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The Kowalski Classic is one race in the year that I really don't like to miss. The amount and quality of singletrack really make it unique and also perhaps the toughest race on the calendar. After a long wet winter I had almost no time on the mtb but I had been doing plenty of road km's in preparation for the Tassie 3 peaks. So I was pretty fit and raring to go! No excuses this time!
I was lucky enough to get an entry to the Cape Epic for the 2nd year in a row. Having family over there it is a good excuse to go over to SA for a visit and I can fit in a small bike race
My preparation was good this year, perhaps more road miles than I would have liked due to all the summer rain in Sydney. I was riding in the mixed category this year with a friend.
Well yesterday I reckon I had one of my best days ever on a bike. Not in terms of results – I pretty much came last. But in terms of fun, camaraderie, smiles, all mixed in with just the right amount of suffering – yesterday had it all!
As I peeled myself out of bed this morning, hobbled towards the bathroom like an 80 year old man, coughed up a bit of lung and tried to speak which turned more into a croak - I still had a manic grin on my face and twinkle in a sleep encrusted eye!
The Kowalski Classic is like a dream - endless ribbons of singletrack reeling off into the forest, swooping into gullies, arcing turns, grinding climbs and moments of airborne ecstasy!
After a 1 year absence from the Convict I was eager to get back to St Albans. I ride up there a lot and I really enjoy it. I had ridden reasonably consistently over winter but I wouldn't really call it training. I had done a couple of club races at Ourimbah so that was a nice bit of intensity.
I also had tonsillitis the week leading in but that mostly cleared up and I lined up feeling pretty OK. (haha ok that's all the excuses!)
Well tomorrow I am finally off on an adventure almost a year in the planning. About this time last year I was excitedly following the race reports from the SXC racing team who were riding in the Cape Epic. Unfortunately their race did not quite go to plan but now it's my turn. I entered somewhat on the spur of the moment but have had a whole year to prepare.
It's been a long year of training, a steep learning curve (I am relatively new to cycling) and lots of early mornings. I've ridden heaps of kays, climbed lots of meters and I guess I am ready as I'll ever be.
I'm not sure exactly why I thought it was a good idea to enter this race as I've had pretty bad luck with it in the past. But a whole bunch of friends were going down camping at Jervis Bay so I thought why not.
We stayed at the beautiful Booderee NP and I had a fairly restful night. Woke up, stumbled around in the dark getting ready and off to the new event centre. Decided to line up in the middle of the pack this time as I was feeling frisky.
Wowzers, I am really happy to have survived that! And it really did become all about survival - the heat, the climbs and then as fatigue set in surviving the descents! Oh and surviving the 3:15 wake up.
Some highlights were - a beautiful cool lap under lights of Stromlo, including being on top of the mtn for sunrise - then bombing down Skyline and Luge! Friendly volunteers - man they were enthusiastic! Skyline, Luge, Double Dissolution 5 TIMES!
A pretty memorable day!
Gee whiskers! That was hard. I've done heaps of endurance events (mostly running) and that was one of the worst I've felt after a race! but I digress...
Woke up nice and early (3:30) to drive down to the race. Unlike a weekday though when I have to go to work I pretty much lept out of bed, excited for the day ahead.
Driving down and arriving in Bundanoon I could see conditions were perfect but I knew it was going to be reasonably warm later on too. Registered and drove to the start - can anyone explain why they don't just do rego at the start??
After convincing the better half that a road trip to Orange was a good idea I entered the Choccie Foot 7hr as a solo rider. I had a pretty decent training the weeks before the race including riding the Canberra Centenary Trail.
The race started up a nice fire trail hill but I just settled in at the back and cruised up. There was no congestion to speak of and everyone was really good at passing and being passed. Good vibes all round!