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World Solo 24 Campionships - Pit Crew Report

Whisperer's picture

By Whisperer - Posted on 11 October 2010

Re: This ride meeting: 
Worlds Champs solo 24 Hour 2010
Did not start

Short Version blog update, more to come later.

I was down there as pit crew and mechanic for Carlgroover
He had amazing race, consistent laps all the way saw him rise up to third through the night and build a lead over 4th place of 20 mins. We were ecstatic, until the guy in 4th got a new lease of energy and closed it down ~8 min a lap for the last 3 laps. As the results show CarlGroover got a very commendable 4th.
Gazza did it tough, he was next to us, and worked really hard in one of the most competitive age groups. (40-44).
Jay did well just to start, was jet lagged from arriving back from Canada on Monday, and a bit short on training. Damian helped support him and provide motivational duties.
Vanina was going pretty well, until someone had a major moment right in front of her. I think she fell avoiding them and badly bruised her knees. A few laps later she couldn't bend her leg, so had no choice but to withdraw. She was devastated, after all her preparation. But, she was upbeat about being ready to do the 160km in the fling
Doing pit crew duties was harder work than I expected. I only cat-napped from Saturday morning until Sunday night when I arrived home. Didn’t want to drive home but had been summonsed for jury duty this morning (I’d written to them to explain that it wouldn’t be safe for me to make it, but they rejected my application for rescheduling to another date. I was faced with a $2000 fine for a no show, so Groover gave me the last of his nodoze and did the drive, stopping every 45 mins or so to clear my head – definitely not recommended practice.
The solo course was really tough. I got to ride it on Friday before the race. Over 500m of climbing per lap, with some really steep pitches over the back of the hill. Pork Barrel was really rough and techie as a descent, and I’m sure it cause a few tears through the night, lucky the solos were all experienced riders, as it would have been too dangerous for the less experienced ‘teams racers’ to ride through the night.


A few pics...
1 Camp Groover 2 Relaxed pre race Carlgroover 3 pre race clean Carlgroover and Dad 4 the path to mtb mecca
5 The calm before the solo storm 6 The calm before the solo storm 7 the solo storm 8 all quite in transition
9 Groover coming into solo alley transition 10 Carlgroover finished 11 Very satified CarlGroover and the family

LadyToast's picture

Well done Whisperer. I don't think being a crewie is as hard as riding but it's pretty close! Staying awake is hard in itself but in that temperature it can't have been that much fun. Also don't envy that drive home - shudder.

You could tell that Carlgroover was having a good race, his lap times where solid pretty much all the way through, it didn't look like he had any mechanical issues?

ps's picture

I think it was you I came over to talk to at some stage in the morning. My brother was in the same division as Gazza so I know how competitive it was. Also my first time having to be there all night so now got some idea what thats like and how disorganised we were compared to the experienced teams.

Must of been heartbreaking in the pits watching the lead over 4th dwindle. Anyway great effort from CarlGrover and yourself. Doing 300+ k's on that course is an achievement.


Discodan's picture

I just got back from pit duty at the Solo for a mate in the 40-45 category (we got 8th at the line). Likewise I had to rush back for jury duty this morning, left Canberra at 4am after 5 hrs sleep since Friday night. Was that your Specialised in the jury room this morning? I guess I may see you next monday for the recall Smiling

Rob's picture

Erm... Is it wise to discuss jury duty on a forum?

hawkeye's picture

but the major no-go area is discussing who else is empanelled and any details of the case. That has consequences.

Whisperer's picture

@Discodan: That is a really bizzare co-incidence!
I was 'discharged' after all - done my duty in turning up, agreeing to serve, and waiting round till 1pm!
But, they are pretty unforgiving in allowing a reschedule. I'd really like to have been able to sleep over in Canberra on sunday night!

Whisperer's picture

Hey Paul,
Third was a real bonus, so even though we were watching it disappear we knew Groover was giving it everything he had. He'd been as low as 17th at one stage - he lost a couple of places early on when his chain broke on the Canondale (Gav's Flash - connex link snapped). We couldn't believe how he pulled through the night, ticking off places one by one each lap, with a massive 40 min gap bridged to overtake the guy in third, and then build up a 20 minute buffer. We thought it was safe, and told him to ride at his own pace to keep a consistent gap up to the finish. We never considered the guy in fourth could recover after slowing down so much.
The real issue was that the chaser put in two faster laps, and we didn't see it till the second one was underway, and Groover was already out on course, so we couldn't warn him to 'up his pace' a bit. By then he had only one lap to chase him down, pick up 4 minutes and get back in front.
Damian did a really great job doing real-time splits in the pit area as the guy was coming through, stealth timekeeping Eye-wink
Throughout the night it was fantastic to have the results online in near realtime, so we could watch them on our phones. Sometimes they were so accurate that in the ~3 minutes it took Groover to get from the timing point to the pits we could give hime real time feedback on his last lap-time and current position - that was great for his motivation.

Whisperer's picture

He had a pretty amazing run with the bikes. He was on the Pivot and had Gav's Flash 29er as his backup. we had the anthem as 2nd backup, but he really didn't want to ride it due to the *really* technical downhill bits, so we just kept it for emergencies.
I went over the Pivot and Anthem thoroughly before the race, replaced all the cables and outers, checked all the bolts, tweaked the gears, and gave them the 'full whisperering'!
Gav's flash was in good shape, and both bike were running tubeless with Stans. Conti Mountain King tyres, except for a racing ralph on the back of Gavs.
The only mech issue was a snapped connecting link (connex) on the flash. We'd taped sram quick links onto both frames, so it was easy for him to rejoin it on the run.
No punctures, not even a tweak of the gears through the race.
Throughout the race, Groover generally did 3 laps on the Pivot, then 1 on the Flash. In between laps I cleaned and lubed the chains, cleaned all dust and grit out of the clusters and chainrings, and tweaked the tyre pressures a coulple of times. The pivot got a couple of washes, as it was getting really dusty and dirty, and I figured a clean bike is more motivating to ride - it'd seem faster for him!
It's great they held up - I heard there were a lot of punctures and mechanical issues for the other teams.

Discodan's picture

We had a good run in terms of punctures with a mix of joes/stans kits across the three bikes.

The DT Swiss forks on the number 1 bike (3 x 9 Voodoo Ti framed hardtail) were seizing up every couple of laps requiring emergency surgery with a light lube down the seals. Apart from that it was lube and cleaning only. As Steven said, it was bloody dusty.

Number 2 bike (a 1 x 9 Giant XTC) did 1 lap and retired as it was losing a chain on the nasty parts of the descent. Needs a decent chain guide otherwise it's a great package now but very harsh in the ride

Number 3 bike was a Sunn Single Speed CroMo and it was just a trooper. We took a gamble and sent the rider out on it when he was at his most shattered during the night, the logic being that you can't slack off on it at all on the climbs and it's actually pretty damn good on the descents. He ended up doing 3 laps over the night on it and they were all faster than on the number 1 bike because he just attacked the track

hawkeye's picture

That's nasty thing to do to a friend Eye-wink LOL!

Discodan's picture

Sometimes the support crew needs to be cruel to be kind. Actually we turned into complete bitches to keep him going at times, not letting him get off the bike at pit-stops and the like.

I took the SS up the mountain on a bedding in lap on Friday and I quite liked it (first time on one). A pain on the flats keeping your legs spinning that fast but still fun. I liked it so much I bought a SS kit over the weekend for The Shitter so expect to see it around the dam sometime soon

Scottboy's picture

you done a excellent job on both parts Steve looking after John & taking good pics

Carlgroover's picture

I'm still on cloud nine 5 days after this race as everything went so well and we all had so much fun, being down there for a week was great. Thanks for the pics Steven great job, also my whole family have come back to me saying wonderful things about how hard you worked in the pits, it showed. Steven even ran with me on leaving the pits everytime to give me updates on my position and check how I was going, the man is one in a million.


Whisperer's picture

Thanks John,
I figured that you were 110% comitted to doing well, and I was going to do anything I could for you to give it your best shot - it *was* the *world champs*, and you'd probably only get one go at that!
I was pumped the whole way through too!

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