Sunday, March 20, 2011

Capital Punishment

Canberra really is an amazing place to live, even if you're not a cyclist, the place was absolutely pumping Friday night as I rolled into Crowne Plaza to sign on, there were just thousands of people out enjoying an unseasonally balmy March evening in our Nation's capital, eating out, cycling, playing soccer, watching an NRL match. Then there are the trails, now there might be some better trails at Buller or Melrose, but for sheer variety and availability of heaps of trails in a concentrated area you just cant go past this place. I really want to live there!

The cyclists are different too, perhaps it is the fresh country air, but the locals seem to ride effortlessly taking in the magnificent vistas while shredding some wicked single trail leaving you struggling just to hold their wheel.

This really was a fun race, forget the result, it took most of the race for my legs to switch on, and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised by my time when the results were finally posted online. The mix of trails and road sections, the chatty field of riders, the friendly marshalls, and the many other fun seekers we passed along the way all out enjoying Canberra's plentiful recreation areas made this a truly great race, not to mention a seriously hot field despite a number of the regulars away at Shepparton and The Terra.

The untimed section was a hoot and I want to say to anyone running a 100k enduro, this is an absolute must have. Being able to switch off for 30 or so minutes to refuel, relax, stretch, lube the bike take a nature stop or whatever was just heaven. Not only that I had the pleasure of cruising through the streets of the centre of the city with 20 or so riders, we chatted and joked like we were riding to school, it was so much fun it was almost a shame to start racing again, but of course that's what we came for and as soon as we crossed into Black Mountain it was on again, each rider pushing the other to their limits.

The start of the race was furious as always and it wasnt long before we were funnelled into the first section of single track. If it is one thing I hate, it is riders trying to jump the queue who arrive after me and try and pass at the bottleneck. Thankfully I was able to trackstand it, elbow a few pusher-innerers out of the way and hold my position. While I am whinging, there was another bloke who had it in for me all day, cutting me off as we entered more single track, leading me the wrong way, cutting me off at a food stop and then crossing a road near Stromlo right in front of a car, oh yeah then heading up Cotter Road he veers left BEHIND a car waiting at a t-intersection, dude follow the road rules!! Well it was kinda funny and he didnt seem to mind pulling a turn, in fact every time I passed him to take a turn he'd attack me again...whatha! OK glad I got that off my chest.

For trails, Majura was the pick for me, tight and twisting, a little soft and tree roots galore, I remember one sharp right hander, my back wheel caught a root and swung right round, thankfully my front tired didnt wash and I stayed clipped in and powered out of the corner to the praise of the rider on my wheel, well sometimes it just comes together :) and it's amazing how a compliment from a fellow rider can spur you on. Kowen was really good too, you guys doing the Mont are in for a treat and of course Stromlo is just awesome. There were a couple of brutal hills before Majura, the road sections were cool, on the Kings Highway we had a freight train of about 10 riders all swapping off and we hit over 50kph. Even the grass paddocks around the airport were OK, but it was at that point I was thinking a dualie would have been nice to smooth out the bumps.

As I said the legs seemed to be a little slow for the most of the race and it wasnt until Stromlo where I really hit my straps and clawed back a couple of places. I had the iPod pumping by this stage and powered up the climb and skated down Skyline with a pretty clear run. I was calling track well in advance and there were a number of 50km riders who pulled over to give me a clear run, much appreciated guys, thankyou. I knew from the signs we'd only covered 90km, so it was no surprise when at the bottom of Luge, I was directed out to Slant Six and Double Dissolution. By this stage I was completely on my own and finishing as hard as I have ever finished any race to try and regain some position suffering just one little hubbard moment where I caught a lip on the trail and went over the bars onto the grass beside the trail. Crossing the finish I felt pretty good, hmm tired, hungry, sore legs and back but good, does that make sense?

Thanks to AROC for a great race and all the volunteers, thanks to Tarren for the pics, thanks to my friends Hans and Ros for giving me a place to sleep Friday night and for moving my car from start to finish during the race, that was so good! Thanks again Dave Hunt my coach of FTP, to all the gang at Turramurra Cyclery, to my lovely wife and kids for giving me the time to pursue this passion of mine, thanks to God for friends and cycling and for the fine weather.

Till next time keep riding


Overall : 66/833
Category : 12/245

Distance: 97km
Total Ascent: 1119m
Total Descent: 1321m

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