Started the year at 85kg after having a nice break after the fling.
I have trained hard and consistently since the start of the year and turned up on race day at 78kg.
I am a dedicated single speeder. It is my only mountain bike! I took a gamble and decided that I would put a harder gearing than normal on my bike, suffer up the hills so that I could make gains on the many flat sections. I had a goal of cracking the 5 hour mark thinking I would be bloody lucky if I achieve it.
About 3 weeks ago I had just had 2 weeks off the bike and wasn't feeling that motivated to train. Then I went for a casual ride one saturday and enjoyed it so decided it was still possible to do my first sub 5 hour dirtworks/convict race. Reality struck the next day when I got dropped by the slower C grade bunch out at west head.
So I did what any disorganised person would, some serious last minute cramming and I got to the start line thinking 4:45 was a possibility.
Despite Huw Kingstons Highland Fling, held in NSW, being the unofficial National Marathon Champs, the Convict 100, really always feels like the NSW Marathon champs to me.
If you race an MTB in the state, you have to be there. Its one of those dates in your calendar that gets marked in first….
What an awesome race.
For those that don’t know, I raced the Australian Marathon Championships 2 weeks ago in Atherton. I had a week up there prior to just dedicate to riding and relaxing, the race was unbelievably hard taking over 7 hours to finish so I knew I had a pretty good prep coming into this race.
One week prior I did a 95km mtb ride averaging 20km/h which felt good so I just needed to avoid getting sick in the week leading up and I should be good.
This being the first endurance mtb race I entered in Australia back in 2009 I will always come back and enjoy the challenge that it presents. Last year was the first time I managed to ride under 5 hours (4:51) and this year I set myself a target of wanting to finish in the 4:30-4:40 range. Although I've not followed any structured training since mid 2012 I have ridden a lot of base kms and in the last few weeks I upped the intensity to try and build some endurance as the Womerah Range is always a battle for me as fatigue takes hold.
This was my 4th time doing the Convict/Dirtworks and so far managed to better my times each year. This year my goal was to break the 5 hour barrier which I thought was going to be touch and go given I did 5:14 last year and didn't think I had it in me to shave off another quarter of an hour. In my favour was my new 29er Epic. But to counter this were back problems and some loss of training and skin due to a recent conflict with a car where I lost.
I raced out to StAlbans after work, registered and settled into the bunk accommodation that someone offered up at a property at the bottom of shepherds gully.
No beer and early to bed means that I got into St Albans early but stuffed around so then got to the line a little late, so I couldn't get into the first group.. Gotta love self seeding starts So I started in the second group.
After a couple of years of going backwards with my fitness I pulled my finger out and started training in January with Convict 100 as my yardstick on progress. I've even stopped drinking wine mid-week which is a huge sacrifice. Last year I did about 5:52 and set my target as 5:15 this year.