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The weekend weather forecast had been foreboding, but reports from Wingello indicated it wasn’t looking too bad on Saturday afternoon. After waking to heavy rain early Sunday, a quick check of the BOM radar and the NOBMOB weather page convinced me that heading off into the wet darkness was right thing to do.
After the late transfer from a wet Mt Annan to Awaba, a wild, wet and windy Friday night in Sydney had me thinking it would be a rough day. Obviously many others did as well, as the field was pretty thin. Hadn't been to Awaba for a few years, so rode the first lap blind. At my pace that's not too much of a drama. Decided to save the knees a bit by taking what I now know to be the much longer B line up Camelback the first time, but lost a lot of time and spent most of the rest of the first lap catching up to those that I had been riding near.
Preparation for this race was abysmal, with 3 weeks overseas without a bike or even a hotel gym to work with. Got into Sydney at 6.00 am Wednesday after an overnight flight, so dealing with jet lag and lingering gastric problems from some dodgy seafood in Singapore. Quick spin on Wednesday after a nap, then up to Ourimbah for a couple of laps on Thursday, because I hadn't been there for a few years. Felt OK, so got my entry in. Went for another spin on Friday morning and felt really flat. Put it down to the fact that it was really cold and started raining just after I went out.
I think I must have been born a year too late…..
I missed last year’s initial reverse Convict due to a prior travel commitment. I had given up doing the 50km version a few years before due to it feeling a bit boring so I knew I had to give the new 68km version a go this year. I would have been a few months too young for the “Grand” masters last year, but after looking at last year’s results in the 68km version, I thought that if I could get in under 5 hrs I’d be reasonably competitive in my new age category. But that was last year’s results….
Did this ride with Infinity (Infinitymountainbiking.com) while in Bali last week. A full day out with transport from and to my hotel in Seminyak, full suspension bike hire (+ helmet), water, electrolyte drinks, balinese snacks and a buffet lunch at a crater-rim restaurant for 1.25 million rupees (about A$125). Two customers and a guide, plus a driver. My bike was a 26" Specialised FSR. A little disappointing because I had specifically gone with these guys when they said they could supply an XL sized 29er. The 26er was XL, but was a little cramped.
I tried to walk this track years ago, but it was closed due to flooding. So this week, I took the trusty Niner and an adventurous mate out to see what it was like.
Pretty good race track overall, with the first half featuring some very nice single track, followed by a fire trail downhill plunge, a bit of traverse fire trail, then the unrelenting Snakes and Ladders sniggle climb. After a bit more sniggle, including a couple of multiple line option sections through some old quarries, there then seemed to be a lot of uphill fire trail slogging, broken up with a few water crossings.
A bit of unfinished business, as I'd DNF'd my previous two attempts at this race.
However, it's a climbers race, with 680m of vertical for a 26km lap, so not really where I expected to do well. Even though I was in pretty good nick, the repeated assaults of Mt Stromlo took their toll. Finished 10th out of 14 starters in the over 50's. Didn't have enough over 60's for a category apparently Overall, 73rd out of 95 starters.
Thought I'd keep the racing season going a bit longer after the Fling and also just had to give the new Niner Jet9 a workout, so drove up to this event, about 5 hrs north of Sydney, near Gunnedah and Tamworth (or as near as things get out there).
Weather was not real auspicious on the drive down on Saturday arvo and it continued misty / drizzly into the night. I never sleep well under canvas when it's wet, so woke up well before the bagpipes and feeling like I could do with a few more hours.