Saturday, October 20, 2012

2012 Scott 24hr

Riding with Mat and Cory
I always have the Scott as a very important race on my calender. It is the biggest 24hr in Australia and CORC always put on a sweet race. After weeks of decision making and running through scenarios it was decided that Jen and Archie wouldn't come down to support me at the race. It would be too hard to travel 8hrs each way to work Friday and Monday with a bub. My parents have supported me in the past and were able to swing time off work to help out. When news that the UK and Canadian National Champions were attending my plans almost changed to ensure Jen was at the race to give me the best chance of a successful race. My mum ended up being my full time support helped by my dad and Kylie McAvoy who were also racing but part of teams.

Staying clean
For some reason I didn't get to ride my Merida 99 bikes before the race. I thought I would have had some time at the race venue before the race. Arriving at the race venue just after 11am there was barely time to get changed, put numbers on the bikes and fill up a water bottle. One bike I had just changed the seat earlier in the morning and assumed it had the same rail height as the previous seat, the second bike I had lent to my dad who had the bike in a position for himself as some estimation was done to try and get the bikes similar...

When I rolled down to the start line I thought the seat felt a little too high, I tried to reassure myself that it was purely because I haven't spent any time riding the bike. The first lap I felt I couldn't get any power down, it felt like the back of me knees were being stretched too far. I gave it two laps but on the third I had to swap bikes. Jumping on the second bike I immediately felt much faster. I was excited now to race, until I hit the first off road section of track and my seat came lose. I pulled a u-turn and headed back to the pit row to try and find a torx key so I could tighten the seat back up. Taking off again the same issue came about after 500m. Upon inspection I had lost a part of the seat clamp and headed back to transition to swap back to my first bike. Luckily dad had lowered the seat height and I was back racing, back about 5-6 minutes. I was a little nervous at this stage knowing I couldn't afford to give away any time to the top boys at this race. Even after chasing hard on my third lap I had dropped back to 9th position.

Plastered in mud
The course was made up of two loops and I had a clear favourite early on. The red lap that took riders to the top of Stromlo rewarded them with Skyline, Berm Track and part of the downhill course. At times I was getting far too excited hammering down hill and had to remind myself that even a little crash would have serious implications for a long race. The blue lap on the other hand developed some chronic mud patches that forced interval sessions as riders had to get run up to drive through the slop. This did take it out of the legs.

The next few hours seemed pretty standard and I seemed to get into a rhythm. I managed to catch Matt and Cory around 5pm and we rolled into transition together to change lights. I rolled out first and that was the last time I saw these guys. At 9pm I moved into the lead as Sam and Ed had some physiological issues and needed to withdraw. During the night it dropped down to almost 0 deg but with my leg warmers on from the start I felt comfortable with a wind vest and arm warmers.

At night Matt Page seemed to excel. I was getting lap spits that were indicating he was gaining on me a couple of minutes per lap. I was finding it really hard to stay awake on the bike and was trying to hold back on the amount of caffeine Shotz gels I was consuming. I wasn't too concerned about the time slplits and just kept maintaining my comfortable pace waiting for the sun to come up and the sense of tiredness to go away.

Finishing wheelie!
When the sun did finally come up I started to feel great. My legs still felt fine from riding easy during the night and I lifted the pace slightly. The lap spits back to Matt went from 4 minutes, to 5 minutes to 6 minutes and I was surprised when it went out to 20 minutes. With a significant buffer in place and 4 hours to go it was just a matter of looking after myself, riding sensibly and trying to have some fun.

I rolled across the line a few minutes before 12 finishing on the red lap which even with busted legs was super fun on the downhill. I'm surprised what my weight weenied bikes can handle!

There are a few people I need thank for making this race a real possibility for me:

Firstly my parents for taking time off work to support me. Pizza for breakfast was a welcomed surprise, thanks mum!

Kylie for jumping in and making sure all the little things that often get overlooked were covered in the pit - for example filling up my bottle for the first lap!

Tony and the boys from Jet Black Products - Half of all of my bikes are made up from Jet Black bits and pieces. They also look after my lights. I'm impressed they found a new seat clamp for me mid race!

Merida / Advance Traders / Exact Mining - Another big thanks for the 99 bikes. The 26" duallie is not dead. After riding a 29er for a few weeks leading up to the event it was refreshing and fun to be on the 26!

Gordon Street Cycles - Thanks guys for getting my bike back into working condition after 24hrs of thrashing and trashing in the mud. I don't know how you guys can get my bikes looking like new let alone riding like new!

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