Friday, 17 April 2015

Wylde Encounters

No snakes or wallabies, but loads of pinches made for a tough outing on a 7hr format.  Sydney’s own XC track is a breath of fresh air for those of us who are accustomed to travelling further afield for XC fun.  Whist the track is good, it's quite unlike any of the other courses around. 

“What are all those lumps in there for?”, queried an exhausted Cory at the finish.  I find myself in agreement.  Whilst the designers have got a lot of stuff right, perhaps their worst offence was overpopulating the track with rollers that interrupted flow, detracting a little from lumps that gravity allows one to have fun with.  There is already a deceptive amount of climbing in the 12 km loop, and the additional lumps just exacerbate the pinch-climbiness of what is otherwise good singletrack.  So much singletrack, in fact, that eating and passing (even post haircut) were sometimes challenging.  Eating especially. 

On a personal note I didn’t have the best of outings (5th in Masters, and approx. 15th solo outright), so far from the pointy end that for the first time in a 7hr race I got lapped by the top two Masters category place getters (hats off Jason and Jamie) in what was a pretty stacked field.  I think the 3peaks form has finally waned. 

My saddlebag slipped to the back wheel early in the affair, and then I burnt a little too hot (on a warm morning) working my way back through the field.  Drinking was restricted to the short but lumpy fenceline section, and the horrible paddock stretch of pit lane itself.  During the race I consumed half a banana and some slices of watermelon, but had absolutely no appetite for gels, so ended up consuming none.  I was still getting through a small bottle a lap, but in hindsight not taking on enough in the carb department. 

But the bike of choice for the day was terrific – first race outing for the 26er Anthem in 2 years.  So much easier to pilot than the 29er hardtail on the twist and pump segments.  It was a nice day, the vibe was friendly, and there were other Soggies out on course to rub shoulders with.  At various kiss points I could see Anita and Ham gradually running me down, and by half distance Anita passed easy as you like.  She and Ham just missed the podium in the Mixed Pairs.  And Mikey had his first 7hr solo experience, which unfortunately coincided with battling a leaky tire for a couple of laps.  7hr events are tough enough without having to deal with mechanical issues, something I’ve luckily avoided thus far.  Well done Mikey, Ham and Mudge!

On the whole a pleasant day in the woods (creak, groan), so much so that I suspect that we’ll all front up again for the next 7hr Choc Foot outing at Wingello come the end of June.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Soggies at the Mont

All round probably the best outing the Soggies have had at the Mont for several reasons;

Perhaps most importantly, no one came a cropper.  No major biffs, grazes, tears, pressure bandages or trips to the medical tent or hospital, even on a course littered with body parts and zombies.  No industrial action.  And everyone who desired one got a hot shower.

We celebrated Sara's birthday.  Giles, on top of cracking out 6 laps with his reappearing twin, whipped up a bonza cake that was something to behold.  Moira, on top of being all over the lap board, distributed stars and the best party packs ever.

Great course and weather.  19 km of fast track with multiple hucking opportunities.  Clear but cold night rounded out by a morning mega fog so thick bikes became spray-painted in matt-finish ACT talc.  This (the talc also) kept the sun at bay for most of the morning too.

And, as a consequence of some strategic team shuffling, we came away with a category win.  Granted, it was a foolish proclamation 3 hrs in that "we got this", because a lot can go wrong and often does, but we managed to keep a lid on it.  

Not to say there weren't a few nervous moments.  Ham had some night-time meanderings off piste.  Nicky finished a dawn lap almost blinded by goggle condensation.  Anita had to wrestle the old stick-in-the-wheel trick, but managed to extract it without breaking spokes, or the new 1*11 drivetrain she was rocking.  My worn-out fork (gouged stanchion and leaking oil) was offset by brand new wheels – the first MTB wheels I’ve built myself.  Hence, tempting fate at both extremes; employing clapped-out gear plus new stuff I hadn’t rumbled in practice etc.

Jeremy and Frazer look keen to swap the kids races for the real thing, perhaps inspired by Mikey posting some seriously fast splits (including our quickest collective lap).  Unfortunately for them, this being a reality is still some Monts away.  Apparently they fell asleep soon after departure, as did I, always a sign of an excellent weekend, although it did make for a challenging drive home.  Thanks all for making it so fun. Shame we have to wait another year for the next episode.