You are hereBlogs
Ok. So it wasn't my smartest decision. But it was my decision. To ride with a crappy chest infection whilst on all manner of "medicine", and completely against all medical advice. But such is the draw of the Kowalski.
My prep had been good, as was everyone else's on the team, but a family weekend away the weekend prior didn't see me finalising my training. What's worse is I returned with an URTI... Bugger. The best chance of riding well was to get as much rest as possible.
Once again I packed up the bike and family to have another go at the Kowalski Classic. Staying at our relatives place makes logistics easier for events away from home and, for me, it really makes a difference having familiar surrounds at which to 'base' yourself for the weekend.
Super race at the Kowalski Classic yesterday. A huge mental effort to take on so much single trail and pretty happy to finish 2nd in Grand Masters.
I was really looking forward to this event after having possibly my best ride to date at the race last year only to have a ripped sidewall near the finish and also to follow up from victory at the Convict last month. Lead up was good but also a little unsettled after a bump on my dodgy arm during the week.
What a race!
First thing was the goodie bag, socks, bottle, stem cap, free beer at the hotel, not essential but a welcome addition and a way to make you feel like you're goetting value for money - thanks
Start was good and I seeded myself mid pack of the 2nd wave which was perfect for my pace. There was very little passing in the first 25km as everyone was well suited on the climbs and the singletrack. This meant that there was no traffic even on the stairway to heaven.
The last two weekends have been races for me, the first in Queensland at the Flight Center Epic, and then the Kowalski Classic.
I have been pretty fit of late, and have avoided the various sicknesses and ailments that have been shared in my office, so was in pretty good spirits heading up to QLD.
I did the Wollombi Wild Ride two weeks ago as a practice race for the Kowalski, which turned into a 90% solo effort with not a single other rider sight for the rest of the race. Despite it being about as different as a race could possibly be due to its 60km length, purely firetrail and dirt road with two very steep climbs, it was nonetheless an opportunity to get some racing under my skin before the much-anticipated "singletrack marathon like no other." But little did I know how important the experience of riding solo was going to be...
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!
This was my second ever 50Km race - the other being last years Fling.
In the lead up to this two things happened.
Firstly, I took Mr Shippards advice and rode as much single track as possible.
Secondly, I got a cold.
Swollen glands and a bastard of a sore throat greeted me every morning for the last week and I seriously considered pulling out or at least dropping back tot he 25km race.
Managed to pull off an age cat win but overall not so good.
Hey all - a quick preview of the Kowalski Classic that I wrote for the event promoters.
Hopefully it will inspire you to sign up if you already havent....