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Kid Free Weekend in the Vineyards!

Fatboy's picture

By Fatboy - Posted on 27 April 2014

Re: This ride meeting: 
Shimano MTB GP - Round 2
Position (Overall): 
Position (Category): 

This event was an opportunity for us to leave the kids behind after spending 2 full weeks of school holidays with them and spend a weekend away with some friends. After entering the race we booked our Hunter Valley accommodation in the vineyards. On the way up on Friday I get a text from Gordo "mate, we are staying 2 hours from the event". WTF! A quick check of the event details and duh! James Estate is a loooong way from the wine region we are used to visiting...

We arrived into town at lunchtime Friday and visited a restaurant in one of the vineyards where I had my carbo load of a seafood pasta. This was followed by tummy problems all arvo/night.

We woke early on Saturday to do the trip to James Estate and my tummy was still crook. When we arrived all of my pre race routines were forgotten as I dealt with other problems... I decided to leave all my usual tools etc behind as I filled jersey pockets with life's essentials should I be forced to pull over during the race. I was so preoccupied with my problem I actually took off on the rolling start without a helmet. A quick sprint back to get it then I joined the race start where I found myself about 100th going into the single track about 1km from the start. The next 5km or so was the slowest procession I think I've been stuck in during any race. By the time we got pedaling I could see the leaders a long way off in the distance.

Once we stepped up the pace in the switchback my back pain kicked in and I realised I hadn't taped up my hips - the solution to my back problems my physio had come up with. Aaaaarghh!

The course was awesome. Lot's of singletrack in native forest on the hillside followed by firetrail through vineyards. They even routed us between the large vats used for storing the wine.

On my 2nd lap I caught up with the SXC guys Dave, Matt & Craig. Dave stopped with a flat and I was sitting a few places behind Craig for a while after he passed and said hi then the funny lady happened. Somehow Craig got past her but I ended up in a train of 8 stuck behind her. She was bigger than this Fatboy and riding at her pace quite competently. Problem was her pace was not race pace but we were all stuck. She knew the course well and sung out after a while that 2 could go around her after the next bend. I sung out back "how about you let all of us past?". She replied she was not going to stop and we would have to wait. And we waited... She would call 2 more, then 2 more then finally after a number of km I got through.

The course had suffered in some parts from the heavy rain during the week but the Rocky Trail crew had a team making repairs and filling holes which meant the course actually got better each lap.

A few laps into the race I caught funny lady again. As per last time I could hear her giving directions to those behind her as to when they could pass. Finally when it was my turn she said at the top of the next hill I could pass after the rocks. Straight away there was a clearing off to her left so I went and passed safely about 2 meters to her left yet was given a dressing down by her that we hadn't reached the actual rocks at the top of the hill where she had given me permission to pass. I quickly replied how sorry I was that I was so fatigued I hadn't really understood her instructions clearly so took it upon myself to choose a safe passing spot. I was finding this all so amusing that this lady mustn't have realised we were in a race.

By now I was about 2.5hr into the 4hr race and was dehydrating. I had only half filled all my bottles and in my rush before the start hadn't put the electrolyte tabs into them. Liz was out taking pic's and buying wine so I didn't have the chance to sing out to her to make up full bottles etc so I ended up having a couple of lengthy stops sorting myself out.

Not far from the end @sikllama rode up and said hi. I then came through the finish to start my last lap when Liz told me I was in 6th. WTF? Further up the fire road a guy who was in my category rode up to me and we had a chat and realised we were racing each other for position. Despite my screaming back pain I now had a target. I just had to make sure I got ahead of him into the single track and build a gap. I pushed a bit and once I saw I had a gap and was out of sight I turned myself inside out to build the gap. Once we hit the vineyards I stood up in my biggest gear and went for it. There was a grassy climb that was hard on tired legs and I noticed him all over me near the top so I basically gave up as I had nothing left but when he passed I realised it wasn't him but a teams event rider dressed in similar kit so that was all I needed to get myself to the finish.

As I came to the finish I heard over the PA that I was 1 minute inside the cutoff. Yes that meant I still had another lap. Oh crap! I pulled up and took on another bottle but explained the situation to Liz that if that guy crossed the line before the 4hr I was going to have to do it all again for another lap but if he didn't then there was no point going out again. To my joy he missed the cutoff and my day was done. Or so I thought...

Gordo came in soon after doing his final stint in the 2 man with Adrian. I'd just done 4hr solo and the 2 of them had done the pairs so were fresh and Gordo says let's go for a ride through the single track and he'll show us both some fast lines so off we went for more. We spent the next hour working on technique and lines through the single track so I was truly trashed.

Waiting around at presentations I was talking with Poppy who won my category when he started to tell me about being stuck behind this lady who wouldn't let him past then all the guys started with their own tales. It was so funny that she was the highlight of the event for so many riders.

Liz and I finished our weekend away with a night out at a great restaurant with Gordo & Anita then a champagne breaky this morning before coming home to our kids and realisation the pain will continue next weekend with the Convict 100.

Dicko's picture

How did I know you would be at this race ! You would love the Epic.

Great result mate - keep those SXC Racing boys honest !

craked's picture

well done Craig, was a great race heaps of fun. I may have forced past the Lady ...safely!

Lach's picture

I didn't pass too many people, but I did seem to pass the same larger lady twice in about the same spot, which I though was a bit strange, especially as the second time was a 100m or so earlier in the lap than the previous time on what seemed like the lap before. She had longish bright fluoro socks - pink or yellow and mainly black kit with a few other bits of fluoro. Or maybe I was just hallucinating....?

Fatboy's picture

I've got no chance against the SXC boys @dicko - you are breeding like rabbits. Pretty soon they'll run separate categories at the enduro's called "non SXC". Smiling

No she wasn't fluoro @lach. Each time I passed fluoro she was stopped. My one was black pants red top. Hard to get angry at her as she was polite unless you didn't follow her directions. Just a little odd she could have much faster riders all queued up behind her and not feel the slightest bit inclined to feel rushed into moving aside...

Lach's picture

... maybe she overtook me!!

Scottboy's picture

Is that you with Gordo ? That was me saying well done Gordo and speaking to Adrian and his partner during the interview with Gordo the ones that are in the pic ...I had the rockytrail jersey on at the time

Scottboy's picture

She was wearing that Lach is saw her at the back of the pack heading into the single track as I was the last rider going in not racer but rider

Fatboy's picture

Next time say hi @smiley! Sorry I didn't notice you talking with Katie & Adrian.

Yep, that's me on the right in the white jersey at a muddy event...

Plenty more opportunities. Katie, Adrian and I will probably do the Choc Foot series as a mixed 3 and Adrian, Gordo and I will probably do remainder of Rocky Trail as 3 man team in the 7hr.

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