Sunday, January 19, 2014

On the Convict Trail

There is something special about the first race of a new year and with the Duo Classic getting red flagged, I was excited to be heading out to YellowMundee; a track I hadn't sampled for quite some time.  A fairly technical rocky course, it keeps you on your toes in order to avoid a fall or a puncture.  It rewards smooth efficient pedalling and forces you to find fast lines.  It typifies the blue mountains with plenty of sandstone, I love the new couple of little sections of paved sandstone, makes you think the track could have been laid by the convicts back in the early days of our young country.

After just about succumbing to spontaneous combustion in several previous Summer races, I wasnt going to make that mistake again and went fully prepared with 12 bottles, some ice and towels that could be soaked and wrapped around the shoulders.  I was determined to drink atleast a litre an hour, and although I could have positioned my little pit area better, it didnt seem to hold me up too much having to stop every couple of laps for more fluids.  Temperatures peaked at just over 30 deg today, so it didnt get too bad, but I did end up drinking 5 litres over 4 hours....
Phil Welch setting up for the race.  Hydration would be critical today.  Photo Crummy MTB
The start was well marshalled, a fairly simple request to get the faster riders to the back as we rode down to the start and then an about face, there I was on the 2nd row where I like to be.  Fellow Masters competitor Phil Welch was there so it was great to have a friendly face, we've been doing a bit of training together and it would be great to see how we are progressing.  At around the two hour mark I was still lapping consistently.  My heart rate was under control and my lap times were on the dot every time and I started to think maybe there was a chance of a podium.  Lot's of the quicker riders going round were in a pair, so I just kept plugging away, not knowing where I stood but keeping up a consistent pace.  The Giant Anthem again was rolling faultlessly with it's silky smooth full XT grupo, I was comfy all day and just love riding it (despite the strange grimace on my face here below)
Photo thanks to Michael Crummy
Pretty soon I spied another solo rider up ahead and he looked like he was hurting.  With three laps to go I figured I would just mark him and if the pace started to fall away I could put some pressure on him.  The very next lap we both stopped for a fresh bottle, but I left the pits quicker and never saw him again.  

Thanks to BikeMinded for their generous sponsorship today.  In a nice touch, all place getters from all categories got the same prize which was a neat little package of bottle, bottle cage and multitool.  I was just happy to come away with a great ride under my belt and a few bragging rights
Photo Crummy MTB

All up it was a spectacular day on an awesome challenging trail.  Thanks to WSMTB and everyone involved for a great day of Mountain Biking.  As a footnote I ran into John Patterson, an old school and football mate.  His 12 year old son and team mate took out the juniors with 9 laps.  MTB has a big future ahead with young kids coming up the ranks like this.
Keep riding
Mike

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