24 Hr Worlds

The days leading up to the 24 hr Worlds were pretty gongshowish as my buddy Jeff Collins (Kiwi) and I ran around Canberra picking up food etc for the race and setting up our Pit area out at race site. Prepping for a 24 hr race is a challenge in Canada, and that’s when we are able to load my truck with everything including a kitchen sink and drive 3 hrs to Canmore for the race. Making this happen half way around the World is another story. We had some help from the other Canadians down here, our home stay (Darro Stinson), and big help from the Kona boys who showed up with tents and mechanics.

Race day:

11:45 am- lemans start! I go from front row to a mid pack position over a 300 m run.
11:47am- On the bike, the legs feel unreal and I ride up to the lead group, look at the boys and then hammer away up the hill.

I was pretty nervous heading into the race as I had never been in a field of 400 riders and most of the Aussies seemed pretty serious. I figured the best way to deal with the emotions was to go on the offensive. This worked for the first 5 laps as the chase pack of 7 riders began to blow up one by one. The British national champ and a few of the top Australian’s bit on my attack and blew them selves up and essentially out of the race. The only problem was the defending champion, Jason English was one step ahead of me and hung back, not pitting at all, eventually catching me on the 6th lap still with good legs. Over the next few laps he would take 3 mins out of me a lap and soon had a 20 min lead.

I was riding hard but at the same time a little pre-occupied with all the crazy animals hopping around the course. One lap I came barrelling around a corner into a posse of 7 kangaroos, I almost wet my pants as I skidded out of control towards them. A little later I apparently just missed running over a black snake which slid out of the way just in time and then lunged at the British rider behind me. I was in zombie mode at the time and didn’t know anything had happened until talking to the Brit after the race. In the night a baby kangaroo (or wallaby?) lept onto the course just ft ahead of me and then back into the woods. He was a lucky little bastard as by that time in the night I was RUI (riding under the influence) of copius amounts of caffeine, adrenaline and over exerction and wouldn’t have the reflex’s to avoid him.

Going into the night things were rolling smoothly with Jeff keeping things together in the pit and the legs still pushing over. On lap 13 the gongshows began as I double flatted, had co2’s blow up, ran out of tubes etc… 20 minutes later I got air back in my tires and made it back to pit row where I was now sitting in 4 th position.

For the next 10 hrs I had an epic battle going between 2 Aussies (Andy and Scott) for 2nd position. Jason kept his lead and managed to pull off a successful defense of his 2009 title. The guy is a true champ and deserved the win as he out witted us all with his yrs of 24hr experience. I’m not sure if he was the fittest guy in the race but he was the most focused and best prepared rider there.

The 3 of us battling for 3rd couldn’t gap each other and by the last couple laps we were working our way back up to a xc race pace. This was retarded to be riding this hard after 22 hrs on the bikes but we were all stubborn like a bunch of mexican mules. With 3 laps to go Andy made a move and gained 5 minutes on us. I was suffering like a guy who had been on his bike for 22hrs but I figured Andy would have to slow down at some point and that maybe just maybe there was a little bit of adrenaline left in the tank to fuel another quick lap.

Lucky for me there was a few drops of adrenaline left which surged me through the last lap, passing Andy mid way, and into a 2nd place finish! At the finish line the adrenaline switched off and I went from feeling invincible to a 85 yr old man with arthritis in about 15 minutes.

The post race party/ awards ceremony down at the university was about as exciting as a layover at an aiprort. By 10pm the place was cleared out with just the crazy single speeder dudes hanging around. Those guys are a different breed.

The day after the race was a right off. I fell down a set of stairs and then decided to sit still for the rest of the day to prevent any further mishaps. The day after that Jeff and I forced ourselves to get organized and head over to Sydney as he had to catch a flight back to New Zealand. Huge Thank You Jeff for taking the time and effort to come over and support me for 24!
A 24hr race is a team event as it is the Pit crews which keep us riders going through the night and I had some of the best help there. Big thanks to my Dads friend Darro Stinson for giving Jeff and I a place to stay for the week and loaning us a car, Ben (kona rep), Team Canada (Erin and Kelly you guys were great, Kate Scallion, Leighton for the calming influence and everybody else that kept things rolling for me!

I was to follow Jeff over to NZL today for a tour of the North Island but after the 24 race was over I received an invite to race in the 10 day Crocodile Trophy through Australians Northern Outback. Probably not the best idea but how do you pass up on 10 days of ripping around with some of the fastest euros on the planet through crocodile and kangaroo infested landscapes. Not to mention a trip to the Great Barrier reef afterwards? Some days I wish I knew how to say no. Sorry body, I promise you a proper rest either when you quit working during the Croc Trophy or once the last day is over. Sorry bike but you will be ignored for a long time after this one is over.
Off to be a City slicker and check out some Opera house.

2 Comments on “24 Hr Worlds”

  • Squamish Dude October 15th, 2010 4:48 am

    You are one inspiring dude, keep it pinned in the Croc…see you after for some white russians on the beach!!!!!

  • Shaun Taylor October 19th, 2010 12:32 pm

    I don't know which is better, you racing ability or your ability to make me laugh!

    Kick some at the Croc.

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