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The day I beat Jason English. Sort of.

jp's picture

By jp - Posted on 05 May 2012

Re: This ride meeting: 
Convict 100 2012
Position (Overall): 
Race Category: 
50km Male Veteran
Position (Category): 

My goal this year was to finish in the top 10% in a 50km XCM race, and having placed 33rd (out of 232) in my category at last weekend's Capital Punishment, I was determined to do better at Convict 100. I didn't really know what to expect, but most of my training is done in Lane Cove National Park, so I like steep hills and rocky fire trails. So I lined up at the back of the first wave, shivering cold and waiting for the start. The guy next to me said "make sure you ride in a bunch - you don't want to be alone in a headwind on the final dirt road section". Armed with that knowledge, off I went, and it was a pretty fast start. On the initial 10kms of road/ dirt road I probably passed 20 or so people then settled into a bunch that seemed to be going at a comfortable pace for me. I was conscious of the "big climb" that was coming, so not wanting to push too hard but not wanting to be too far back that I would get caught in traffic. And then there it was - like a dirt monolith littered with people pushing their bikes. "Rider!" I called out, and my call was echoed up the line as walkers politely moved to the side. I settled into a comfortable rhythm, a bit concerned that my heart rate was fluctuating between 179 and 185, but feeling pretty good. Nearly every walker I passed had words of encouragement - "good on you mate", "keep going" - what a great bunch of people. I managed to ride the whole climb and probably passed about 20 or so people, but felt surprisingly good at the top. Changed into the big ring and off along the ridge. This section of the ride was beautiful - great views, sun shining, and just enough undulations to keep it interesting. I consumed a caffeinated gel and put my head down... determined not to be passed! I swapped positions with a couple of guys a few times, but was generally passing more than I was being passed. This section of trail really suited me - very similar to my regular LCNP trails. I was also riding a brand new carbon composit Giant XTC 29er, which I have to say felt like the perfect bike for this race. Light, fast, and still very stable on the fast downhills (which were a blast!). When I eventually got to the bottom of the last big descent I guessed there was about 15km of flat dirt road to the finish. Feeling good, I changed into a big gear, put my head down and was able to sustain about 30km/hr. The friendly start line advice suddenly occurred to me - there was a bit of a headwind and riding alone was probably not a good idea, so I looked up and spotted a guy about 200m ahead. Caught him quickly, got onto his back wheel for a couple of minutes but felt that I should be going faster, so I passed him and moved on. Alone again, and after another 5 minutes or so of headwind I really wished I had company. And then I did - someone jumped onto my back wheel and I though great! - I'll take the first turn then I'll get some reprieve. So another 5 mins of hard work, then I turned to look at him - at which point he stood up on his pedals and sprinted off ahead. No way I was up to that. Alone again, but not far to go now. About 2 km from the finish a couple of 100km elites passed me - I jumped onto their train but lasted just 60 seconds before they dropped me. Oh well, you have to try! One last (small) uphill, on which I passed the "sprinter", and then across the line. I was in the middle of the top 10 elite 100km finishers which made me feel like a bit of a celebrity for about 10 seconds, until people read my race plate - I came in just ahead of Jason English! Well not really "ahead", but you get the picture. Unofficial time 2hrs10mins - top 10%? Don't know yet, but fingers crossed!

jp's picture

19th out of 236 in male masters... Just snuck into the top 10%!

hawkeye's picture

Well done on beating "sprinter" too Evil

From what I can gather, in a bunch made up of a mix of teams, roadies tend to limit their turn pulling at the front to no more than about 60 seconds, usually less. At 5 minutes you've given the guy a great rest and emptied your own tank. Smiling

jp's picture

Yeah, I'm very inexperienced at all this - I don't even own a road bike, and have never been in a situation like that before. I just assumed we were helping each other but probably should have spoken to him. If anyone has words of advice on drafting "etiquette" I'd love to hear them!

Floydo's picture

I have to agree 29er HT is certainly the bike for the 50km. I also train at LCNP found most of my passing was on the rocky down hills, which compared to LCNP were quite smooth. Only to be passed on the up hills. 2hrs 25mins for me. The problem I had, was a small mechanical in the last 10km, chain jamed, as i never train or ride using the big ring, soon found out big ring on the front and big ring on the back aren't to derauiler friendly, had to pop the back wheel off to clear. Lesson learnt. Some more of your LCNP hill feist training for me JP, in prep for next year.

jp's picture

... Especially considering you had to stop Floydo. Hope to see you on the trails again soon.

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