Sunday, October 18, 2015

2015 Australian National 24 Hour Championships - Stromlo, Canberra

photo: Russ Baker
 Arriving back into the country on Wednesday with limited sleep and smashed legs I wasn't sure how I would pull up for the National Champs. We drove straight to Canberra on the Wednesday evening and I snuck out for an easy 1.5hr spin to try and loosen the legs up. Thursday I towed one child in a bike trailer while the other was fastened to a kids seat on the back of the same bike as my parents, Jen and I made a partial attempt at looping the lake. Friday we tried again via the National Museum which was a successful mission. Only one swoop, where have all the magpies gone? My legs were feeling pretty busted by the time I tucked into bed on Friday night after a serious feed.

photo: Russ Baker
Saturday morning was quite low stress as we'd set up on Friday. By doing pre-rego, there wasn't a whole lot to sort before the start. Having Jason Moxam around once again was great as he and my parents were out early making sure the pits were to his high standard. All I had to worry about was strapping on a camera and gearing up for a race. 

The start line was full of the usual talk down by all, including myself as I wasn't convinced I could actually ride another 24hr on still quite sore legs. From the go Tobias rode off the front and was left unchallenged. I'm not sure if this was just because he wasn't eligible for the Australian Jersey and other riders were holding back? I rode behind Ed McDonald for most of the first lap and I was surprised at the casual pace he was setting. It was comfortable and let Tobias have a good lead on the rest of the field.

photo: Russ Baker
The track was a pretty standard Stromlo loop. The climb is well hidden through the ABC Switchbacks and Slant 6. Skyline and the Luge are a great way to finish the lap. I really enjoyed this course choice and perhaps this is why I continued on in this race despite not feeling 100%. 

photo: Russ Baker
The second lap I rode with Andrew Lloyd as Ed dropped off and we increased the pace slightly. A couple of laps later we caught back up with Tobias as he backed off the pace. I seemed to struggle with motivation around this point of race. I didn't feel fresh and my legs felt like they were pretty spent. I pretty much gave up on the race on three occasions, this was the first. Tobias started to play with flat tyres a few hours in so Andrew and I lapped around until around 8pm when I had to say good bye, this would be the second time I gave up. I wished Andrew all the best as I couldn't match his pace and I started to struggle with sleep deprivation. Around 10:30pm Tobias caught me and I tried to stay with him for a few laps as we caught back up to Andrew. Just after midnight I dropped of Tobias as I felt I just couldn't do it, and this was where I thought I had no chance of being competitive. I kept poking on however and as Andrew really wound it back a gear by 5am he was a lap down. Around 5am I also caught back up to Tobias. I was a little surprised to catch him however, my body is used to be up training just after 4am and so I felt fresh! It was amazing how I went from feeling rubbish to a sensation that I could really smash out some fast laps. I tried not to turn on the pace too much as I was just stoked to feel great and be in a position where I had taken the lead. I managed to get a lap up on Tobias around 10am and I finished an easy lap with him. He retired not long after. Ed caught me on my last lap as I was having a fairly easy one however, he was a lap down. I rode with him for the rest of the lap and coming through transition Ed needed to do a 33min lap to force me out for a final. I didn't take the gamble and rode 2-3km up the track where there is a clear view of the end of the lap to make sure he didn't sneak through for another lap! I was pretty stoked to win this race. I really needed the encouraging words that others gave me during my time out on course.
The main people I have to thank for this race are:
photo: Russ Baker

Dave from G8 Performance for letting me borrow his tent again and for keeping my feet super comfy.
Jason Moxham for his support in the pits with Jen
My parents for helping Jen with kids in the pits and for my dad letting me use his Mach 429SL
My brother Ben for the much missed pizza run
JetBlack / Pivot / Niterider / Stans for putting together 2 fantastic bikes which worked flawlessly
Shimano for helping me with some XTR components which now includes pedals
Conti for the x-kings front and back
Adidas for an assortment of glasses for all conditions
Santini for such a comfy kit
Darryl from Shotz for looking after my nutrition
Mt Zoom for the super light and super comfy handlebars
Pure Edge for the recovery edge between races!
Lazer for two of the best Genesis helmets and Northwave Shoes

And a quick vid of the first lap

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