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I relied on a few favours to come together in order to have a bike before race start. With Jason from Macarthur Design and Drafting and Tony from Jet Black Products I had a very nice Pivot Mach 429SL to ride. I was super organised with cameras for this race and started with a camera on my helmet and Fly 6 on the back to record the first couple of laps. I put together a youtube video and as you can see, the fly 6 needed a charge before the race! The video shows the power, speed, gradient, cadence and heart rate overlaid on the screen.
I didn't do a preride of the course, with race information suggesting the track was similar to last year and with 12 hours to get to know the track, I couldn't see a big advantage. The track turned out to be quite a bit shorter than last year cutting out some open riding through paddocks. This meant most of the race now was on single track which was far more interesting! I actually left the race thinking that James Estate actually has a decent and fun mountain bike track. My memories from last year are scarring images long grass sections including open grass climbs each lap.
The race started as I had expected with a few of the gun teams charging off the front. I sat back a few wheels as I tried not to go too hard at the start of the race. It has been interesting to look back at the video footage and see how controlled I was with keeping my heart rate from going much over 80-85% of my MHR. For me, this was possibly one of the more enjoyable 12 hour races I have done. I seemed to build a big lead over the solo field early on so I could spend time just riding with other racers, enjoying the track and the Pivot Mach 429SL. I guess I spent around 5-6 laps riding with u23 solo riders and another couple riding with Tony, the owner of JetBlack Products. Company and conversation makes the time pass at a much more rapid pace and it didn't seem to take long until I was strapping on my NiteRider Lights.
As the sun dropped I was expecting a cool change to kick in. The temperature was actually really mild and at times felt my arm warmers were making me too hot. This sensation only lasted to around 9.30pm just before the race finished as a storm started to kick in. On my last lap while I was pretty keen to get home and stay dry, I tried leading a rider around the track who had run out of light. After several good crashes I decided to just give him my helmet light so he could get home.
Shortly after crossing the line a massive storm blew in. I don't know how Rocky Trail managed to put on presentation between down pours however, I was impressed it still went ahead and I could get home to a nice and warm bed around 1am.
Looking back I was quite impressed with the 429SL. After starting on a hardtail last year, I thought I would take the more enjoyable option of riding the duallie the whole time.
A big thanks to Tony from JetBlack for brining out my 429, Jason and Ian from #teammacdesign for passing me bottles and Rocky Trail Entertainment for putting on a great event. Thanks guys for putting together such a fun little track at James Estate.