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Convict Highs and Lows

jp's picture

By jp - Posted on 01 May 2016

Re: This ride meeting: 
Convict 100 2016
Position (Overall): 
Race Category: 
68km Male Masters
Position (Category): 

I’ve been riding / training pretty consistently for the last few months, but not as seriously as I have in the past. And with most of my rides being pretty short, I wasn’t very confident about the Convict 68. But after pre-riding the course a week before the race I felt OK, and decided to give it a go. I figured I should be able to average a bit over 19km/h and ride it in about 3.5 hours - so I had a goal.

Into the start chute early, I was planning to start with the second wave, when a couple of mates started calling for me to join them in the first wave. At first I said no, but they talked me into it. So off I went, at the back of wave one, and the pace was high. It was quickly apparent I was punching above my weight in this group so after 5 mins or so I dropped off the back. At the river crossing some of the fast guys from wave 2 caught up, and I settled in with them. I still felt like the pace was a bit fast, but I stuck with them.

Onto Jack's Track climb. At the risk of sounding weird, I have to say I was looking forward to this climb. But about half way up the first steep bit I started feeling bad. Really bad - like I had no energy at all. Negativity started to set in as my mind searched for a reason - I didn’t eat enough, shouldn’t have had a coffee so early, hadn’t warmed up enough… eventually I snapped out of it and reminded myself that it’s just another climb, so I settled in and started feeling a bit better.

Along the Womerah range was nice, but I still wasn’t feeling right. I was fluctuating between riding well at a decent pace and enjoying myself, then feeling really crap. No energy. By the time we hit the descent I had thoughts of pulling out of the race, something I’ve never done.

A brief stop for water, across the bridge and I had to decide - turn right and push on, or left and go home. My thoughts were interrupted by a course marshall who looked at my race plate, held up her arm and yelled “RIGHT”! So right it was, and onto Sheppard’s Gully Climb. Into a low gear, I decided to just spin away up the hill, not worry about my speed, and get my head back in the right space. Passing a few of the 100km back markers helped boost my confidence, and by the top of the climb I was in a much better place.

I really enjoyed the GNR section. I rode most of it pretty smoothly, just had to walk a couple of small sections. I had to pick my way through quite a few 100km back markers, but the banter was friendly. I’m a bit of a talker during races - I tend to make friends out on the course, and I try to be super-polite when I’m asking to get past someone. So good vibes all round. My legs were threatening to cramp, but I just kept standing up on the pedals when I could, varying my cadence and managing it.

At the second water station I stopped for 30 seconds to top up, then onto 8-mile track. This was a good section of the race for me. I wasn’t going very fast, but by the time I hit the descent I was feeling great and passed a couple of people.

At the bottom of 8-mile I knew it was a (roughly) 10km flat ride to the finish, and I rode the first couple of kms solo. My legs were pretty trashed, and as I joined the road to St Albans I felt myself slowing down. Then along came @thepedalingdonkey, although I didn’t know who he was at the time, as we’d never met. We worked together really well for a few kms, and this gave me a real lift - our pace was solid and I felt a wave of energy spurring me on. Or maybe the caffeine shot I had on GNR was just kicking in? Either way, I looked at the time and realised 3:30 was within my sights.

Eventually @thepedalingdonkey told me to go on ahead, so I pushed hard to the finish line crossing in 3:31.

Despite my negative thoughts in the early stages, this was a great event - a wonderful race through spectacular countryside. I’ll be back next year (my last year in Masters), but will definitely do a few longer rides in the lead up, to make it even more enjoyable.

Huge congrats to @tristania on another excellent result, and @beetle, who absolutely smashed the 68km. An incredible ride and sprint finish for the win by @doc, and another very solid ride by @blades_utd. And thanks to @thepedalingdonkey for giving me a boost when I needed it. I felt guilty leaving you behind, but really pleased to see you finished well under 3:30!

Lach's picture

... pretty damn good result for low expectations. I, for one, certainly do wonder about you though, if you were looking forward to climbing Jack's Track.... That steep bit in the middle was a killer.

Tristania's picture

As I think we both learned, the times where one's riding under adverse conditions is when their real character shows. You must be so thankful for that marshal (in retrospect, at least). Well done on the technical section - we'll have to head back there to practice the lines before next year's race, but I'll see you on a local ride soon!

beetle's picture

Well done JP on beating the demons of racing . We all experience them at some time . It was a tough day with the drizzle and grit . It's alway good catching up on race weekends. Thanks for the accolades . Looking forward to our next ride together.

the pedaling donkey's picture

Hey jp,
That's mightily impressive considering you wanted to abort at the canoes, to continue and plough on the long way home, massive kudos so well done. As for your guilt ......
All good, Its funny cause I was thinking the same thing (guilt) and i was slowing YOU down !
Again well done and till the next cow paddock crossing or leg cramping enounter
cheers josh

doc's picture

Thanks and well done JP. Good strong finish and see you on the trails soon

Fatboy's picture

Smashed it JP. Can't believe you even considered turning left!

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