After the first race of the series was disappointingly cancelled 5 minutes before it started due to rain, I was even more nervous for the second round. I wasn’t sure what distance each lap would be, nor was I sure of how difficult the terrain would be. I took comfort in the fact that it wouldn’t be completely impossible for me, as I have some level of skill and they wouldn’t chose a terribly difficult terrain for an endurance event. Don’t get me wrong, a little smattering of technical parts, with A lines for the more skilled, but some nice flowing sections too. Thankfully that was the case! Rex volunteered to start first, which I was incredibly thankful for. I feel a little tentative about starting with the pack when so many are heading out – but I intend to work on that and improve my comfort for starting with the pack.
For the short race recap, check out my youtube video here.
For some great action shots, including yours truly, check here.
I sat about, waiting, anxiously, for Rex, guessing how long a lap might take him. The course brought riders back towards base camp before heading out for another 5-10mins of singletrack, so you get a great warning when your buddy rides past. A high five and I was away, smashing my way through the course, feeling the pressure from people appearing behind me, and having no idea what was coming around the next corner! Completely new obstacles were a fantastic surprise, and stem chewing fire trail climbs, allowing the fast to get past, and all of us to sky rocket our heart rates. I attempted to be consistent, to be conservative in my ride, as I wanted to have enough energy to continue the rest of the laps.
One obstacle stumped me. A steep, rocky, uphill climb. I love rock gardens, I find them so challenging and confronting. I needed more confidence for this section, as well as more strength and fitness to maintain appropriate momentum for the climb. I balked at it the first time, and then each subsequent lap I decided that running up it was going to be quicker than trying to ride up it. A good lesson for the next race – practice the loop first, preferably with enough time to work out the best way to attack obstacles, or to get around them if running is going to be more efficient for me.
I had about half an hour rest between laps, we had a marquee for shade, and a camp bed to rest upon, and that was a winner. I felt that I recovered well, I ate, not excessively, but had a mix of gels, vegies (carrot, celery, some apples), and a delicious creamy chicken dish that despite how delicious it was, cream was not a good choice.
I was happy with my laps. I was getting quicker by a minute each lap. I was also getting dehydrated, with sharp headaches developing towards the end of each lap, and needing to drink a whole lot more water than I had prepared for. Thankfully, the rural fire brigade had set up a bbq and had plenty of cold water to buy, a wonderful respite.
So many lessons learnt, and as I have said before – got to be in it to win it! We were in it, we got 2nd place in the mixed pairs, as there was only one other mixed pair to compete against. A faux placing, but still placing ahead of the couch!
Thanks to Rex for riding and supporting me on this race, to my local bike store, TBSM, for the marquee and some very comfy knicks, and to my sponsors, Roxcycl Australia, without whom I may never have decided to challenge myself so hard in 2015.
The final WSMTB 4 hour, round 3, is on at Wydle mountain bike trail, a gorgeous mountain bike park, on the 22nd of Feb – come along, I’ll be riding in pairs again, but my aim is to increase my laps by riding doubles.