Christmas is over for another year and while most cyclists would be putting their feet up and enjoying a few extra guilt free calories whilst planning their trip to Adelaide for the TDU, I was sweating hard on a wind trainer somewhere on NSW far north coast whilst helping out on SUFM Beach mission. Round 1 of the XCO last month was fun, but my 6th placing provided enough motivation to see if I could extract any more power from the old diesel.
Web site http://whats.todaysplan.com.au provided the challenge. Some monster intervals to improve power and strength and there were times on that trainer in 30 deg heat with no fan where I came close to quitting. The one thing that kept me going was the promise of a better performance in Pemberton.
In my final week of the plan, Quantum rider Michal Kafta was looking for a teammate to pair up in the WSMTB Stans 4 hour Summer Series Round 2 (Twilight Edition) http://www.wsmtb.com/v2/4hr_2014.html Michal is a very talented rider having won the Veterans in the Fling and placing very high in the Croc trophy last year and although I wouldn’t put myself in his league, I was privileged to join with him for some fun and give the legs a test before tapering for WA.
Upon arriving at Yellowmundee around 4pm, the sun was still blazing and temps were still 30+ degrees. Classic Yellowmundee, it was hot and the track was dry, dusty and very ,very looooose. Every track has it’s own character and this is just what I’d expect from this favourite track at the base of the Blue Mountains. An added bonus was that Michal had put up the marquee and we had 3 other quantum teams racing with Mark & Ollie, Jacob & Alex, and Aaron & Steve combining to provide some inter-team rivalry.
I volunteered Michal for the first lap and was both cheering and cursing as he cruised through transition after the start in 2nd wheel behind young sensation Matt Dinham. Before he went out he said to me to take it easy in the heat, conserve energy and then light it up after the sunset and temps dropped. It was great to see Michal taking his own advice, NOT! Michal came back through timing in about 5th place just 20 secs behind Matt and tagged me in. The sun was still raging but I felt great on the track. I’d brought my racing Anthem shod with newly renovated www.TWEBikeWheels.com.au Arch 29er wheels. They might be over 4 years old but these wheels still feel light and stiff and the Anthem was eating up the rocky trail.
Meanwhile the legs felt strong. I’d had a dodgy stomach for most of the week, even succumbing to a nap before heading out to the race, but once I was riding, all the cares and niggles just fell away and I opened up the taps. I got finished the lap in just a minute more than Michal’s lap so I was stoked with that and we steadied into 4th place overall.
The race continued pretty smoothly and 3rd place was coming up on the radar. Michal put in a scorching lap breaking the 19min barrier and then sent me out right behind 3rd place Velocipede with Jacob leading a train of three. On the techy rock steps, the Velo rider made a mistake and I jumped past onto Jacob’s wheel. We stomped to the base of the fireroad climb and half way up we’d established a good gap on Velocipede so I put my head down and recorded my fastest lap just missing a sub 20 min lap by 2 seconds.
The rest of the evening passed by without incident, the vibe on the track was very casual and as the 4 hour mark closed in, the traffic thinned, the temperature dropped and the light slowly disappeared to leave me riding in ideal conditions. It was another good test for the www.NiteLights.com.au and the bright broad beam provided excellent illumination in the foreground, whilst the ever faithful www.ayup-lights.com narrow beam on the helmet lit up further down the track.
I ran Maxxis Icon EXC front and rear which gave a good sense of grip, fast rolling and protection from the rocky terrain.
In the end we finished 3rd overall with the Kaliba team of Glen and Fabian just 2 minutes back chasing hard. 1st and 2nd placed pairs were a whole lap ahead, made up of Matt Dinham (18), Luke Brame (17), Ben Metcalfe (14!!) and long time XC champion Matt Fleming now turned 40! Look out Masters category. And look out for these young guns, coming through the ranks. They ride like greased lightning.
It was a well run event with some nice prizes donated by www.BikeMinded.com.au , www.BlackmanBicycles.com.au and www.PantherCycles.com.au so thank you for their support.
Thanks to the www.Quantum-Racing.com.au team for a great fun event and to Michal for the opportunity to race with you. It was just great to feel part of a team and chew the fat around the transition as we waited for our partners to reappear all too soon! Thanks also to all the riders who turned up to make it a fun event and the local RFS crew for the great BBQ. It was great to catch up with part of the MTB family friendly and chatty as always. Now it’s time to rest and taper and see what comes about in Pemberton next weekend.