I was interested to see how I would pull up after the Armidale 12 hour race only a week before the Port Macquarie event and, I'll have to admit, I was a little surprised. I still went out for a ride Friday morning as I was half expecting the race to be called off due to the forecast but the conditions were perfect. There were a few muddy sections but with the addition of several bridges the track was great.
My race plan was to start out fairly quickly and ride with the top team riders for as long as possible. I thought the team of local guns Billy, Blake and Kye would be my toughest competitors. Then I saw the Bernard Beer Boys had entered. I managed to stay with them for 5 hours at the Sydney 24hr before being lapped several times.
My race didn't start out as I planned as I had carbohydrate loaded a little too hard. I need a more conservative approach when I don't have a full nights sleep to digest my dinner before a race! I made a decision to take it easier until my bloating had settled down.
At 1:30am I was riding around with Blake who was sitting in 1st place for the teams. I rode around with him for a while before thinking night time might be the best chance I have at getting some time into their team. At this stage Tim was still a fair way up the road.
Around 2:30am I was starting to feel tired. I had made a decision to try and limit my caffeine intake and try and build up my tolerance to sleep deprivation. I quickly threw that idea away as I was loosing enjoyment and consumed 2 Shotz caffeine gels. It's amazing how quickly I forgot how tired I was feeling.
At 4:00am the rain started. I had ridden past Tim and I wasn't very excited about riding in the mud. I was just so thankful that the rain only lasted only a few minutes and that's what we had all race.
A few hours into the race as I headed out past transition with Tim close on my wheel I heard an "oh no" and then I spent most of the time between 4-6am riding solo. For some reason it felt like the sun was about to come up at any stage.
As 6am approached I thought I really needed to get through transition before the 6am 6 hour riders started. I got through at 5.59am, about 30 seconds after all the riders had started. I was really keen to try and stay with the top 6 hour riders to add an extra challenge. I managed to catch up to the top Solo rider Geoff about half way through this lap and then really busted myself for the next 6 hours to try and stay with the top pairs team who were smashing it. Jen couldn't work out why I was so desperate to charge through transition each lap, she just thought I was 2 laps up and should be taking it easy. I had a race on my hands!
It was really good to have company for the last 6 hours and it was great that the boys pushed me so hard. I only swapped onto my Merida 96 which is a dual suspension bike for the last 2 hours as I was loving riding the hardtail. I certainly wasn't disappointed with the level of comfort the duallie offered and I think I actually rode it faster!
I wasn't keen to take it easy on my second last lap when the 6hr leaders slowed a little as I was still scared Billy, Blake or Kye would catch me. I couldn't let them beat me, Lloyd would have lost the $200 he advertised to any team that finished in front of me!
I need to thank Jen for giving up her night to be support, Duncan for getting us out to the race while our car has been off the road (4 weeks now...), Scottie for organising McDonalds hotcakes for breakfast, Merida Bikes for supporting the race, Jamie and the crew from the club for putting the event together, Lloyd and Gordon Street Cycles for swapping all my gear with the new Ritchey Superlogic everything and NiteRider lights. I also can't complain about the Shotz Caffeine gels that kept me alert during the race.