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Fifty Kilometres is Enough!

Tristania's picture

By Tristania - Posted on 27 July 2015

Re: This ride meeting: 
3 Ring Circus 2015
Position (Overall): 
Race Category: 
Open Male 16-29
Position (Category): 

I'd heard good reports about the 3 Ring Circus from trusted Nobmobbers, and enjoyed the variety of great singletrack at Wingello State Forest. That and the inclusion of some fairly hefty climbs (experienced at Highland Flings) made the whole concept of the race seem like a good one for me. There was one catch though. Being accustomed to having essentially all my races the marathon distance, I wasn't sure how I'd go seeing as I'd be up against some 50km 'specialists.'

My great training regime had been going well up to the lead up of the Convict 100, looking forward to my first race starting with the "Elite" crowd, scheduled in early May, but after that was postponed, things sort of fell apart. Coupled with the lack of a result to spur me on, my uni workload hit a new level that turned everything into a chore; even getting on a bike, then I got overrun with a fever the week after my exams finished and was on holiday the next, not putting me in the best physical condition for any sort of race. But Convict was 5 weeks from that time, and I knew that if I didn't compete before then, it would be my first race in over 4 months. Not the best prep for one of my two most important events in the calendar.

And as we all know, the best way to prepare for a race is to do a race, so there I went, marking the Circus in the calendar. Having done the full Convict course at a moderate pace, I knew that I was far from the level of fitness I wanted to be at, but, what does one expect if they've done a third their usual quota of training over the past 3 months? I figured this would nonetheless give me practice in racing techniques, something desperately needed if I wanted to do remotely well in Convict.

The best way to prepare for a race is to do a race.

Despite strong suspicions that I will not be able to keep up with the lead group, I seed myself in the second rank with Ondrej Slezak and Michal Kafka from Quantum Racing. They worked together and beat me by a minute or so at Wollombi Wild Ride so needless to say I want to beat them at some point, as well as Nobmobber Tate, whom I did last week's big ride with and know he will have a good race today. The horn blasts and we're off. I get a good start, initially managing to jump off into the lead group, despite almost losing my balance in the massive ruts in the first stretch of firetrail.

4km in, I realize the inevitable - I don't have the fitness to hold onto the lead group and "let" them get away. I'm joined by Nobmobber Doc and a couple of others as I conclude the Blue Ring, and we commence the 25km red loop, about 60% is singletrack. We catch up to a couple of others who've been dropped climbing the hill before the ST starts. After a bunch of snaking through The Great Wall (not to be confused with The Wall, which only appears in the 'Fling), we reach Singlespeed legend Brett Bellchambers. Some tracks there are new, and I'm surprised at the great number of A/B lines.

I forget the amount of climbing that goes on at Wingello, something that is usually an asset to me, but in this case I just don't have the stamina. I let Brett away on his singlespeed and ride in a bunch of about 4 riders behind me, whom I also not hold onto for long. Finishing the red loop obviously a fair while behind the front, I know that the worst is yet to come with "Halfway Hill." I cram down some liquid and a gel as I start the Yellow Loop with Masters champion Garry James. I manage the first ascent, but starting the main climb 2km later, I just cannot hold on, much to my frustration - What happens when you don't ride Quarry Road Track enough!

It's about survival now. I approach the top of the hill where Nobmobber Doc catches up. We take turns in holding each other's wheels. I know there's only about 6km of mainly fast forest trails to go, which should be a breeze in comparison to what I've done thus far.

Or more like a gale. I couldn't believe the strength of the wind against me as I reached the top, and it felt like double the effort to accelerate going back down (now I see where the resistive force equations come into play from HSC Maths Extension!). Lest I think that it'll be okay once I turn right, I can hardly control the bike, which is continually almost getting thrust off the track/into a ditch, forcing me to work so much harder than I'd ever thought on a track like this.

Eventually, I roll into the finish line, in 27th place, and 22 minutes behind the winner, Tristan Ward, and I've had it. 50km was definitely plenty to have raced in my condition, and I know a lot more work needs to be put in before I can get back to my peak. On the upside, I don't think I really made many mistakes and unlike last time I was in Wingello with a buckled wheel, there were no incidents with my bike, so really can't complain. It was a good transition back to racing, of which I will hopefully have several more in the coming months, a great course for my type of riding and a good day out.

I suppose the adage applies - "If you're not in top shape, don't expect top results." Though I'm definitely not expecting any miracles, I'm looking forward to Convict in two weeks time, and the coming weeks of building my fitness up with lots of climbing!

If you're not in top shape, don't expect top results.

Well done to all the others out there, and was great to see Nobmobber Tate podium and come 5th overall, as well as doc get a solid result after crashing out at Capital Punishment. I look forward to writing more race reports in the coming months and sharing more pain, punishment and hopefully triumph!

adski's picture

Good one

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