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Mountaholics Kowalski 100

Black Flash's picture

By Black Flash - Posted on 22 September 2014

Re: This ride meeting: 
Kowalski Classic 2014

Well that hurt.
We started with the best of intentions. 12 mates, weekend warriors, commuters and wannabe action heros. All hairy legged and well under prepared for the race. Sorry, I mean ride. The only way to convince the boys to step up, was to set the rules. We ride as a social group, at the slowest persons pace. But even that scared off 4 fellas before the start line arrived. So then there were 8.
As I said, we had the best of intentions, start as a group, cruise as a group, help each other through the difficulties and finish as a group. Simple. Well no. Not really.

We self seeded ourselves at the back of wave 4, which departed 20 mins after most of the other 100km riders. So the pace in this group was, well, good for practicing your track stand. It was so slow, that it hurt. No momentum, constantly on the brakes trying not to crash into the riders infront that panicked at the first sign of a rock, or hill, or stick or wombat pooh on a rock. (Not saying they sucked, good on them for giving a really tough race a go, it was totally our fault for lining up so far at the back) So by the time we reached the first drinks station (25kms or something - no friggin idea really, gps would have done a better job as a lollipop lady at a school crossing, on school holidays) we had chewed through something like 2.5 hours! The analytical men of the group did some maths and frankly stated that at this rate we will miss the cut off. WTF! We were mountain bikers, we don't miss cut offs! My mum misses cut offs! How could this be?! But he was right. So back on the bike for a bigger push back to the 50k transition. The overtaking was now coming thick and fast, practically flawless, 3 of us through at a time, a snake of red with hazmat yellow squares, winding it's way nicely through to transition.

Having made up good time, we were back on track! A quick regroup, a stretch, a feed, a toilet stop, refill drinks, shed some clothes, watch the leaders finish..... Holy crap, we've been sitting here for 25 mins! Time to take on the 2nd loop. Once again, under time pressure. The mountaholics were practically the last of the 100km riders out. But now we were down to 6 as 50km was enough for 2 of our riders. We pretty much made the call, the 3 faster blokes would hit up the trail together, the 3 remaining would do their best. I was in the first group and first to be nearly taken out by a mob of friggin huge kangaroos hell bent on starring in a youtube clip taking out a group of other MAMIL's. Composure regained, it was tested again when a young lady in front took a serious trip to OTB land near a rocky dam wall. It looked nastier than it was, but we hung around for 5 mins until she was ok to ride again (and finish mind you). At this stage we had no idea how far away the cut off point was. We had hit the last 10kms pretty hard and with no sight of this imaginary feed station, I decided to invent one. The idea caught on and soon there was a dozen riders stopping with us, including the young lady we helped out a bit earlier. We got moving again to find around the corner was that big bloody hill. You know the one, it's long, it's steep and it gets steeper. Great if you have the gears. But I'm on a 1x10 29er with a 36t front ring and no rescue cog at the back. So yes. I walked the last bit. We all did. Good ole Doug (@dougm111 or something) even pushed our crash vic's bike and his own up too. Champion! Gentleman! I know she was spoken for Doug, but you deserved her phone number after that!

Then there it was, the 70 something km cutoff station. Mr big hat with the clipboard comes over and says........ You made it by 5 mins! Holy Kow, it's going to be close for the other mountaholics.... But no, they missed the cut by 4 mins. Gutted. Ok, time for the ones that made it to push on, we were last in field, but the 3 of yes smashed the last 30 kms in a hurry. No stopping, go fast, find the flow (and another bunch of youtube wannabe roos). We crossed the line about an hour later (ish) to record 6hrs 40m. Happy with that given the start we had. Actually very happy with that as it was a tough day out. Analysis showed a 2nd 50km lap in about 2:40 once we got moving. Take out 5 mins of medical assistance and it's down to 2:35. But hey, who's counting, it was a ride for us, not a race.

There you have it, started with the best intentions, 3 finishers, 8 tired, but happy blokes carbo reloading at one of the Canberra establishments. A fantastic boys weekend away, with a lot of lessons learned. On an aside, it was also great to see a few familiar locals, (sikllama, Brian, and a few more). Thanks too to the kowalski trail builders, you did a great job at confusing the crap out of my gps. Smiling

Lach's picture

... got overtaken by your "3 of us through at a time, a snake of red with hazmat yellow squares" in the last 10 km or so of the first loop, but after your leader politely asked for space for three to go by, your third rider was MIA for a few seconds and had to take a more adventurous line as overtaking space ran out. I asked the last guy if you were setting up the lead out train for the finish sprint, but I didn't catch a response....

Then one of your DNF's was parked next to my tent and we had a bit of a chat while I packed up and he explained how he wasn't really used to this sort of thing. He seemed vaguely shattered but still alive and looking forward to a couple of hours sitting in the sun while the rest of you suffered out on the track. Not sure he'd be backing up for another race though. Something his boss had talked him into???

Black Flash's picture

Yes, he was the least prepared. Superfit, but not recently bike fit. His training consisted of 2 laps if manly dam... As for a sprint finish, no chance. And I think I remember the overtake where Pete, our third rider didn't quite make it through. Smiling

bmar560's picture

Great write up! those Roos can be entertaining on the trails in Canberra, something I love about riding in the ACT is that you are almost to certain to see them either one or a big group of 20 with a 6ft tall alpha male.

Well done for finishing the full race/ride!

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