Capital Punishment 2012 - XCM Series Round 2
Last time I raced this event was back in 2010. This inaugral event was a complete disaster - a mudfest in cold / freezing conditions.
I was glad to finish that event, let alone be competitive and had no thoughts of doing it again after that first experience.
Saturday morning April 2012, I find myself on the same start line once again. This time couldn't be more of a contrast to the last time.
We were blessed with a balmy 7-8 degrees, clear skies, dry tracks and not a drop of rain in sight. This must be a good sign I thought.
This race is different from all the others, with basically the course / race split into two, with a 10km / 45 min untimed section punctuating the two sections.
Also the race was a lot 'flatter' then the usual 100km marathon events and therefore much faster. My basic strategy was to go as fast as possible without stopping through the first stage. Recover / refuel in the untimed section,
and do the same again for the last stage of the race. Unfortunately this seemed to the same strategy for all the other riders in the first group.
The race started FAST ! Immediately the elites set a speed that was too much for many of the non elite riders. I found myself praying for the first bit of single track so that things could slow down just a little.
Finally we were into the single track and I felt more comfortable with the pace. The first 10km of single track used a lot of this years Mont course (albeit some in reverse) which was great as I knew the course and could keep up a much faster speed
through the single track. We moved from Kowen to Sparrow and back to Kowen, with single track punctuated by fire road sections. I would rate the first 30 - 40km as one of the best tracks in a XC marathon race. Even though we were racing, the fun factor
was still high. We then had a short climb, cross some military land (by passing the 2010 fields around the airport) and over to Majura. Again great singletrack and it was hard to believe we were in the middle of a 100km marathon.
The race continued at a fast pace, and I found myself pusing hard for the first 2.5 hrs. Everyone I was riding with was rolling at the same speed, and it was hard for any really breaks to be made. By the time we got to the KOM, I gave it one short burst and managed to get maybe 20 secs on a couple of riders around me.
"I need a few seconds in the tank for later", I thought. The top of the KOM, marked the start of the untimed section and I was pretty spent by then. Going faster then normal, I noticed I wasn't eating as much as I normally would. I had 45 mins to refuel now and start all over.
I caught up with Gav in the untimed section, and after about 35 mins decided to push on. By this stage I had actually cooled down quite a bit, and this combined with the effort I put into the first stage, had me struggling to keep up with Gav and some of the others around. I dug deep and managed
to hang on as best I could to a train that had formed, and was heading to Stromlo. It was still moving faster then what I would have like, and I finally got pushed off the back as we approached some roadworks just before Stromlo. Gav was having some tyre problems, and once catching upto me, shared some
encouragement and pulled me to the base of Stromlo. Thanks Gav !!
Once at Stromlo I felt at home again. Sucked down a gel, and started on those switchbacks. We were climbing strong and gradually started catching some of the tail of the group who had dropped us earlier, as well as the tail of the 50km field. I feel for the 50km riders as they were like us just trying to finish,
but it is frustrating when you can see riders gradually getting a break and you just cant get around to catch them. I was feeling good now, and as we hit skyline and the luge, let off the brakes and just wanted to get to the finish as fast as possible. Unfortunately I took the descent a little to aggresively, came across a slower rider as I was approaching a corner fast.
The rider still hasn't seen or heard me, resuling in me taking the inside line way too fast and washing out. No major damage except for some skin and pride. I finished the course with my last burst of energy. Looked at the garmin and it was still reading 4 hours something (which included the time in the untimed section).
Pretty happy with the day out, and for breaking the 5 hour barrier for the first time.
Now for Round 3 - Convict 100 at St Albans.