Kowalski 2016 - a tale of 2 halves
The Kowalski Classic is one race in the year that I really don't like to miss. The amount and quality of singletrack really make it unique and also perhaps the toughest race on the calendar. After a long wet winter I had almost no time on the mtb but I had been doing plenty of road km's in preparation for the Tassie 3 peaks. So I was pretty fit and raring to go! No excuses this time!
Drove down on Saturday arvo to camp at the event centre. Had a pretty decent nights sleep just on a mattress out in the open but it was pretty breezy. Awoke to a beautiful sunrise. Coffee, breakfast and registration were done and I also enjoyed what seemed like a virgin portaloo - score!!
Pace off the start was fairly relaxed, up the fire road and soon into the single track. I don't mind sitting behind people at this stage, it's a good place to recover and just enjoy the trails. But there was very little congestion.
The trails on the first 50km were awesome, some awesome descents and even the climbs were kind. My bike felt great, I was in the zone!
Eventually I came to the 50km mark where we passed through the start area where I made the mistake of not filling up with water. Headed out on the second loop. This is where things got a bit interesting. The 2nd half of the course had a completely different character and you could almost hear the evil laugh as another 25% gradient hill loomed above. I gave a bit of an evil laugh myself when I saw the entrance to 'Stairway to Heaven'.
My decision to not fill up came back to bite me as I ran out of water twice, but luckily was fairly close to the aid station both times.
Finally rolled across the line in a very windswept finish area. Pity that it was so windy, I think fewer people hung around. But after such a wet winter it was awesome that the race was able to go ahead and apart from a few bogs the trails were in great shape.
Personally I was very happy with my race, my energy levels stayed pretty constant, and most of all I had a heap of fun.