Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dwellingup MTB La Grande 40k 2010 Race Report

i survived.  the mtb survived.  and i have my finishers medal.  it was a HUGE amount of fun but not just slightly painful.  it was very painful.  but in that good way.  it is the hardest thing i have done to date. and i truly loved every moment.  am i converting to mtb racing ? no - but i will be back next year.

i read quite a few race reports and alot of people go into the what i ate and when i pooped detail.  lets just say i had an easy day friday but didnt take things too seriously.  had a great 1500m swim time trial in the morning workout.  chilled out and was up early saturday.  dwellingup is a 90 minute drive away.  i had organised all the gear for emergencies and the days requirements the night before. 

Dwellingup Oval
the 100k race was due to start 30minutes prior to the 40k.  they would do the 40k loop before coming back to the oval and past their special needs drop off before heading out on a final 60k loop.  they had three cut off times that they had to meet. 

Start of the 100k Classic



The Tail End of the 100k Competitors

all i knew was that i wanted to finish the course and without hurting myself.  they tell you to self seed for the start and therefore if you are a beginner do not start up front.  this becomes an issue when everyone hits the single track.  so i was up the back.  we did one lap of the oval before hitting the road.  then after about 1k we hit the tracks.  the course was designed and put together by four guys who are mtb lunatics.  they actually cleared some track and this was evident.  they were also called many names by competitors throughout out the day.  sadistic was the common thread.  the course was brilliant.  i have nothing to compare it to but it had everything.  if you were not climbing then you were going downhill and that was no easy thing.  some sections i cannot imagine anyone riding it on the bike.  mountain biking is a whole other skill level  and i was reminded throughout the day.  what got me to the finish was a decent level of fitness and maybe the years as a kid riding a bike. 

the first really tough part was big bertha.  a massive hill which apparently the elites would have ridden straight up.  for most it was a chance to meet people.

Going up.
Looking back down Big Bertha.
i took a camera along for the journey.  it was a cheapy i bought and it was fun taking the time out to try and record the event.  some folks had cameras attached to top of their helmets.  that would be great vision.

the first sections were mainly fire track and gravel.  gravel going up hill and gravel going downhill.  some tracks had these big rocks jutting out and it wasnt until the last moment that you would spot them.  if you hit a big one at speed you would probably take a trip over the handle bars.  i had my camelbak with about 1.5 litres of water and two shotz dissolved.  i had the usual repair and first aid kits.  i also had 750ml of water with a gel mixed in.  i then had another two gels and two energy bars.  i consumed all but one energy bar.  i should have eaten that as well. 

Murray River Crossing
last year this was flooded and they had to alter the course.  after this we headed into the more technical part of the course.  and naturally it began with another hill.

slow and steady

Back to pushing.

the next part of the course had a sign saying w.o.t.  this meant wide open throttle.  for the experienced mountain biker maybe.  for me it meant concentration and hard work.  while the hills were not like big bertha it was all single  track that was up and down with twists and turns.  you would be confronted by two trees only just far enough apart for the bike to fit but you would have to navigate this on a turning and bumpy trail.  i came off.  the bike just came out from under me and i landed on my side.  my one and only time but it took some skin off the knee and i think i banged the ankle and bruised a finger.  the funny part was my hair got caught in the zipper of my camelbak and some guy had to rescue me.  i saw images of me having to hack my hair off.  shortly after this i hit a tree smack dead in the middle.  i wasnt going too fast but it was funny.  i had a major attack of the giggles.  what else could you do.  so while you were glad the killer hills were gone this was so hard.  up and down, round and back.  i didnt clip in once.  too fucking dangerous and not worth the minor gains.  this was also the most beautiful part of the course.


Easy Part

another up and down.


Just a beautiful spot.
i didnt get any photos of the really technical parts.  it was just too hard and i had to concentrate.  after we got out of the w.o.t section we figured we would get a break.  there were no breaks.  it was straight back into more fire trails that were up and down more hills and then some technical single track thrown in.  i stopped at one point to eat and have a chat with fellow competitors.  we all agreed the course creators were sadistic and the event should have been called the 40k mtb push. we then had some downhill gravel which is still tough work as it had course changes at the bottom of the hill and you could not go open throttle or you would fly past the turn off or come to a nasty stop. 

straight up a muddy climb
i didnt see anyone ride this steep but short hill.  by now we figured there would be no more tough stuff and it would be an easy last 7-8k home.  fools.  we did have one section on the road and downhill with serious speed but that was the one and only bitumen adventure.  back on the track and i realised that it seemed familiar. it was part of the track that i had ridden on my scouting trip.  then a sign said killer kenny.  bastards.  another hill that was like big bertha but not straight.  it turned and turned and turned again.  at this point i was pushing the bike and talking to a fellow competitor.  a guy who was pushing a very expensive bike and there i was with my trusty cheapy.  who by the way was shaking with every bump and felt like the shocky suspension things had failed.  by now my legs were knackered.  my back hurt and i was very tired.  i did not know if i could face another climb.  there was some more technical stuff and then we popped out on the road.  i took off from the dude with the expensive bike.   the road was nice but it was (naturally) up hill and into a head wind.  being in the scrub all day you do not feel the wind.  i knew from garmin it was another 1.5k to go.  i could see a guy up ahead and just kept working my way.  i passed him and then i could hear the loud speakers from the oval.  i was going to make it.  i was starting to feel a little emotional.  it was a moment to cross that finish line.  i managed to go hand in my timer and collect my finishers medal - along with a couple of bananas and some lollies.  i was officially rooted. 

so the result.  total time 3.34.22.  this is quite quick for me as i never stopped the clock and took time out to eat.  Overall 251/328.  Gender 35/48. AG 12/17.  i did finish 30 minutes (or an hour as they started 30 minutes before us) before the winner of the 100k event came home.  he took an easy 4.08.48 to complete the 100k course.  i cannot get my head around this.  the fastest 40k was 1.42.33.  fucking unbelieveable. 
then i drove home and decided the sore body needed this -

Epsom salts and a lush bomb.
once having soaked and relaxed i also determined that the body needed this to recover.  i had burned 2000 calories so i felt a little peckish.  i have not eaten fettucine carbonara in over 12 months.  i only used light cream and light parmesan.  and it was still friggin awesome.  and yes kym - that is a turkish delight and i ate that in about three bites.  it is a glass of wine in the bath shot.  in bed and asleep by 8.30 pm. 



as i write this just about every muscle aches.  it feels like i pulled the muscle that runs along your spine.  my knee is okay, my ankle has a good shiner, my arms hurt and shoulder is stiff and the finger has a good black colour starting to appear.  i feel great.  i am so glad i did this.  it is the hardest thing to date.  in comparison triathlons are easy.  i will do it again.  it will cost me as my bike will not survive the pounding.  for anyone wanting to up their fitness and bike skills then mountain biking has it.  amazing sport and i am happy to have survived it so far.  and i cannot forget to include the course as brought to you by garmin -   

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