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A Return to MTB Racing

Brian's picture

By Brian - Posted on 07 May 2017

Re: This ride meeting: 
Convict 100 2017
Position (Overall): 
Race Category: 
100km Male Masters
Position (Category): 

After injuring my knee in early 2015 and then having knee surgery in February 2016 it's been a couple of years since I've raced my mtb. I finally got back on the mtb at the end of last year and then decided to get a bike that was more for fun than racing as I was currently on an Epic. I got the Rocky Mountain Element and have set it up with wide rims, 2.3 tyres, dropper post, short stem etc so not really a XC race bike.

I got the new bike mid March so after hitting up the mtb most weekends from then I decided I'd give the Convict 100 a go. I haven't raced there since 2013 so I thought I better go for a couple of spins out there to get a bit familiar with the rocks.

Come race day I drove up in the morning. I didn't have plans for a warm up as I thought the road start was enough. I decided a bit more psi in the tyres was best with all the rocks so I ran 17psi in the front and 23psi in the rear.

At the start I was with Michael Faretta and Dave O'Connell was just across from us. After the race briefing we were off and it wasn't long and we were running through the sand and the creek. Being the first time for me in this direction I'm use to hitting this at the end. After getting our feet wet we hit the road again and it doesn't take long for the bunch to split. Mike bridges across to the front group but I have no chance as I'm already in the red. We hit Jacks track and it wasn't long before I was off the bike running up the hill and at this point I'm thinking I should have stayed in retirement. Some guys managed to ride further up than others but I would say that most had to dismount as it was really loose. I had tried to ride it the week before and failed then as well.

Once we got to the top of the main climb it was then just a matter of spinning and keeping the legs moving. They felt pretty dead after running up the climb. It wasn't long and I felt I was in a groove of bombing down the descents and spinning up the pinches. The new bike just soaks everything up so you can pretty must stay seated for most of it. I had hooked up with a couple of guys and we seemed pretty evenly matched so the three of us rode the rest Womerah together.

As we were approaching the paddock with the kayak bridge I saw Mike had just turned into the paddock so that's always incentive to go that bit harder. The dirt road is badly corrugated and I didn't catch him until the top of Shepherds Gully. We started the techy section together and I knew there was a bit coming up that always catches me out. I dismounted and in true style Mike just rides the lot. I jump back on to chase and a minute later my chain drops. How come in a race things feel like they take forever to fix. I get it back on and just keep pushing on. I didn't bother stopping for water as my plan was to top up at the 75km point.

I push down Ten Mile Hollow as much as my 32t ring would allow and then climb to the start of the techy section to Sullivans Arms. The bike feels great on this stuff and I feel like I'm going really well. The loose rocks along there are just crazy and i did make one mistake on a step up and hit the deck. The adrenaline kicks in so I was up pretty quick and back on the bike. A quick check to make sure there's no major injury and all looks good. I get to Sullivans and I've caught Mike again. It's taken 31km and a few burnt matches to get the minute back. I let him know I'm stopping at the last water point, he wasn't so it was just a quick stop for half a bottle of water to get me to the finish.

After a few climbs it was clear that there wasn't one of us capable of riding off so we decided to finish together. The last 30km was great, it hurt like hell but when you're with a mate it just felt like a training ride. We rolled turns all the way to the finish and crossed the line together. Mike must have crossed the start line half a second ahead of me so when we crossed the finish line I was half a second ahead meaning I placed 2nd and Mike was 3rd in the Master category.

To say I was stoked when I found out we were on the podium was an understatement. Happy days Smiling

Dave O'Connell won the Super Masters which was an awesome result.

I've attached my Peak HR to show how much it hurt Eye-wink

Black Flash's picture

Great read mate! Well done to you and the boys.

Pete B's picture

Well done Brian, great result. Sounds like you picked the perfect bike.

evan's picture

Great result. Good to see you back on the MTB.


Lach's picture

That's a pretty good return to mtb racing! And some pretty impressive HR data. Not much time to rest on that course. I averaged 91% of my max HR for 4+ hrs doing the 68 and am still recovering.....

hawkeye's picture

Great result my friend. An welcome back!

Fatboy's picture

Welcome back Brian and what an amazing effort from you, Mike and Dave. I can't fathom what it would take to do sub 4:30. I'd need a motor.

Brian's picture

Thanks guys. It's good to be back on the dirt Smiling

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