Back at the site of the first cancelled race, a familiar chain of events began. We arrived, early, with threatening clouds in the distance and a rainy night before, but the sun out and shinning. Just like last time, the sun was overtaken by clouds and the rain started falling. Everyone thought that they would cancel the event again, but, after a half hour postponement, we would begin.
No one was excited. No one was smiling at the slippery tracks that lay ahead and mud that would cake onto the wheels and frames of our bikes. No one, except me.
For the short race recap, check out my youtube video here
I don’t know what it is, but I love riding in mud and sand. I like to practice in sand, knowing that my bike will be unpredictable and that I need to respond with the changes, without over correcting, but just going with the bike. I think too many people were trying to control their bikes too forcibly, and they ended up in a lot of trouble. That’s not to say I didn’t lose control, but I never came off the bike, just spun out, but managed to save it and stay upright.
A lot of people quit this race after the first lap. That was the not the way to go, in my opinion. That first lap was the hardest, it was the muddiest, the most dangerous for those heading out at full speed and those uncomfortable or new with handling their bikes and may not have had much experience on different trail conditions. The second lap, which I headed straight into, was much more compact, a bit drier and I shaved 10 minutes off my lap time! That little bit of sunshine when the rain stopped had done wonders. I was still covered in mud and had mud caked into my tyres so badly that I spun up all the hills like I was on a roadie, but the trail was much nicer to ride, far less slippery. To illustrate that, Rex went out on the 3rd lap (for his first) and came back without any dirt on him! It’s like he didn’t even go riding! We both got another lap in each before the 4 hours was up, so 60km of single track ridden between us.
In the end, it was a really great race. We both enjoyed riding it, I lost control a couple of times when I was pushing the envelope a bit and was getting a little cocky (mostly on my last lap!), but it was thoroughly enjoyable. I think I managed my hydration well for this race, and considering I have a 7 hour endurance race here in a month or so, I’m stoked I have that set! Now, I need to work on food. When you were once obese, it’s difficult to convince yourself you need to eat high energy foods during sporting events, well, it is for me. I look at these things and feel as if they are unnecessary and will somehow magically make me gain back all the weight I had once lost. But, as athletes, putting ourselves through so much, pushing ourselves so hard, we need to fuel our bodies appropriately. We need to replenish the energy we are burning through, or our bodies will fade, and we’ll hate the experience. I’ve been trying to work on this, but this race, though I didn’t feel super fatigued, I know I wasn’t refueling as well as I could be. With the appropriate choices (i.e. not just super sugar filled “energy” bars or gels, more wholesome foods), I will be able to keep my energy levels up, without putting the wrong kinds of things into my body, and paying for it later.
Thanks again to Rex for riding and supporting me on this race, to my local bike store, TBSM, for the marquee and the lovely Glenda and Hunter coming out to show their support, and to my sponsors, Roxcycl Australia, without whom I may never have decided to challenge myself so hard in 2015.
Check out the calendars to see what races I’m up to next, why not come and join me on one? Happy trails!