What an awesome race.
For those that don’t know, I raced the Australian Marathon Championships 2 weeks ago in Atherton. I had a week up there prior to just dedicate to riding and relaxing, the race was unbelievably hard taking over 7 hours to finish so I knew I had a pretty good prep coming into this race.
One week prior I did a 95km mtb ride averaging 20km/h which felt good so I just needed to avoid getting sick in the week leading up and I should be good.
Friday I was working from home so I packed the car and headed off mid afternoon. I arrived around 4pm, sorted a camping spot with Anthony and Kyle (although Anthony wasn't camping), registered and started preparing dinner etc. Even though the start list was still quite full it seamed very quiet as night set in. Wayne arrived later and it was about 9pm when I decided to go to bed. Despite it being cold I had a pretty good sleep which is a bit strange. Normally I spend the night thinking about the start, food etc.
Morning came and the alarm goes off at 5am. After a coffee and breakfast I start getting everything ready for the race. It always seems to go so fast and not before long I’m lined up in the first group. No warm up as the roll along the road in the peloton does that.
The gun goes and we’re off. It’s amazing how fast you travel along here with what seems very little effort. My main aim is to stay out of trouble and get close to the front for the hard left heading towards the first climb. We hit the first climb and its Wayne, Michael and myself all in a row. As it starts to steepen riders are dismounting and walking. I can’t believe people position themselves up the front to then walk the first hill and some even walk where the best line is.
By the time I get to the top I’ve been dropped by Wayne and Michael which was no surprise but with my HR already in the high 180’s I couldn’t push any harder. It was time to settle down into a steady pace. It wasn’t long when Gazza passes me, I ride with him for a while but he passes a few riders just before a descent and before I know it he’s dropped me. Gazza’s really nailing the descents and sprinting up the pinches. I’m starting to think, WTF, with being dropped I feel like I’m going slow but my HR is high and my average speed is just above 24km/h so I just continue on. I ride through the first feed station and it’s not long and I’m back riding with Gazza.
I get to Sullivans where you turn right and start the technical riding. I’ve dropped Gazza but knowing he is strong on the techy stuff I knew I’d be seeing him again. Guess what happened next, Gazza catches me and we’re riding together again Smiling
I get to the 50km stop and ride through and start the climb. Gazza must have stopped as I couldn’t see him behind me now. As I start to climb the Ten Mile Hollow hill I spot Michael just a little bit up the hill. I didn’t think I’d see him again so I up the tempo and we climb the hill together. He tells me Dicko is one minute up the hill. Towards the top a go to push slightly harder and bang, my first cramp. This was not good because every time I’ve cramped here its been hell on the GNR and I’ve always ended up lying on the side of the road to the Womerah Range. We hit the GNR section and any time I have to get up a step up I’m cramping. First in my quads then my calves. By now I’m trying to eat and drink even more and I’m back to just spinning but the pace still seems ok. As we get off to walk up the big step ups I have to be careful as my cramps seem to be under control while I’m spinning. Michael over takes me here. I ended up catching him again and got a small gap to the Kayak bridge. Even with the cramps I was still going good and was only 2 minutes behind the splits I had for a 4.5hr finish.
Here I needed to stop for water. As I bend down to fill up my legs cramp again. This is not good. By now Michael has passed me and also what I didn’t notice was Gazza passed me here. I get myself together and walk the bridge. I’ve ridden this the past two years and both times I nearly went in so there was no way I was riding it this year. Walking it with cramps was a challenge in itself. I get to the road and just take this section easy trying to get more food and water down. This is when a group comes along and tells me to jump on but this wasn’t going to happen. What I did notice though, my other riding buddy Dave “doc” was in the group. I tried to up it and catch them but my legs weren’t behaving. We hit the Womerah climb and they were probably 100m ahead. From here I just kept trying to catch Dave but he would be approaching the tops of the pinches as I would be starting them. The good thing though was he wasn’t getting away and in actual fact I was slowly closing the gap.
I can’t remember exactly but I think I finally caught Dave as we enter Jacks track. Here you start descending but there are still some pinches before the final big mother of all descents. It was on one of the first descents on a corner where Dave runs wide and I take the inside line. I hear him say a few profanities and I take this opportunity to make a break. By now I’m running on empty because without knowing, I had lost one of my gels. As I’m trying to get a gap I spot Michael again. As I pass Michael at first I don’t say anything except “on your right”. I let him know Dave is not far behind me. We descend and make it to the road. It wasn’t long after when Dave catches back up. From here we keep pushing, get across that last creek crossing and roll across the finish together 5 seconds separating us. Gazza finished one minute ahead.
My time was 04:33:36 and 10th in my category. I’m so happy with how I went. It was also awesome because I was either riding with or chasing someone I knew.
A big thanks to Wayne, Anthony, Michael, Dave, Paul, Gazza (and the list goes on) who all keep each other motivated.
The Convict 100 was my first 100km I did in 2010 so its a good measure how I'm going. Below is how I’ve finished each year so my times are going in the right direction Smiling
2010 - 07:32:53 (239th in category)
2011 - 06:27:49 (106th in category)
2012 - 05:14:16 (40th in category)
2013 - 04:33:36 (10th in category)