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Down but not out in Wollombi


Antsonline's picture

By Antsonline - Posted on 04 September 2012

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.
Re: This ride meeting: 
Wollombi Wild Ride 2012
Team: 
Jet Racing
Status: 
Finished
Position (Overall): 
25
Race Category: 
75km Male Elite
Position (Category): 
17

Wollombi Wild Ride - I had no idea what to expect. Looking back on it, I don't really know what to think.
I havent bothered to check the results, I don't know where I came. I have listed myself as 30th - but it could have been a bit better, or a bit worse. Its irrelevant frankly.

Having been away home for the Olympics, I always knew I would be missing a bit of something. What it was, I couldn't tell you.
Having returned from my trip, I did all the usual things - I did a fitness test to asses my threshold power (which was somewhere around 400watts), I got on the scales to check my weight (it was a bit up, but manageable) and I started training with purpose again.

I had been getting the sessions done, but hadnt done any really long rides. It was actually something I had considered, given the fact that I had thought the race would be a fast cruise, on wheels, with a few dirty big climbs thrown in.

The Friday of the race, I turned up, registered, and discussed water bottles with the organiser. He explained that there actually would be the opportunity for the Elite to have bottles out on the course for collection. I was over joyed. I labelled by bottles, left them with him and went back to the hotel.
Race day came, and it was cold and foggy. The car said 0 degrees. It was clear the sun would come out and burn off the fog, so it was a jersey and shorts race (what isnt in Australia!).

Again - it being the series - lots of very good riders turned up. Blairy, Trent Day, Flemo, Shaun Lewis, James Downing, Troy Glennan, Jason English, Adrian Jackson.....
We all knew that there was a climb in the first 10km that was somewhat similar to the Convict 100km climb. The race would heavily affected by how you went up-hill.

The start proceedure was unusual, but it didn't affect anyone. The first 2km was on a dirtroad. I found myself on the front, pushing the pace on - thinking "wow - I don't feel so badf"....
We went through some paddocks, got to a gate that hadnt been opened for us (interesting!) and then into some more grassy fields.
I was still on the front, keeping the field drawn out in a line.
As we came out of the field, we hit some dirt roads, and the attacks came thick and fast. It was clear that people were fighting for position into the first climb. Blairy went, then Shaun, then Troy, then Justin Morris - everyone had a dig. Ultimately, we were all breathing a bit harder, but were still all together at the bottom of the climb.
We had no idea what to expect, so it was ridden blind.

As soon as it tilted up, Blairy and Trent hit the front. I found myself in about 5th place. The two were moving away from us, so I rode around the guys I was with (I think it was Shaun and Justin) and focused on keeping the two leaders within reach. As we crested the top of the first part of the climb, I could see the two leaders. They werent far. I checked my shoulder, expecting the rest of the race to be there, but there was noone. I couldn't believe it. I had ridden away from the race. Very odd.
It went to show that my power test results, and then recent weight loss had worked out well - my speed and strength had been un-harmed by trip abroad.

I pushed on, joined by another chap - whom I had never raced with before. He was a lean climber. The road turned up again. It just went up and up. Incredible. A very big climb.
Ultimately, I was joined at the front by Adrian Jackson, and he and I crested in 3rd and 4th place. There was noone behind us for a while.

We rolled along, not really chatting, but just deciding what to do. Finally, we were joined by the Roackstars (Glennan, Fleming, Lewis) and Jason English, James, Justin, and few others.
Going into the race, according to the series standings, the only results the Rockstars had to avoid was Andy Blair winning. If that could be done, then the series was wrapped up and Shaun would win - regardless of the Highland Fling results.
As such, I expected a really strong team effort from Rockstar.

It never really materialised. They did try. Troy was reallypulling very well. Shaun was protecting his legs at the back a bit, and Flemo was doing what he could with some early long turns.

As I rode, I thought "oh, this is great, I am climbing better than everyone here, I feel good - I'll get a result here". I pushed on.
I finished my bottle, and waited for the coming bottle table to get my next drink.
It wasn't there. It might have been there somewhere, but noone (none of the Elite field) saw it.
Dry, and thirsty.

We pressed on. I was getting a bit upset at the negative racing in the bunch. As I saw it, there were two guys up the road, and with the groupof 8 of us, we should easily catch them. It seemed most of the group were happy to race for 3rd place - instead of really pushing on to catch the front.
Just as I was getting annoyed, something very strange happened. It hasn't happened in ages.
My legs just stopped. Like you had dropped a piano on my back. They just slowed right down. I went from being one of the strongest in the front bunch to being dropped out of the arse within 2km. Incredible.
I have to admit to having a little chuckle to myself.

There was nothing I could do, I had no water either. I waited for the next group to catch me and I rode with them (it was Flemo and Adrian - who had both been dropped earlier). I stayed with them for 3km, then I got dropped again!
Next group - Gavin 'SupaGav' Burland, and Daniel McDonald. I rode with them. Then I got dropped by them too.

In the end, I thought "oh - Jenny (Fay) is gonna be through soon, I'll just wait for her". Jenny is my closest friend, training partner, and general 'on-sider'. I havent raced with her since we rode the Dirtworks in 2009 together. She was a different rider back then.
I have to say, it was a pleasure to ride with her for the rest of the race. We splashed through some creek crossings, had a quick chat, and then just rode on. It got me to the finish to be honest.
There is a rule I have though, so being the gentleman that I am, I pushed the last km to ensure she still has never beaten me!! One day - she's gonna roll me. I know it.

So - that was the Wollombi Wild Ride. I just ran out of legs! To be honest, I am delighted with how I felt on the first climb, in the first hour of the race, and with my bike.
Despite it being 'fireroad' - there was no doubt that riding a dual supsension bike was faster - as long as it was efficient. My S-Works Epic 29er weighed in at 9.7kg for the race (its an XL!!) and the Brain ensured it never bobbed once.
The results will show a '30th' or something. It will be my worst finishing position of the last few years. By a long way.
Outside of the result though, I saw a good few things that had me very excited. Pleased with my form, and my equipment.
It time to go away now and do some long, hard, training miles. Drop a couple of KeG's, get a few more Watts on the power.

For those that are interested, the racing calendar for me (and the rest of the Jet Racing team) will now be King of Kincumber (22nd Sept), The Scott, The Whaka 100 (a little trip to Rotorua for NZ's finest 100km marathon), the State XC Champs, and then the Fling.

The Highland Fling was always going to be the series decider, and it looks like a fair few will be there, with their best legs.
I cant wait.

Supagav's picture

Sounds like you are in good spirits and looking forward to a couple of big races towards the end of the year.
I'm still a bit scared of the fling to be honest. I'm just hoping to hold the right wheels for the first 30km then see what happens
(like your wheel).
see on the road.

Dicko's picture

Ant

At least you got a decent training ride from the day out and some decent scenery to boot. you will be right by the time the fling comes around, and all that single track in the whaka 100 will have your legs strong.

Well done to the rest of the Jet Racing Team in the half - great result 1,2,3 placings.

W

Brian's picture

Hey Anthony, you do realize there was only 5 seconds between you and Jenny. I'm not sure how close you were when you crossed the line but not being a gun start that was cutting it fine Eye-wink

Antsonline's picture

An inch is as good as a mile Brian. As long as I take the 'win' I can still retain my "unbeaten" status.......which is worth a lot - trust me Eye-wink

Pete B's picture

Another great report, Ant.

At least you can smile about your result. Did you find out what happened to your bottle?

Antsonline's picture

The bottles went to the great bottle gods in the sky I assume.

It seems like a very small thing, but it does shit me a little. Mark @ Jet is trying to run a team. For that, we use team bottles.
For the last two races, bottles have just gone.

Husky - they couldnt be bothered to return them..
Wollombi - they just never appeared (last spotted taking a wrong turn on a dirt-road I suspect).

I now have to go back to Mark at Jet, and ask for more bottles. Stock from the floor that he has bought, that someone else cant buy. Sure - its not a lot of money, but its so wasteful.

Fatboy's picture

Always enjoy your post event writeups @antsonline.

@dicko - didn't notice your name anywhere. Have gotten used to watching you on the first page of results.

Dicko's picture

Hey craig

I am out for the last 2 events of he series, holidays and a mates 40th for the fling, so my serie s is based n my forst 4 results which werent too bad.

Will work on some of the shorter stuff now, scott, sram singletrack mind and state xc.

Need to catchup for a ride oneday - i havent caught up with you all year.

W

Fatboy's picture

@dicko, yeh I've been AWOL. Chest infection end of May turned into something worse. Last Saturday got my bike out of the garage for first time since then & did a light 2hrs on a cycleway near home. Felt like 3 years off the bike not 3 months .... I'll try again this weekend and see if I can start to build up for Fling. Time looks tight though.

GAZZA's picture

Jet Racing dominating the podium on the 45km is good for team exposure.
Looking forward to seeing how Gaz goes at The Wakka?
I've done a 50km race over there before and it felt like 100!
I recon he'll be blowing( and swearing ) by the end?
As for your bottle drama. I'm not too impressed with the effort put into the organization and support of this race. It seemed like the organizers had been happy to take our cash without putting much back into the event. Very poor course markings and hardly any caution signs where they were needed most.
No goody bag at rego and no food at water stops.
For a 75km race I didn't really see good value for money.
Don't know what went wrong with my legs either but my race ended with a DNF!
I've decided to punish myself for that by entering the next Choc Foot as a solo entry. All this Cyclocross and XC racing is obviously not doing my Marathon racing any good at all!

Brian's picture

I've never really though any of the organisers have a good goody bag. I actually like the shirt they included in the entry.

My legs were hammered after this race. I stopped on the way home for more food and nearly fell over getting out of the car as my legs cramped big time. I think it's because there wasn't any real rest with nothing technical needing you to back off etc.

The Wollombi was good for my series getting me 30 extra points overall which might prove critical in the end.

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