It was a tough decision, either a two hour drive to the the Coffs Pleasure and Pain Marathon or a five hour trip to the Sydney 12 Hour, sponsored by JetBlack Products. I thought it would be a great opportunity to show off my new Mach 4 and I also knew Rocky Trail Entertainment would put on a good show as always so we packed for 12 hours of racing.
I was carefully watching the weather forecast leading up to this event and at one stage was considering how I was going to get hold of a single speed for the event. I wasn't too keen for another muddy race. In the end the track conditions were fantastic. Having to crack the ice off the tent zipper on the morning of the race wasn't a good start to the day though!
I love that 24 Hour races start at midday so you have lots of time to get sorted. At 9am on the start line I was still deciding about leg warmers etc and the race began. I didn't want to start as fast as everyone else and quickly lost the lead group. It seemed like the front boys knew it, so they put the pace on.
It took me a couple of laps to catch back up and after a few laps Brett Bellchambers and I were leading overall. It didn't take long for the mens four teams to catch up and I decided to stay with them for as long as I could manage. It possibly wasn't the smartest move but it was good fun. I would try to get away on the single track and technical sections before I was easily caught on the double tracks. Then I would try to sit on as hard as I could before the next technical section. It wasn't until about 7hrs in that I gave up trying to race the teams and settled my pace down to something I could maintain.
By the seven hour mark I had developed a significant buffer so I could take my time eating meals and I made an effort to stop and put warm clothes on. I was still getting lap updates on Bellchambers just in case he worked some of his magic and I kept an eye on James Lamb who was also a little further back again but is a strong rider.
The course was almost identical to that of the original Sydney 24 Hour race where I competed in my first solo 24 four years earlier. There were lots of fast flat sections separated by small sections of single track that was fun to ride. The grass paddocks that we started racing on soon became single track and at night time the track was getting pretty good.
In the end I was happy to have smashed my legs pretty hard. It was great training for the worlds, which I need...
Jen and I were really grateful that Tony from JetBlack products looked after us on Saturday night. I don't think I could have handled a cold shower and frozen tent again!
Darcy from Gordon Street Cycles spend most of his Friday building up my new Mach 4 and hopefully I will have a few pics of it up soon.
It was good to see the Anytime Fitness boys out in force, maybe next time Gaz and Rich will be 5 minutes faster to beat all the solo guys!