I wasn't planning on doing the Sydney 12hr as it would have meant a race every weekend in August so with the cancellation of the Mawson Marathon the weekend became available and it was a great chance to attend an event that JetBlack Products heavily supports.
To make the event easier for me Tony from JetBlack let me crash at his house which is located a convenient 20mins from the race track. I still have nightmares after the 12hr at Dargle Farm last year where I had to break the ice off the tent zipper to get out in the morning so I was very thankful for a good sleep and warm conditions before the race.
I didn't have Jen supporting me again at this race so I had to fill up 12hrs worth of drink bottles. I had packed almost any bottle I could find in my shed and some possibly haven't seen a wash ever. I think there was only one really rank bottle which tasted nasty for a couple of laps.
When I arrived at the track with an hour to get sorted I didn't want to be under prepared like the Awaba 8hr! I had a loaf of bread filled with spreads placed in zip lock bags and a big box of random bars and gels for a lucky dip. I filled the 500ml bottles with water and the 750ml bottles with 1.5 electrolyte tabs. My night helmet was already fitted with lights and my warm gloves and arm warmers were ready to go. The night bike was left with the JetBlack crew to deck out with NiteRider lights all just in time for the start.
My warmup was a 50m ride to the race start and I think that was the first time I had ridden the Merida 96 since the Easter nationals. After the start it became apparent that the seat was too far forward but at the time I didn't think this would be much of an issue. It just meant my quads were getting hammered right from the start. It took around 1.5hrs before I started to warm up and my legs we starting to get use to the bike setup. Up until this time there were a few teams up the road and I was struggling to hold onto the back of Brett Bellchambers and Andrew Hall in the solo category. These guys were moving!
I'm not sure how it happened but around the 2hr mark the Bernard Beer Boys 4 man team caught up and I thought I would try and ride with them for a couple of laps to increase the slight lead I was developing in the solo category. The couple of laps turned into over 10 laps when I managed to get a lap up on Andrew in second place. Part of me wanted to keep trying to stay with the boys for as long as possible but I always had the aim of backing up for the 8hr on Sunday. I thought riding with Andrew would be a sensible option to allow some recovery time. In the end this wasn't the case, my legs were getting busted from the pinchy climbs and going hard early on was taking its toll. The last 4 hours seemed to drag on for ages but there were some pretty of cool sections of track that kept me wanting to go out for another lap.
During the race I crashed twice, once at the start and once where I ghostied the bike into the back dam. I wish someone got to see this event. I was just following Andrew, hit a root which caused the front wheel to slip out. I over-corrected and the bike went straight off the end of a 2m vertical bank into a dam. I managed to bail out and with one hand holding part of the bike and the other holding a tree I managed to save the bike from a full submersion. It was quite a challenge to get myself back up to the track let alone wrestle the bike back up the bank!
I met heaps of cool people out on track this race. There were quite a few people who were up for a chat and it's amazing how much quicker the time passes when you can both race and talk to like-minded people at the same time.
By being a lap ahead during the race I kept riding around with Andrew until 11:40 of racing where I could pull up short and let the recovery nutrition work its magic. I was really happy to have come down to Sydney for the weekend. It was great to catch up with the regulars and was a good chance to get some kms in before the Scott 24ht in October.
Rocky Trail Entertainment did fantastic job yet again! The bon fire, the track, the food, everything just ran perfectly. I'm just a little sad I couldn't have backed up and had a serious go at the 8hr on the Sunday!
It was great to see the boys from JetBlack products not only promoting their products but getting out and using them on the track. I didn't really get to see the new NiteRider lights but everyone I spoke to who saw them were amazed. Hopefully I'll get to see them before the Scott 24hr!