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Dirtworks 09 - A personal best!

Whisperer's picture

By Whisperer - Posted on 04 May 2009

Re: This ride meeting: 
Dirtworks Classic 2009
Position (Overall): 
Race Category: 
Position (Category): 

What an excellent weekend away. Christine organised the old church again for us to stay in, and have use of excellent facilities - a kitchen, toilets and real hot showers, well, until the water ran out after about the 12th shower after the race... Gaz was heard shouting from the shower stall for 'assistance' when he had lathered up and the water actually ran out. Given his previous reputation, it was a matter of drawing straws to see who would go in with a pressure washer to rinse him down.... anyway, onto the report...
The Nobmob team rolled in over Saturday afternoon, and the usual spirited banter ensued, last minute preparations to bikes, and the trip down to register. Night fell, and learning from last year's experience many of us had brought firewood, and three glowing braziers were welcome as we 'carbo loaded' on various fine ales. This is under the nutritional direction of Carl Groover, who is challenging Steve01 for the mantle of unconventional wisdom in race preparation. Well, we can't argue, as they both did outstanding times! We drifted off to bed in the church, our cars and tents as a light cloud cover rolled in. This was a good sign, as we hoped it would keep a bit of heat, or at least reduce the cold in the morning.
We were up at 5.30ish in preparation for a 6.30 start. The usual hurried scoffing of breakfast, checking tyres and trying to choose between base layers arm warmers, and trying to remember everything. Glasses, heart rate strap, timing transponder, 'where are my gloves', etc.
The night had been kind to us, and it was a relatively mild morning, so I set off with just arm warmers and my regular jersey. Fifteen minutes warm-up on the trainer probably helped too!
A good bunch of us got into the first group, with Carl Groover and Steve01 positioned at the front for a good start with the category contenders. I sat back about mid-bunch with Lady Toast and Gazza nearby, not wanting to go too hard too early. We got the start signal and it was on, rolling out at a decent pace, drafting where possible and keeping my heart rate sensible. Before long we were at the infamous hill, and fairly uneventfully at the top. By keeping steady leading in, I was able to ride about the first third until it got too sketchy, walked about a third, then back on and granny gearing it up for the top third. Once you get over the hill and onto the ridges, particularly at 7ish on a misty morning the scenery is utterly spectacular. Misty valleys in all directions, low sun sparking off dew covered trees, the Australian bush at it's best. You get the picture....
The course was in good shape. Rolling fire trail, with some good technical descents thrown in, closing into excellent single track after the 25km water station. I was really getting into the groove, keeping my average heart rate at around 82% of max, and following a strategy of go out 'easy' and bring it home hard once I hit the convict trail on the old north road. My flow was brought to a halt about 15km before the halfway point with a tear to the sidewall of my back tyre. Stan's sealant was just squirting out, and it wouldn't quite seal. I put some air into it, but riding along the flexing of the sidewall was too much and it went down again. So, I stopped to put a tube in. Unfortunately my 'mega canister' of air wasn't so 'mega', and it didn't have enough to get the tyre up to a ridable pressure. Fortunately a guy coming passed asked if I was alright, and when I mentioned a need a pump, he stopped and let me use his. Not only that he was carrying 4 gas cartridges and offered me one as a backup in case I got another flat. That really shows how there are some really nice people out there, and will always get each-other out of a fix. the tyre episode took around 15 minutes, and by then a bunch of Nobmob had come past from the second wave, (they waved!). Back in the groove, I soon go to 10 mile hollow, bought a new tube and a second gas cartridge from the CBD tent, filled up with water and was on my way in about 7 or 8 minutes.
the second half of the DW is my favourite, and soon I was bombing along the old north road, launching off the ledges, carving the tight stuff, hitting the climbs and before I new it, was flying down Shepherds Gully. The Ibis was fantastic, so nice to have 140mm travel, with amazing drive from the DW suspension. The Revelation fork with push-loc really compliments the rear suspension, so it has all the benefits of a short travel bike, but without the traditional disadvantages of long travel. I caught up to Gazza at the bottom (he'd passed me when I punctured) and we rode together to the pontoon for the river crossing. Over the river and on the home run! The final steep hill came and went, but it's still a decent climb onto the western ridge. Lots of false flats, and seemingly endless uphill grinds. But once at the top it turns into a real roller coaster. I'd been saving up a bit for this section and really hit it, keeping in the big ring over the rises and rolling well. But, my old foe, cramps came back to bite me. The big efforts were taking their toll, and I had to back off and granny gear it up the rises for a while trying to spin out the lactic acid, and hyper ventilate to get some more oxygen into my bloodstream. Fortunately the cramps settled and I was able to ride on the edge of the twinges that hit just before the quads go into a rigid spasm...
There was the amazing roller coaster decent, then onto the road for the blast home. With the bit between my teeth, I put my head down and 'big ringed' it all the way to come in for a personal best of 5hrs 43min, at an average of 17.5km/h - my exact target for the race. 45th out of 216 in category puts me in the top 20% - happy with that - but look forward to doing better next year.
Coming back to the old church was great everyone soaking up the sun, Sam was cooking up hamburgers, swapping stories, the lucky ones getting a shower, and coming down to earth slowly, before the packup and drive home.
As 100km events go this one was up there as-good-as-it-gets!
Some big congrats to Steve01 and Carl Groover - my fellow Masters, both sub 5 hrs - awesome results, Vanina - 2nd in elite women, and Gavin, third in open male. Not sure where Alex came in, but I heard he did really well too.
A huge thanks to Christine again for organising the great facilities!

Nick R's picture

I had a sidewall gash at the same spot. Tried to reseal it by shaking the tyre to get the Stans to seal up the gash, rode a few hundred metres then had to put a tube in. 19 minutes of wasted time as I also went back to look for my glasses which I left at the first stop. Damn those evil trail fairies.

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