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The dreaded lurgy strikes

sikllama's picture

By sikllama - Posted on 28 April 2014

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.
Re: This ride meeting: 
Shimano MTB GP - Round 2
Position (Overall): 
Position (Category): 

Was really looking forward to this, my first real race, having built up some fitness and skills over the last 18 months. Unfortunately 'he who never gets sick' started feeling lethargic and sore in the days leading up to ANZAC day - an ominous sign.

We arrived at James Estate Winery just after lunchtime on Friday. What a stunning place for a winery let alone a MTB race - surrounded by the rock escarpments of nearby national parks.

After setting up the campsite I went out for a lap of the track to find out what I'd signed up for. First impressions were great - loved the singletrack with its flowy berms, dropoffs and rocky technical bits. A and B lines existed for the more demanding sections which I took a good look at. The firetrail/dirt road sections were a chance for a breather and the climbs weren't too taxing. My GPS registered a 10.8km lap with just over 200m climbing.

In the evening we had dinner and I didn't have much of an appetite. Got an early night and a restless sleep. Morning dawned and I was like Lance at a Dr Ferrari handout, looking for anything that would perk me up. Luckily we had bought the contents of a small pharmacy with us as the wife was a little sick as well. With 30 mins to go before race start I was beginning to feel half human again and so decided to go ahead and take my place at the start line.

Enjoyed some pre race banter before off we went along the firetrail start and then hit the slow moving conga line into the singletrack section 2kms down the road. One guy got off his bike and started running alongside the narrow trail passing a few of us but really it was in vain as 10m further along the conga line would stop again as someone dabbed a foot etc. The field managed to spread out enough after another 5 mins and I found some flow - I was feeling 'ok', not great during this section. There were about 4 of us in a group going about the same pace and the lead guy had a moment and went OTB on a log rollover. We checked he was ok, he bounced back up and quickly got moving again, only to do exactly the same thing around the next corner on the 'A' line rock dropoff. Again he was ok but I didn't see him for the rest of the race. I was thankful for doing the reco lap the day before - techy bits I was a little tentative with yesterday I handled fairly easily during the race.

The sinlgetrack obviously took it out of me however as coming onto the vineyard section I just had no power along the flat / uphill sections. Through the event centre after lap 1 and Martin's doof doof music selection made me feel like I was back on a contiki tour - picked up a gel and another drink bottle and off for lap 2. By this time I was pretty much on my own and, whilst not in the hurt box, I felt way down on my best. I was thankful for the cool start to the morning as I winded through the singletrack with Edwin Starr's 'War' in my head. The track was wet in a few places but generally holding up well - the trail fairies doing in race repairs when needed - well done! The race leaders came flying by half way round this lap and I must say they (and all the others who passed me during the day) were very polite. Some were a little more 'to the point' than others but always passed safely - good to see after some of the things I'd heard about races.

Coming through transition at the end of the lap I stopped for a quick chat to my wife who wanted to make sure I wasn't hallucinating Smiling. The drugs had started to wear off but didnt feel like taking anything else. I was sticking to my nutrition plan so wasnt dehydrated but I didn't feel like eating anything either. Nonetheless I forced down another gel and a Tim Tam and headed back out. Lap 3 went by pretty much the same as previous lap - I did join a small group of riders through the singletrack and found that I was keeping up on the technical sections but again, the flats and uphills were letting me down so I lost them in the last third of the lap.

Was good to have a quick chat with @Fatboy towards the end of the lap - he looked pretty fresh and zoomed ahead up the grassy hill, which had been mowed to create a snakelike trail free of the dreaded 'cathead' spikes. You reckon you had bindii's in your backyard as a kid? Nothing like these things they were lethal.

Physically I had one more lap in me before I was likely to make a painful mistake and crash. As soon as my body told my mind that - it was a done deal. I stopped for a good 15 mins at the end of lap 3 to take stock, force down more food and clean the drivetrain then I was off for what really was a casual lap. I passed 'fluro sock wearing' girl by taking advantage of one of her mid lap breaks so I didn't feel her wrath. Crossing the line in just under 4 hours was I tempted to go out for another lap? Not really as I knew I was way down the order - in the end another lap would have gained me 5 places in my category and 7 overall.

So not exactly a memorable performance but got to experience a well run Rocky Trail event at an awesome venue - Graeme really has done a great job with the trails. The grassy sections in the leadin to the transition area got a bit muddy and ugly throughout the day but thats a minor detail, and it was great riding through the winery vats! The bike was rock solid again no probs at all.

I have entered the 50km Convict this weekend (paid for weeks ago) - so may be looking to sell/transfer that entry depending on how the lurgy progresses.

jp's picture

Nice writeup Rob, and tough going when you're not well. Hope you recover in time for Saturday.

sikllama's picture

Thx Jon - hoping to be there, feeling better this week but not 100% yet. All the best for the race - you'll kill it...

pancakes's picture

Well done just for starting let alone finishing. Had the lurgy recently and riding was the last thing on my mind. Nice write up, too.

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