It has been a long time since I have made a blog post. I have been waiting for pictures to turn up from the Sydney 24hr that show me racing in green! It was a hard choice to move to Merida however when Pivot couldn't offer the same level of support as I had in 2010 my local bike shop saw the opportunity to approach Merida. The big positives about moving to Merida are the crazy light bikes, the same nutrition sponsor and a positive association with JetBlack products that look after the Merida team with NiteRider Lights and other JetBlack goodies. I will also be riding Stans Wheels, Egg Beater pedals and using Weldtite lubes also provided through JetBlack Products.
The week leading up to the Sydney 24hr was a little crazy for me. I was trying to juggle work with negotiating with sponsors to try and get two bikes built for the race. In the end most of the parts arrived on the Friday so the boys at Gordon Street Cycles did some serious overtime to get the bikes ready. This time I took my new Reactor roadie in that I have had for a few weeks to ensure the setup was perfect.
I was stoked with the end result. A hardtail that sits in the low 8kg's and a dually that is in the low 9kg's. I can't wait for a hilly course!
Looking at the forecast for the race we grabbed a few bags of ice on Saturday morning on the way out to the race. I justified smashing down a few icy poles in the car to keep my core cool. The outside temp on the dash was reading 33 deg at around 8am....
Arriving at the race track around 9:30am gave me heaps of time to setup, rego and hydrate like crazy. I packed on the sun screen and zinc knowing there would be a lot of exposed open climbing.
As the race started I tried hanging in the top ten and let a few riders charge off the front. I had a discussion with Ed Macdonald about my race plan. I told him I would sit back, save myself and see how I felt in the early morning as the temperature dropped off. During the second lap I couldn't help myself and decided I would race the top teams for a few laps. In the end I was racing them for just over 5 hours where I just couldn't get enough fluid down. I was drinking 2 bottles a lap which were well under 30mins. It was close to 3L per hour!
After I settled down I still felt surprisingly good energy wise. I think because of the short laps it is easy to eat well. But I just wasn't enjoying the heat. If I didn't drink my biddon in the first five minutes of any lap I couldn't drink it because it became too hot. I was looking forward to the night time to bring some relief. At least the lack of direct sunlight stopped the burning sensation on the climb, however it was still mid-high 30s at 1-2am in the morning. The coolest it got down to over night was 33 deg around 5-6am.
The second day started out at a good temperature. The clouds were out and I could ride with some of the guys from Gordon Street Cycles however, at around 9am the sun came out from behind the clouds. Next lap I was ready to check my position and evaluate how much further I needed to ride. I wasn't keen for another 40 degree lap! After doing the maths I was seven laps ahead and second place was going to need to smash out some good times to catch up so I spent the last few hours of the race in the pool!
A big thanks to Jen for supporting again. Rocky Trail Entertainment did a fantastic job as always. I thoroughly enjoyed the Merida Bikes. And JetBlack Products and Gordon Street Cycles get a special mention for their awesome effort to get the bikes ready in time.
In future I'll try to post a few new toys that I will be getting on my bikes to make them lighter and faster :)