You are hereBlogs / Tristania's blog / Never been so motionless in all my life or been so happy to get off the bike - not saying I regret doing it though!

Never been so motionless in all my life or been so happy to get off the bike - not saying I regret doing it though!

Tristania's picture

By Tristania - Posted on 06 May 2012

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

Being my first race after leaving school, I figured (what was then) Dirtworks was a great one to start in because (a) I've always loved GNR, (b) It's relatively close, (c) It's well known and (d) because it's such a great challenge featuring all different type of terrain, from the feel of Tour de France at the beginning to a world champion MTB race in the overgrown part of GNR.


After my Mum was unable to find any accomodation in the Wiseman's Ferry region (not wanting to camp - that would be too in-tents!), we made the risky decision to drive up on the day. Which was fine by me. Through calculations of the worst possible scenario, it was concluded that we must leave at 4:15am. So, setting my alarm for 3:30am, I went to bed just before 8:30pm the night before. A restless night, to say the least. More than once previously, when I've arranged to get up early, my alarm had been set to pm instead, resulting in me missing the alarm. But thankfully not this time. So I quickly arose, ate 4 eggs, a large bowl of pasta and two apples.

I filled my Camelbak to about 2.5L and filled my water bottle with Gatorade. Attached to the bike were the instructions on how to manage my food consumption, as I filled my back pockets with the food I was to eat. Luckily we live in Hornsby, meaning it's only 45 minutes to Wiseman's Ferry, so even if the ferry took an hour (which I thought was quite possible), we could get to St Albans by 6:30am. Luckily, there was no queue at the ferry. We arrived there at 5:05am, and reached St Albans by 5:45am. Sweet. No dramas.

I went in to register, asking for my number, etc, and had the surprise of finding myself listed in the cyclocross category. What?! So I went and questioned this. "What's your DOB" the registrator asked. I told her. So I was changed from CX to junior. Well, looks good. Only 3 juniors doing 100km. I've got a good chance of winning a prize... Though I had said to myself, "This is the first time I'm doing this - I just need to finish it and enjoy it..." The aim was to complete it in 5.5 hours.


At the start line, after the elite were released, the rest of us were bunched up for the briefing, ready to be released in waves. As the announcer said, "Wave 1 will be starting at an average of 40km/h," I thought I'd go in the second wave so I could take it a bit easier. As we weren't told which wave was which, I thought I was far enough back to be in the second wave. Not the case. As the second start is called, I look around me to find those next to me tearing off. "Well," I thought to myself, "What are you going to do?" So I clipped in and off I went.

Turned out that was the right group to be in, as I found myself tearing along effortlessly at 40km/h. It was just like being in a road race - the riders in front shielded the air from me and helped drag me along. I quickly gained places and found myself right near the front soon enough. Once the road turned to dirt, just for the fun of it, I took the lead for a few hundred metres until realizing how much harder it was when nobody's stopping the wind flow. So inevitably, others got by me again - but it was just a good feeling, being a winner, even for a very brief time. Then puddles occurred in the road. Now I can stop my bike getting disgusting through puddles but I can't stop others from going through and splashing me. Not a highlight. I'd already filled my water bottle. I didn't need any more fluid!

13km in, we reached Blue Hill, aka Mt. Everest. Now I understood why the Convict 100 was described on the site as "one of the most challenging mountain bike endurance races." It felt endless. As I ground up slowly, I wondered how I'd ever survive all 100km - my legs were already exhausted 14km in! But the plus was that I was mostly able to hold a position. Ok, I didn't over take many people at that time, but nor did many overtake me.

However once I reached the top along Transmission Road, things got easier. Mostly undulating firetrail - some up, some down, but I just kept a steady pace as I let my legs recover from ordeal #1. I was reminded what CAN happen on a bike as I passed a "rider" with his bike upside down. "You all right?" I asked. "My $#%~!#$ chain's gotten stuck!!" was the reply. Gosh, that would hurt. That soon into the race. I remember when that happened to me on a ride; without the tools, you just can't get it out. He'd have a nice short walk back...I was making good time. I made it to the 20km mark in less than an hour, so I realized that if I kept the pace up, I could do it in under five. "Don't be silly, Tristan. You're fresh now... you'll get worn out later at best and at worst you'll cramp up."

At Johnny's Camp, 28km in, it was time for my first rations - I pulled out my first fruit bar, and shoved it into my mouth on a flat section. No drama. But when I reached for the seed bar it was on a downhill section - not the best! I basically had to hold the whole thing in my mouth as I descended. Lesson for next time - make sure you KNOW you're on a flat section before eating.

Things started to get good once I reached the GNR section of the track. Apart from the numourous puddles (aka lakes), I was able to cruise along at an average pace of 20km/h. Not bad for such technical terrain. And I liked how I didn't get overtaken at all in the GNR section between Johnny's Camp and Ten Mile Hollow. I was feeling great on this bit - recovered from Blue Hill and familiar with the track from previous training rides, and decided to make the most of it when I was feeling good. Although the narrow terrain made this difficult I nevertheless managed to overtake about 12 people throughout this phase. Sweet! "Over" Clare's Bridge (Every time I see the sign saying "Bridge Unstable and Closed to Vehicles" I crack up and today was no exception!), I pull out my other seed bar on the fast but gentle downhill between here and 10MH. I also finish the last of my gatorade.

At 10MH, I quickly snarfle down three slices of watermelon. I then refill my bottle (that being easier than doing such to the Camelbak) and drop in the tablet given in my courtesy bag. I also grab a handfull of lollies served and eat them one at a time as I ride up the coming ascent. Past the Buddhist place, I see two little kids, apparantly from the forest monastry, waving at me. Nice encouragement. Yes, the hill from 10MH to the Western Commission junction, to put it lightly, is much more fun going down than coming up. I hit into gear 1-4 and again slowly ground up. I could feel myself getting tired again. I could also feel my bladder coming on. Oh, well, in a race, the concept of privacy disappears, and it was all fine, just pissing on the side of the track.

So I hit back into to technical stuff #2, the part of the ride that has made me want to keep returning to GNR. Though starting to experience increased fatigue, I had to focus more on the harder rocky section. Approaching the end of the technical section, I could feel contractions in my muscles as I changed position. "Oh, no," I thought, "This isn't good... I still have 40km to go." Then I wasted 20 seconds (what a loss, obviously) when I dropped my bottle... But I just kept drinking - drinking the water, drinking the gatorade tablet.

Thankfully, I reached the Shepperd's Gully descent shortly later, which allowed my legs to have a break, and the beginnings of the cramps dissapated. Good. It's a great descent, just rocky. Though I do remember the photographer who just jumped out an flashed the camera as I went by. Far out, almost scared my off the bike! The other classic going down was seeing the sign, "Caution, obstacle ahead," seeing a guy changing a tube metres after. "Are you the obstacle," I asked... Just past the bottom gate, I saw I guy to whom cramps were taking their toll on. I drank another huge sip. I did not want that to be me.

After a fast rush along Settlers Rd, the 70km mark came up. Another 3 watermelon slices, I transferred the chocolate in my bag to my rear pocket and filled my water bottle again, this time with the electrolyte being served there. It was only 10:30. Still not much past 3 hours in. "Well, maybe I do have a chance of getting under 5 hours." I just had to see what my body could deal with.

Despite my initial fears, I decided to hit the canoe bridge. No issue. It's mind over matter, really I guess. Just a matter of looking straight ahead and not thinking about the water either side of me. Another few km along road on the other side. I was eating through the distance. Until I reached the Womerah Range track. Although not as steep as Blue Hill, this seemed a lot longer, coupled with the fact that I already had 74km under my belt. This was where the fatigue really started to hit me. It the hill felt endless. I was coming to a stage to which I didn't care how I did. I just wanted to end. But that was where the emergency voice started playing at the back of my head. "You can do it Tristan, you're 4/5 of the way through. 'Think of all the downhill that's coming your way." I did think of the downhill. It wasn't as soon as I hoped. I repeatedly would see more sections of steep uphill to which my brain would have conniptions. After 15km of down and painful up, I finally started going down for good. Thank goodness. From here, it was only a few short km on road and then I could relax big time. Or so I thought.

Now what I was not expecting was the creek crossing. After already riding 98km, having to run across sand and carry the bike through a creek was about the last thing I wanted to do. But I did, because I had to. Another 3km on road, until finally, finally I saw a line of parked cars with bike racks. My brain rejoiced.


After standing, looking dazed for several minutes at the finish line, I realized my speedo said 4:42. That was almost fifty minutes below my goal. I was stoked. Averaging 21km/h, I was very proud of myself. I moved hastily towards the toilets. I was going to be visiting them a lot. Couldn't have anything to do with the 5.5L I drank during the race.

Lying in the shade, eating my lunch, I awaited the presentations, realizing I'd probably get a mention for winning the junior category. But to no avail. Despite being told I was a junior that morning, when I inquired again, I was told I was in fact a senior for I turn19 this year. And due to this, I had to leave with the rest of the crowd, getting caught in the queue for Webbs Ck Ferry. Dang. At a local's recommendation, we head home via Windsor. It's 45 minutes longer, but considering the ferry queue was 600m long, it was probably the right thing to do. To learn for next time; go back via Wisemans Ferry or leave early.

Overall I drank:
2.5L water from Camelbak
650mL Gatorade
800mL water with energy tablet
800mL electrolyte (terrible flavour, but got me through)

And ate:
2 seed bars
2 fruit bars
Mandarin (before race)
6 slices of watermelon at rest stops
4 squares dark chocolate
Handfull of almond cookies

(Two GUs, and extra chocolate/almond biscuits were taken as emergency rations)

Overall a very satisfying and memorable day, and was definately worth the training, money and preparation.

And smashing my time goal by 45 minutes - averaging over 21km/h. Gosh... I don't know how I did it.

So to get a place on the podium next year... looks like I need to cut off another 25 minutes. Possible? Let's see...


Dicko's picture

That is a seriously good time for your first race (or any race) ! Forget opens next year Tristan - you will go straight into the elites.

Great stuff mate.

Steve 01's picture

Great time Tristan ,You'll podium next year at the rate your going

philberesford's picture

Keep it going! Well done.

Tristania's picture

And awesome effort for the both of you. Dicko, it sounds like you had a few more issues than I did judging from your entry yet you were only minutes behind me! And I'll do whatever it takes to reach the podium next year!

doc's picture

Great effort Tristan ! That is a pretty special result for a first effort.

I was catching you around the 20K mark and was about to say gidday when I dropped my glasses and had to stop and go back. Little did I know you where not to be seen again.

jp's picture

Awesome effort Tristan. No wonder I couldn't keep up with you at Berowra Valley.
Looking forward to seeing you race Elite soon.

craked's picture

wow Tristan, that is a sensational result ,you must have been training well , congrats on your first 100

Antsonline's picture

Tristan - thats a fantastic ride. I'm being very serious, and not just blowing smoke up your arse here.
For a first 100km 'race' with the lack of experience, all the little stops for food, and bits and pieces, to go that fast is something to be both proud of and also excited for the future - if you decide to press on with your riding.

I'm even more delighted for you that actually really enjoyed it too. Nearly 5litres of water is pretty extreme, but whatever works for you I guess!

Be very proud of your effort. Sub 5hrs around that track is excellent, and certainly shows you could race at any marathon in the country and finish in a solid time. Dont wait till this race next year to do your next marathon. You have too much talent to make it only an annual event.

Well done.

ChopStiR's picture

Excellent write up and well done on your result!

Tristania's picture

And well done on your result too - though getting just over 4 hours would be a tiny disappointment over a great feeling of nevertheless placing 5th. That's fantastic. Thanks for the encouragement too, it's always good to know when I'm told my time is "fantastic."

What other 100ers are out there? I know Wombat 100, Highland Fling (right?), any recommendations?

Of course I plan to press on with the bike. I've gotten way too far ahead to give it up now and I've got so much confidence to know that I'm good enough - though I do other sports to add to the mix; I run often, road cycle, kayak and rogaine (orienteering), but I do have to admit, MTB is my favourite and I'll probably get better at it than any of the other sports I do.

And thanks Craig; yes, you've seen me train; you know what I'm like. And you were the one who told me to get the C100 ticket abruptly, so thanks for that - look what it became of me!

Logan's picture

is next, pretty flat from what i understand...

Ray R's picture

Great race Tris - and a good blog. Good to see you keep up MTB post school.

Maybe see you at Yellomundee for the nest WSMTB club XC on 20 May?

Fatboy's picture

Great write up. Good on you!

Tristania's picture

Hey Ray, yeah I have been notified about Yellowmundee racing, and if time permits it would be a great use of it. I'll see what I'm doing in two weeks time and maybe I'll come along. Good way of keeping the racing up, I guess!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Best Mountain Bike