Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Mont 2010

Well it has been a while since I wrote something here. After the euphoria of qualifying for the World 24hr Solo Championship, things predictably, took a bit of a slide. I mean I was still riding, but life got in the road a little, and it didnt seem all that important to train anyway since the WSC isnt until October!

You see, we all need goals and not just long term ones, that's why this weekend was so good. A 24hour race, albeit in a team of four, but a great chance to test my speed and fitness on what is meant to be some of the sweetest single track anywhere, and sweet it is. A continuous 19km loop of winding single track through pine forest, punctuated by the odd fire road pinch climb.

I will spare the description of the drive down Friday night, setting up camp at 10pm, all the usual stuff and skip straight to the start. Was a rush! 500 riders standing on the start line, you feel the adrenalin and then we are off. A 400m dash up hill to your bike, a literal stampede of flesh and lycra. You see there are 2500 riders entered in teams of mostly 4 and 6, add to that almost every rider brings a significant other or the whole family and it means the population of a small city decends on this place called Sparrow Hill just outside Canberra. And they all line the dirt road as you run for your bike, they are waving flags and cheering, I have to say it bares a remarkable resemblance to a typical spectator lined climb on de Tour.

Grabbed my bike off Steve and I off on my first lap and it is a good start at 53min. Steve and Bernie put in solid laps of 55 and 58 mins, then Ryan lays down the challenge with a sub 50min. We all take another lap and the track gets faster, although the dust makes it a little difficult. Into the night now and we are onto doubles. My double is just over the 2 hour mark and I come in a little bonked. So it is time to replenish and get to bed. I sleep like a log and awake at 3am after 4 solid hours on recharge ready to roll even though I am not due out until 6am. So I eat my breakfast and see Ryan come in smashed after riding a triple. The temperature still above 20 so we are riding in Canberra in the middle of the Autumn night in just a jersey and still struggling to stay hydrated!

I spend some time servicing the bike and get that coffee I have been waiting for all weekend and then get up to transition just in time to meet Bernie who has completed his double. At 6:15 it is still pitch black, but I am thrilled to know I will be out here riding when the sun rises and is it just gorgeous listening to the noises of the forest mixed in with the rattles of 500 mountain bikes rolling on hard pack.

I finish my double in just over 2 hours and feel satisfied with my 6 laps. All being well we will complete our 24 laps in 23 hours and secure a top 20 ranking in the Open 4 Mens.

23 hours you say? Last week James "Willo" Williamson passed away while competing in the Cape Epic in South Africa. In short, this guy was not only a world class MTB champion, but gave heaps to the sport he loved as well as being a highly respected sports journalist. Basically, he was a really great guy and the consensus is that he always had time and a smile for anyone. Stu, the MC for the event, read out a moving email describing Willo's incredible life and then following a minutes silence, the whole field proceeded on a non-competitive 4 km loop, called the James Williamson Honour Roll. It was a time to reflect on our sport, Willo, and what he accomplished and also why we ride, and more importantly why we live. Two of my team mates think Jesus was a pretty cool guy as I do and I showed them a new web site called, that aims to just be a signpost for anyone in MTB asking the big questions. A good mate of mine, Gary who is currently pastor at a church in the Shire, just happens to be a pretty handy rider and this is his brainchild and I am proud to support it. So check out the site and keep an eye out for the jesusmtb sticker on a seat post near you.

Where was I? Oh yes I finish my double at 8:20ish and off goes Steve to complete his 6 pack with a respectable double. Bernie put in his last lap, possibly his fastest for the weekend, then sends Ryan on his way at 11:30 to complete the race for our team "Bird TORC". Ryan planned to finish like he started and pulled out another blistering lap, narrowing missing sub 50. Well done mate! We might have even snatched 16th place!

There were a few other TORC diehards there which was good to see, Stephen K, Tracey R and Kelly M to name a few. My 10 year son Liam also made his MTB debut entering the 10-12 year old race and riding well. He has a great weekend with Dad camping and eating pancakes with chocolate topping and icecream

So back to my original comment, we all need short term goals. This race has got me back on track and hungry for the Worlds in October. Recovery ride tomorrow

Keep Riding

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