proved difficult to settle. Once she was down, Fee and I drifted off until Fee woke at about 1:30 to find Claire in the kitchen, coughing an awful wheezy cough. She said she just needed a drink of water, but 10 minutes later Fee woke me up to come and see Claire, who by then had the full stridor breathing croup going on. I called Geelong hospital, and on hearing her in the background said come on in. I called 000 and the ambulance was there ten minutes later.

I went back to bed to get some rest with Mae, but it was a while before I could get back to sleep. At 5:45 the phone buzzed with the news that we could go and collect Fee and Claire, which was good news, but the rest of the day was brought to you by Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee; and to be honest, I was pretty thankful not to have made the extra exertion to finish the race.

52.2km, 1,174m, 3:05h

http://app.strava.com/activities/93056482

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36.8km, 58:00

Windier out on course today, with everyone watching and covering the Phoenix Racing boys after their win last week. With a bit more organisation at the front of the bunch (thanks Gareth!) most breaks were kept under easy control, left to hang out in the wind and die. But still, the last lap or two were a furious mess. I finished somewhere around eighth or ninth wheel, off the echelon and without the legs to make a real go of it. Gareth took 5th place.

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I tried to quiet my nerves on the start line and put out of my mind everything I’d heard people say about not wanting to ride in crits for fear of crashing and destroying themselves / their good kit / their nice bike. Less likely to crash if you’re relaxed anyways.

I entered C-grade on Neil’s recommendation. The atmosphere around the SKCC race is very warm – warmer and friendlier than most MTB races, and better run.

Once rolling the race was good. There were a few surges early on, and I tested my legs to bridge to an early (and hopeless) break. Everything is tight and predictable so long as you look through and hold your line in the corners, you just need to keep an eye on the wheels around you and don’t half-wheel anyone. On a lot of turns the bunch took a tighter line than necessary, and for most of the race it was easy enough to stay wide through the turns, carry more speed and be on the gas smoother and earlier than most of the field. Maybe I’m missing something.

I wasted some energy helping to bring back an attack at the three laps to go call and sucked wheel all through the second to last lap, crossing the line into the final trip ’round in fourth position. I poured everything I had into the pedals approaching the last corner but I was poorly positioned and the an angry, strung-out bunch rolled over the top of me. I doubt if I would have been in the top 10, but I had big fat gobs of fun.

Fee and Claire came down to watch. Claire cheered until she got bored with the endless lapping and made a little friend on the grass.

A+++ would race again.

33.9 (44 including the ride down)
31 m
51:45 (race only)

Strava.

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I’ll come back and update this later, but Neil, JP and I managed to take second place with six laps each at the Male Threes at the Surf Coast 12 hour.

The trail was fast and flowy with just a couple of proper climbs, neither of them brutal, but you could certainly smack yourself if you wanted to. Neil wanted to and put down some wicked-fast laps, getting faster as the day wore on (up until his last lap). James wasn’t too far behind, and I was … just a few minutes behind that. That irks me more than it should, but I have to take consolation in the fact that I haven’t actually been training other than commuting at conversational speed. It’s something, but it’s not the pointy stick that I’m beginning to crave. (Sense of future regret at saying that.) I should also remind myself here that life has been rockin’ on many fronts lately and to a magnitude that is difficult to achieve with the focus and specialisation usually required to take home fastest lap honours.

New this race was having a mini supporter. Claire is officially old enough to come out and enjoy being at the race site and cliché as it might be, hearing a little voice yell “Gooo Daddy!” at you as you stomp into transition is pretty fuckin’ awesome.

Winners are grinners.

84km and somewhere around 1,000m for the day.

I finally bit the bullet and rode my first road race last weekend. Just a little club race and I started at the bottom of the pool in D-Grade, but managed to take home the win. All day we worked in the wind to keep a sketchy, echelon pace line on the out-and-back course. I mistakenly assumed that the turn-around would be the halfway point and as we closed on the finish line, still in one large bunch, I decided I’d go for a solo attack somewhere in the final six km if nobody else jumped.

When we hit what I estimated to be around the 10km to go mark, a rider jumped hard. A few seconds later, a guy I’d been marking all day made the leap across the gap and I figured they’d have the strength to stay away if let go much further. I got out in the wind and gave it a good kick to bridge the gap to them. I was on their wheels easier than I thought I’d be an noticed a small number of cars on the side of the road. “Strange”, I thought. And then I saw the chequered flag. I kept the juice on and cleared the two riders just in time to hit the line.

Kinda cool. It was a lot more tiring concentrating on the pace line than it was riding. I finished tired, but physically, by the numbers, not so hard.

Neil had lined-up Jim and I for a reunion race of sorts. The idea was nothing more than a shits-and-giggles hit-up of the classic Beechworth Six Hours in the Saddle race. The setting is gorgeous, the course is fast and semi-technical and in a three man team we’d have energy and company to burn.

When Jim bailed, James stepped up; with a shiny new Baum to match (convenient!) and we were on our merry way.

It was 4°C when the race kicked off. While JP sat huddled in our down jackets, Neil stomped out a lap that sent me out in fifth position. I rode every lap like it was my last, posting times between 4 and 8 minutes slower than the big man’s, 2-4 behind JPs. And I could not have been happier.

The trails were perfect. Rocky, rolling and with plenty of grip. Racing Ralph’s felt great. The bike felt great. My back stiffened up as the race went on but nothing awful. At 12 seconds to 4:00, Neil came thundering into transition to tag me onto a lap that would see us cement our first category place by a lap, and pick up another two positions overall. 1st and 7th.

Very, very nice.

Also very nice: heated seats on a smashed P-chain, and being chauffeured back to the city.

Time on bike: 1:53:57
Avg Moving Speed:15.1 km/h
Max Speed:30.6 km/h
Elevation gain: 704 m

Avg HR: 173 bpm / 88%max
Max HR:  184 bpm / 94%max

More numbers…


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A mere 31 km of racing around the roads between Ballarat and Creswick had me smoked.

I was gapped, and subsequently dropped by Craig, my handicap partner.

When JP and Dave came through I jumped hard to stay on their wheels. Gaps opened and I’d push hard to close them, only to have them open again. All of this happened over a distance of maybe 700m, after which the elastic promptly snapped and I solo TT’d it in to the Creswick Bakery.

Ouch.

A casual roll home brought it to ~60km for the day.

Two strange feelings:

  1. To have travelled for a ride with mates that lasted less than five hours (JPSECT crew is not Jim, Neil and BJ crew).
  2. To be so smashed after such a “short” ride. Not that hollowed out, thousand mile stare smashed. Just from the waist down.
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May 2018
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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: 24:00

Weightlifting PBs

1RMs
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

 

3-20RMs
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

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