Sunday, September 18, 2011

2011 Dwellingup 100

After doing the Dwellingup 100 last year I was really keen to come back. The trails at Dwellingup are well planned and have enough technical elements to keep you thinking but also have heaps of flow that make you want to go back and re-ride sections of track. The course is made up of an initial 40km loop that is mostly firetrail with a significant amount of climbing that comes back through the start finish for a feedzone. A further 60km takes riders out to Turner Hill via 7-8 km of tar and from Turner Hill it is a fast 35km back home on a combination of flowy single track, gravelly descents and fast fireroads.

In order to get to Dwellingup I spent Friday heading into primary schools to promote the event and mountain biking in general which is a rewarding experience in itself. The school visits finished at 3.00pm at Dwellingup Primary School which allowed enough time for a quick spin around Turner Hill. I headed out with local junior gun Reece Tucknott and world cup xc superstar Gracie Elvin. It was awesome riding this track again however the torrential downpour put a dampener on the enjoyment!

Race day started out overcast so I went for the lightest tinted Adidas eye wear as rain was only forecast for the afternoon. Lining up I was thinking I would have to fight hard to get onto the podium at all with Andy Blair and Pete Hatton being on the start list with several gun locals.

The race started out very interestingly with people attacking the climbs quite hard but nobody really got away for any significant time. The pace was quite moderate on the flatter firetrails and through the undulations. It seemed nobody wanted to be riding alone for the 7-8km tar section at the 40km mark against a headwind and so we had a group of around 6 riders. Once we hit the tar it felt like the pace dropped off to around 20km/hr and no one was willing to try and attack up the road or pedal hard into the wind. I was getting scared that the cross country boys would be super fresh for the last 40km of the race and I wouldn't be able to match the intensity that they were going to drop on me.

I made the decision that I had to try and be first into Turner Hill and see if I could put down a little buffer and it paid off. I may have got 20-30 seconds here but it was enough of a gap to try and extend. I really put everything on the line for the next 5-10 minutes to see if I could keep the boys away and get a safer gap. I was starting to get a sore neck looking behind me on every firetrail but as I couldn't see anyone I kept the pace on. I got to the "Lieutenant Dan has no legs" section and I could barely pedal my legs were drilling but I knew from last year that there wasn't a whole lot of climbing left so just pushed through.

I was glad to see the Marinup loop and I really enjoyed the fun flowy final 15km of the course. It was good to win this race for Shotz as Darryl, being a major sponsor of the race, was out promoting the product. Obviously the stuff works with a win in both the mens and the womens race. I'm sure this was the easiest first 50km of a marathon I have done and also the hardest last 50km of one. I really needed the 10 normal gels, 2 caffinated gels, 2 choc almond bars and electrolyte tabs, thanks Shotz Nutrition!

Also a big thanks to Sram for putting a new drive train on my Merida 09 and Gordon Street Cycles for getting my bike sorted in such a short time for this event.

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