Capital Punishment was a much anticipated race. It was suspected that AROC couldn't pull all the strings to make this event happen so when entries went on sale everyone jumped to get in, myself included. 2000 entries sold out for the most expensive 100km event in Australia. I think this is partly because of the location in Canberra but also because it was linking up some of the best trails around the city.
A week before the event I was trying to sell my entry. When I added up the cost of flights etc to get down to a Saturday race and to work through the logistics I had no chance. With the help of Anytime Fitness and the McAvoy's I made the commitment and bought the flights. Mid-week when Canberra was getting some nasty weather forecasts I wasn't sure I had made the right decision!
Looking at the start list I knew it was going to be a tough race. The full Rockstar team, Matt Flemming and a few local guns would ensure it was a battle to get anywhere near the podium.
Waking up on race morning to the sound of rain wasn't very motivating. I spent some time (over McAvoy pancakes) deciding what warm gear to wear racing. I arrived wearing a rain jacket and wind vest but opted for the arm and leg warmers instead. This was fine during the race and on occasions I had the arm warmers down to keep me cool!
The race started at a fairly comfortable pace and I had a couple of goes towards the start to see who was keen to push the pace a little harder. Heading into the first single track I would have been in the top 5. The conditions were wet but quite ridable. I was feeling pretty good with the race pace and I was trying to settle, ride safe and just enjoy the trails.
At 10km I was fixing a flat tyre that managed to slash on both sides! It took me what felt like ages to fix, the thing wouldn't come off and I hadn't packed levers. Normally I would take a skewer off and use the end however the ones I had on weren't going to help. I tried a few more times before I started to look for a stick or something I could use. By this time heaps of people had ridden past. I gave it one last go and managed to get the tyre off. It was quite hard to put a tube in without getting mud in also. After a bit of CO2 I was back riding.
The track conditions had deteriorated considerably with maybe 100 riders now in front of me. I worked hard to try and sneak past people but with the amount of single track I had to be patient and wait for fire roads to overtake. I thought I wouldn't see the top riders again and just aimed to try and get back to the top 10. By the 45km mark I started to catch up to Troy Glennan who informed me the other riders were only 100m up the road. We rode together and managed to catch up to the chase group of 4 riders. Brent Miller was still up the road. Heading over the hills toward Majura Pines, Joel and I left the group and rode through the pine forest together. As the hill headed up at the end of this section I found I was riding by myself so when the terrain opened up I put the power down.
I began to catch Brent heading into the start of the untimed section however he turned the wrong way so I entered the 30 minutes of free time first. In this section you have 30 minutes to ride 6km so I used this time to pump up my tyre which was sitting below 20psi for the last 50km. I had a chat to some of the 50km riders I had caught up to and I washed my glasses when I got to the end of the untimed section. I was happy just waiting for my 30 minutes to tick over but decided to leave early as Troy came through.
With only 30km to the finish I was pretty keen to get the race over with! The 3km section before Stromlo was the worst of the whole day. I didn't want to run as my shoes were pretty busted so I rode as much as possible at about the same pace as walking but with twice the effort. When I finally got to Stromlo the trails were super smooth and were holding up really well. I had run out of brake pads and just nursed the bike over the line. I was third over the line but with the use of the untimed section my race time was the shortest. Of course they didn't tell people their position until the presentation!
A special thanks goes out to Anytime Fitness for the financial assistance, Kylie and Jason McAvoy for looking after me over the weekend and doing airport shuttles, JetBlack Products for their support (and the brake pads!) and Gordon Street Cycles for completely rebuilding my Pivot!