Early Season Racing

The last weekend in Nepal there was an XC eliminator race as part of the Himalayan Outdoor festival.  Heats of 4 riders raced around a hilly 1.5 km loop for two laps, with the first 2 riders moving into the next round.  It was a great introduction to this sort of racing with lots of festival goers yelling as we filled our legs with lactic acid for 9 minutes at a time.  Having 60 more pounds then most of the Nepalese guys I had a unfair advantage on the power sections and took out the win.

Catching a plane to Australia the next day I got another dose of the Nepalese weight watchers program as another stomach bug hit.  The first 2hrs of the flight were horrid as I tried to keep things under control, holding back puke and other nasties.  Eventually I passed out, mostly due to the lack of being able to drink or eat.  The rest of the flight flew by and pretty soon I was at the Wisatas house on the Central Coast, home away from home for the next while.   That week I dipped back down below 155 lbs, 10 lbs less then normal at this tme of year.  Thank you Nepal!

Next up was racing the Rocky Trail Grand Prix series at Awaba state forest.  Over 300 riders showed up for the festivities and to race in either the 4 or 7 hr races.  Tarren and I headed up to take on the 4hr race which turned into 8 laps around the 9 km loop.  The course was typical to Australia with tons of flowing single track, which is all about cornering and carrying your speed over the smooth but often loose terrain.  This is much different then the trails on the west coast of Canada which are more about powering through tough sections and picking lines over wet roots and rocks.  Its taken a while to get use to the Aussie trails but I’m slowly adopting this sort of racing which is all about conserving energy and being smooth.

It was a great day at the races, Rocky Trail does a nice job of creating a fun atmosphere for everyone from begginners to pros alike.  My race went well for 3 hours and then the body started to meltdown.  This was unusual as I can typically hold this sort of race pace for 6hrs.  I had been fighting a virus from Nepal all week so I hope that is all it was.  Luckily building a big enough lead early on I could hang on for a 2 minute victory.  Huge thanks to Tarren for getting me out to the race and looking after the feedzone.

Training on the Central Coast the next week was great.  There’s a good trail network at Ourimbah state forest connected to a pile of fireroads which is perfect for the mountain bike.  The road riding is good as well with lots of options along the rocky coast line and up into the outback, a good place to get away from the traffic.  Martin and I had a few nice rides, Tarren showed me a beach or two for recovery and then it was off to Brisbane to meet up with Crocodile buddy Mark Frendo and his wife Bec to take on the Australian Marathon Champs at Mt Joyce.

This race I was fired up for and feeling great.  Not being in contention for the Aussie Champs Jersey I figured I’d lay all my cards down and go for it from the gun.  It’s typically not the smartest move but it would let me know where my fitness stood and would gurantee a hard day on the bike.  The legs were feeling great with Andy Blair and I going over the top of the first climb in the lead.  On the decent Andy took over the lead and I followed down the fast descent before coming to a drop off.  Not knowing the course I took the wrong line and endoed over the handlebars into the bush with my bars and stem twisting on the Kona King Kahuna It was a soft landing but it took a minute to re adjust the bike and soon I had dropped back to 7th.   From here I chased back up to 4th, road a lap with Peter Hatton, then had to stop a couple minutes to fix a small puncture once again dropping back to 7th.  From here things went down hill as the body once again had a good meltdown, this time about 2.5hrs into the race.  I would make it around the course, eventually coming in 6th, but waayy back from the leaders.  Overall it was a great race course, lots of climbing and 80% IMBA certified singletrack.  Andy Blair dominated it and had a great ride to take the win.  The guys over here are riding well at this time of year.  I’m not sure if its lack of form this early in the season, or if something is still lingering from Nepal but having these metldowns in these relatively short races isn’t something I’m use too.  For now I will focus on the fact the legs are feeling really strong for short periods of time and work on building off this positive in the coming weeks.  Once the meltdowns fade away it is going to be a great year on the bike!  Big thanks to Marks wife Bec, and his Dad for looking after us during the race and keeping us hydrated in the dry heat.

In a slight change of plans I will be staying with Mark and Bec in Brisbane for the week for some solid training in the ideal +28 degree weather.  This is a real treat for my Canadian blood and should provide a good boost to both the fitness and skin colour!

Up next is Round 3 of the Australian Marathon Series down in Melbourne this weekend at the Wombat 100 .

Leave a Reply