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Convict 100 2016 - It was as a late decision - but in the end a good one

Blades_Utd's picture

By Blades_Utd - Posted on 02 May 2016

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

As much as I enjoy the Convict I was in 2 minds whether to enter this year. Since completing the Pioneer, and then wrongly deciding to race the Willo a couple of weeks later, I've not really been motivated to train or race. 9 days in UK/France over Easter, and 60 hours of travel in a short time frame, was hard on my body and I returned from that trip feeling very tired and jetlagged.

Returning from Europe I had about 3 1/2 weeks of riding before the Convict and my first rides back were pretty average to say the least. I usually do intervals a couple of times a week with my ECS buddies on Taronga but I was all over the place power wise and very inconsistent. I'd resigned myself to keep riding and see if I came good. A couple of trips to ride the GNR the weekend prior reminded me that it was fun, and with one eye on the forecast decided last minute on Wednesday night to enter, but without expectation for how I would go.

When my alarm went off at 4am Saturday morning I looked at the radar, rain was about! There was however lots of blue and white (meaning it was light), so got ready, double espresso and into the car. It started raining when I got to Wisemans but it didn't worsen despite my expectations.

It was good to catch up with friends prior to the race. Now entry is open on the morning it's hard to know who will attend until you get to the start. Looking around the start chute, Sxc teammates, Dave (Doc) and Gary were both there. It was good to see Paul Sloan back racing in the 68km event too. I lined up with Luke, Damo, Mark and Andy who I train with regularly. The Super Masters group of Garry James, Paul M and Peter S were there, as was last years Masters winner Hugh Stodart. There were a few notable absences however, newly crowned Australian XCM champion and Pioneer winner Minter Barnard thought he'd give the rest of us a chance, his Pioneer partner, Ian Chitterer and my own Pioneer partner and Sxc teammate Wayne were all missed.

It wasn't long before the gun went and we headed up the road, I sat in the bunch trying to manage my HR. We all hopped off to run through the sand/water, I glanced down at my HR and it was already at 180bpm so I managed to get back onto the first 6/7 riders and sat in again til we hit Jacks Track. JT's this year was very loose and there were riders dismounting, having lost traction. My strategy was to not go too deep here and tried my hardest not to and save what little energy I could for the final 1/3 of the race. The first group, including Luke and a couple of others had gotten away, the 2nd group contained about 5/6 riders and I was in a group of 3, which soon became 4 when Andy joined us. We rode as a group across Womerah, passed Brad Dalton whose rear wheel had disintegrated, and onto the road where we rolled turns to the Bridge.

We were slowly picking off riders from the 2nd group and after Shepherds Gully had pretty much caught the second group before the rough sections. At about 40km I was on Andy's wheel and he was losing touch with the rider in front so called me through. We hit the rocks and I tried to stick to the lines I'd practiced the prior week however the damp sand was sticking to tyres and making it that little bit harder, and once the rider in front was off line or unclipped it backs things up. We rode together as a group of 4/5 to the WC track unfortunately losing Damo to a broken shifter.

After Clare's Bridge I was still riding with Hugh and 2 others (one of which was the overall Masters winner - Simon Manson), about half way up the short climb I went to the front and put some time between us but proceeded to lose rear wheel traction on a corner and slid out, losing the 20 or so seconds I'd gained. I took that as my queue to sit it and ride conservative for the time being. At one of the loose rocky sections I went back to the front and managed to put some time into Hugh and Simon. Towards the end of the GNR Simon caught back up and powered past at the left turn signalling the end of the technical rocky sections. Simon was super strong on the climbs, we subsequently learned that this was his first mtb race but had been a Duathlon World Champion so clearly is fit!

Over the remainder of the race I didn't feel great but managed what energy I had left. I was riding with Andrew Crawley from the final feed station onwards and it was good to have some company as this section is notoriously hard with the numerous pinches. On some of the longer pinches I could spot Luke but ultimately he was out of reach. We shared turns on the flat run in to the finish.

Rolling over the line was, as always, a relief, I thought I was probably in 4th or 5th but not knowing the categories of the riders ahead was unsure. After having a chat we got to see the amazing finish to the Super Masters race, the top 4 sprinting it out for victory. Happily Dave took the win despite a number of falls and having to chase back on, impressive effort Dave and well done!

There seemed to be a lot of timing glitches at this years race. I checked the times and at first I wasn't recorded as a finisher. Once that was rectified I was placed 5th with Luke 4th, however he was pretty adamant that was incorrect and it was. Ultimately Luke placed 2nd and I was 3rd.

My time was pretty much the same as last year and I was very happy to have finished within about 40 seconds of Luke given he was riding very strongly in the lead up to the race.

Congratulations to all that took part, especially Dave, Luke and Allie for making the podium in their respective events. Sadly this event seems to generate less interest than it used to (as most xcm events are), it is a classic race despite the tough nature of some of the trails and I am glad that I committed to racing despite my earlier uncertainty.

I look forward to being back again!

Dicko's picture

Well done mate !

doc's picture

Awesome ride Mike. The bar seems to keep getting higher Eye-wink

Brian's picture

Well done Mike. It sounds like you had a good race and a well deserved podium.

Fatboy's picture

Fantastic effort especially with the break to your training routine.

Warthog's picture

Mike really glad you and the rest of the ECS boys did well. It is a well earned result. Looking forward to some cold training hours over the next couple of months Smiling.

Chitts's picture

....and the rest of our crew Mike. A well deserved podium, especially considering the lack of training!

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