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Ahh...much better

sikllama's picture

By sikllama - Posted on 03 May 2014

Re: This ride meeting: 
Convict 100 2014
Position (Overall): 
Race Category: 
50km Male Sub Veteran
Position (Category): 

I spent most of the week leading up to this race being very low key - early to bed, low stress week at work (I even left a triple farewell on Friday night after 2 hours) and staying away from the bike in order to give myself a fighting chance against the cold I had been battling since last week and which had interfered with last weeks james estate adventures. The result was I was pretty much fighting fit today, although with no time on the bike since the last race.

Arrived in St Albans as the first car to be held up due to road closures for the 100km start - all good I had a chat with the traffic control guys having a laugh. They let me through a bit early and i had a prime view of the last wave start from my car Eye-wink. Caught up with a work mate who was also doing his first 50km race, got bike ready and lined up in the middle of wave 3, I was hoping to finish in 2:45ish - a guess really not having done the course before.

I made two setup changes to the bike today - the first being I added some air to the front fork and rear shock to stiffen the ride to suit the gravel sections and the second was to add some air to the tyres. I ran the tyres at 30/32 today, normally 24/27 tubeless. I felt the changes worked really well and suited the course.

@antsonline was assisting commentating and as the first wave went off @jp got a shout out. There were all manner of bikes around me, a fat bike, a tandem, a downhill and something from the 90's... In no time our wave was shuttled through the Shute and the horn sounded our start. My workmate and I worked together to keep a good speed throughout the first road section maintaining 26km/hr and passing quite a few guys, I reckon we were near the front of our wave hitting the hill. As soon as we hit the incline people were off the bike and walking. Luckily most stayed to the left and I was able to pass another 20 people, some may have been stragglers from wave 2. By this time I had dropped my work mate and I made it up a third of the hill before I decided to succumb and start walking. @antsonline had offered a beer to anyone who made it up - maybe next year. With 100m to the summit I hopped back on and pretended I had ridden all the way Eye-wink

The next 15km of undulating firetrail i basically traded places with those around me, no one was really interested in working together but I did have a great section of riding with a lady wearing a yellow highland fling jersey, slipstreaming the descents and flat sections. She was strong on the ascents but I managed to get clear of her just before the 28k refuelling station. With a back back and gels I didn't plan on stopping so I trained on through, nearly cleaning up a guy walking across the trail. The hill straight after the station was unexpected but got up it well. I was feeling pretty good at this stage and knew a big descent was coming up. Some of the views across the range in this section and in the lead up to the refuelling point were spectacular, yeah I had enough time to tilt the head and have a look Smiling.

At some point I heard a rattling coming from the rear of the bike, I pressed on but it remained so I stopped to check it out. The rear thru axle lever had worked its way to the open position and was rattling against the frame. Glad I stopped. The next 3kms or so of descent I was glad to have a dually but would have also liked new brake pads. I noticed last week that braking performance was dwindling and today confirmed it - new pads next week! I took it fairly tentatively down here, partly because of the brake situation and partly because I have a wife and kids to come home to. Having said that the descent was no worse than Heath track in the cascades or the nth turra trails I do as training rides (just longer) so they posed no problem.

Back on the gravel road for the run home I found myself on my own with a decent crosswind/headwind and it was tough. Lost time here. After a few k's I teamed up with a rider and we took turns at the front but he dropped me on an incline unfortunately. Passed a few tired looking 100km riders and offered each of them some encouragement - not a lot of response from many of them so they were hurting. I had read somewhere that when you see the cars lined up on the road you were very close to the finish so having spotted them I suddenly found some go go juice and sprinted to the line, racing against the clock.

Crossed the line, found a nice sunny spot near the finish to have the 4 pines beer which didn't even touch the sides, and took in some of the atmosphere. Would have liked to stay for preso's but family commitments meant I was on my way pretty early, the advantage being no line for the ferry! The marketing must have worked as I bought a 6 pack of 4 pines beer on the way home which I shared with the wife who was glad to see me back home in one piece.

All in all I'm pretty happy with the effort and my time today, it felt good to be able to push in a few places where others were struggling and have learnt a few things for next year.

jp's picture

Nice work Rob, and it sounds like you really enjoyed the experience. Hope to see you on the local trails again soon.

Antsonline's picture

Well done - great ride, I knew you'd get the 4 Pines anyway - so it was a bit of a hollow offer from me!!

Tristania's picture

I think that bike must have made things much better for you. Well done for getting through it and hope that it motivates you to chop more time off!

sikllama's picture

Thanks for the comments guys.

@Tristania yep the Superfly remains rock solid, I hope one day to have the fitness required to fully do it justice Smiling. Like @jp said a few (actually quite a few) more visits to QRT should sort me out.

Sat back yesterday and watched most of the Flow DVD which was included in the showbag - some nice trails showcased there.

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