Monday, March 26, 2012

Covering New Ground

Lately, most of my long rides have involved getting lost in the BFP hills for hours.  Actually, there is no real danger of getting lost as I have ridden most of the stuff (though I am sure Megalegs could find me a mystery hill or two).  In fact, it is too familiar.  I never knew that could happen.

On Sunday as we prepared for our hours of power, there was a distinct feeling of underwhelmed.  At the last minute we made a change and opted to go check some stuff out, on our bikes, for fun like.  And it made from some excellent fun.  The mental effort to ride the same stuff over and over is actually tough.  I hadn't realised it, but the contrast with this ride was obvious.

29ers - the weapon of choice for landslips!
Our ride took in the Goat Track - which really is now a Goat Track, I doubt she will ever see a roadie or a car again. There is just not enough land left to fit a road... it pretty much fell down the mountain!  I am not sure where the locals go now, with both the Goat Track and the Tourist Road closed - I guess through the Gap is it.  Something to bear in mind when climbing Nebo on the road!

Anyway, the GT is still a great climb, just probably need fat tyres or a CX these days (and the ability to not look down on some narrow sections!).

The top was magic with plenty of water moving through the creek.  There were some huge trees that had been dropped along the creek - I cannot imagine what it must have been like when the 700mm of rain fell over a couple days during the floods.

Beautiful spot at the top of the Goat Track
After that we took the tar back to Nebo village, attacked the obligatory roadie or two on our MTBs, and decided to head back onto South Boundary.  Here the hammer was dropped as we belted back towards civilisation.  Realising we were going to be back way earlier than anticipated - we added another extra loop down off the ridge to Gold Creek Reservoir....   There were some unscheduled stops as Nick attended to some puncture dramas while I offered sympathy...

snakeskin sidewalls are where it is at.  Nuff said.

I then introduced Nick to Hillbrook hill.  Fun times on that climb.  We both promised to go back and do that again.  I would like to know the gradient in a few of those sections... definitely in the pinchy realm.

At the end of the day, we got our kms and did the job - and best of all because of the adventure wandering, it didn't feel like work.  I am considering a 'flip a coin' ride in BFP where we ride to an intersection and then flip a coin.  Could be some mad fun.  But I will pack the topo map, just in case.  Mixing it up works a treat - try it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tailwind SuperSeries Race One - 4 hour

Tailwind opened their enduro SuperSeries for the year with a 4 hour at Murrenbong Scott Camp.  With TR busted and in plaster, and Shan and the Dog opting not to take part in the mudfest it was a slim Koiled team!
It is nice to have racing so close to home, and I figure between In2Adventure and Tailwind I have to learn to love the track - there is not a lot of variation on the enduro scene for racing this year.

I trained hard all week, and was looking to this race as a measuring stick of where I am at for May.
I lined up for the HRPW B Grade crit race the day before and despite planning to roll around, found myself in the position to take out first lady, so I did with the unbeatable lead out train of Shannon Duggan.  Nice 52.6 km/hr av on the last lap definitely turned the engine over.  Finally, after really loading myself up and experiencing the necessary fatigue, I felt like I was slowly making the ascent back to performing - my legs are coming back.

And just in time.  With a bucket of rain the evening before the race everyone knew Murrenbong was going to be wet.  And wet means hell mud at Murrenbong.  This upped the difficulty rating, and a few gave race day a miss. I still insisted on taking my hardcore carbon dually Tallboy.  Some people think I am nuts, but the reality is I need to be pushing the wheels that will take me to Italy.  A look at the start list showed me some quality ladies, on and off road, were racing and I would need to push myself and ride well if I wanted to win.

There was time to catch up with a few mates before the start - including the lovely Seb, sporting her new Koiled kit.  Seb is a regular at the enduros and always has great groups of girls riding ... so when she asked if she could get her hands on the hottest kit around who would say no!

I managed to grab a quick snap of her with Nick and I before racing got underway and kits became unrecognisable!

On the start line I was feeling pretty calm as I jumped in directly behind the first couple of boys with my trusty teamie side-kick - Nick!  He'd opted for SS, smart move given the conditions.

The big 2.2 Ralphs on my Tallboy were definitely not the tyre of choice, and I had an almost instant reminder as they spat me into the ground within the first 2 mins..... okay - calibration done, line found - upright riding was experienced for the rest of the race!!  It did panic me knowing I would be catching loads of congestion lap one.  I wondered if this was where I pull out and experience the shortest race in history, but I kicked that idea to the kerb and used it as an opportunity to exercise the patience needed for 24 hour riders. I had 4 hours to drag it back.

At the end of the day I took out the Solo Females with a lap up.  Went close to fastest female too; always a challenge for a solo rider against the team girls but doesnt stop me trying!  My consistency is there, with nearly half the fastest top 20 laps being my laps for the day.  A highlight for me was watching Leslie ride the infamous greasy pinch climb out of the first mud bath.  I got up it a couple of times before the corner at the bottom got really ugly. I tried a RHS line and stalled and thought ok - this is now a walker.  Then up comes Leslie, LHS line and all the way up the climb if you dont MIND!!! GET IN !!! How awesome is that. Reminder that until you have tried all the lines, it aint impossible - and as a solo you get heaps of chances to try something different.  Rode it every lap after that!  I will refer to this as 'doing a leslie' from now on.

Doing a Leslie.... too good!
Despite having no organised support, a group of loyal buddies turned up sometime during the race and it seemed there was always someone to tell me a time or pass a bottle.  Thanks Pommy, Dog and K - you are excellent and part of our success!

In then end 8 laps (64kms) in 4.05... given the conditions (some sections unrideable at the start) I am very happy with that!  Nick smashed out 8 laps in 4.22. Enough to get his first win in the SS category!! 

Up next LunarC Midnight 8hr..... at Murrenbong!