The Mawson Marathon is a 360km route that can be raced over 4 stages or completed non stop if you race with a partner. I had thought that this race would be logistically too hard so I didn't think any more of it until I got a phone call from Andrew Bell. He had sourced a support mechanic, tents, support car and everything to give us the best chance in this race. I thought there couldn't be too many people who would be able to keep with us and so I committed to racing with Andy.
Taking a couple of days off work I flew down to Adelaide on Wednesday afternoon for a 7hr bus trip on Thursday to our race start at Blinman. I was hearing rumors of gun teams that had entered the race and I was hoping we could battle to make it into the top 3 overall.
The race started right on 7:30am, in the 15 minutes before this time I going through thscrutinising processes whilst a camera man was trying to stick a bar mounted camera on my bike. It was amazing the sort of safety and back up gear required for the race. I still cant work out why we required a spare tyre each!
The start was almost 20km of mostly down hill tar road and Chris Jongerwood made a few attacks to try and get away. Being a team race, all we had to do was mark his partner Brett Anderson and make sure they didn't go together. The partner ruling meant these guys had to ride within 50 meters of each other. After a couple more unsuccessful attacks the pace was quite civilized, until we hit the first 4wd track.
Another attack went from Jongerwood and I was quite happy to sit on the back of Brett. The pace that they were doing was unsustainable however, if we could stay with them through the rough sections we would be able to sit on an enjoy a tow during the flat sections of the race.
We must have stayed with them for 5-10 minutes however, Andy clearly wasn't enjoying the pace and I thought it was sensible for us to drop off and wait until they destroyed themselves. We could see the Torq team catching up at this part of the race and rode easy until we were with them. We tried to work together however, the pace would often drop right off to a point where I was taking photos etc. I think this is where the leading team of Jongerwood and Anderson put the real time into us.
It would have been 120km down the road where we left the Torq boys as they seemed to be struggling and it was no longer worth our time to wait for them. I remember a time feeling quite ordinary at about the 180km mark. I changed my fluid strategy and started to feel great.
By the 200km mark I was getting sick of the constant pedaling. Normally during mtb races you only pedal for around 70% of the race distance as you stop pedaling to negotiate trees, hit corners or just roll downhill! This race was constant, you were pedaling up slight raises or pedaling down slight downhills. It didn't matter what direction you were facing, you were riding into a headwind!
I was glad to see the night fall and a chance to ride in the dark for a bit of variety. I was glad to come across the line around 10:30pm before the real cold set in. I was lucky enough to only need arm warmers. I dont envy those who came in after me and needed to fully rug up to combat the cold conditions.
I was quite amazed with the camera crew that were following us for a large proportion of the race and how quickly they were moving between the top few teams. Im pretty keen to see their video as they filmed us during an amazing sunset that I am sure will look good on video. Im not so excited about the camera that was sitting on the bars facing me for the first 5 hours!
I think if I come back next year, I hope the rules have been changed to keep riders on the same bike for the whole course. Being able to change to TT bikes on the road would have been a massive advantage and creates a significant disadvantage to unsupported teams. Maybe have the race so that outside assistance isn't allowed at all!
I enjoyed having a big crew from Gordon Street Cycles at the event along with many regular faces from 24hr racing. It just makes the whole event more fun. I apologise to the people who picked up my Mach 4 and made comments such as "cheat" or "that's unfair". The bike did go great, i was comfy all race!
I used the Continental Protection Race Kings in 2.0 tubeless for this race which worked great for this event.
A big thanks goes out to Ben Randal for being our support during the race and throwing me Shotz nutrition for the race. I ended up consuming over 17 gels in 14hrs...
I need to also thank Anytime Fitness, Pivot Bikes and JetBlack products for your support.