22 08 2010

Riding a 10 hour race two weeks after doing the Sydney 12 hour sounded like a good idea at the time I signed up for them. In practice, it takes a lot out of you. Especially since I have been sick with a cold twice in the last 2 weeks.

Never the less, I fronted the line at the VVC coughing and spluttering but pretty excited to be finally doing a VVC race. Fronting the line for a VVC race is an experience in itself. Not content with the traditional Le Mans start, the VVC adds a twist by requiring that you run with your front wheel which you then have to mount at the end of the run before you can start riding. To put a further twist on the technicalities of fitting a wheel while hurting from a sprint in cycling shoes, Dreggsy and Scott decided they would apply rubber bands to everyones rear brake levers so that the brakes were jammed on as people tried to run with their bikes to the mounting point. Many puzzled riders were examining their rear wheels and brakes trying to figure out what was going on as the boys laughed themselves silly from the sidelines.

I managed to stay with Danbot during the run leg and thanks to some superior QR lever prowess, left transition before him. I would like to say it was due to much diligent practice fitting front wheels in simulated race conditions during ‘training’ for this event, however that would be a lie and you would all know it. Luck was just on my side.

I was second rider out on the trail, following closely behind Fezi who was riding in the teams category and we smashed out the first lap, I stayed in contact as long as I could, but to be honest, I was struggling a little on ‘bacon’ and couldn’t quite find the pace I needed to stay with him.

At the end of the first lap, I transitioned off ‘bacon’ and back onto the anthem (the anthem has bolt up skewers and would have been a liability at the novelty start). Initially, the anthem felt extremely odd, but after 5 minutes, I started to get my groove on and picked up the pace. I caught Fezi and his team mates and stuck with them for a couple of laps before they began to tire and I decided to go it alone off the front.

I caught a glimpse of Danbot as we crossed paths at the bottom of the downhill track and figured I had around 5 minutes lead on him. In hindsight, it was probably more than that but calculations while riding were not part of the HSC curriculum and consequentially, I suck at it.

I continued to push the pace hard through to lap 10 or so. I knew I was going faster than I should have been, but I was enjoying the trail and wanted to see how long I could keep it up. It lasted until dark. As the sun went down, the suffering really started in earnest and it became apparent that I didn’t have a great deal of fuel in the tank, so I switched to survival mode.

My mental game just wasn’t there in this race. I was having some horrible dark brooding thoughts. Sinking deeper and deeper into my suffering and really struggling to find any form of motivation or enjoyment from the night laps. The ever present fear that Danbot would surely catch me at any minute had been eating away at me for 5-6 hours at this time and intensified every time I saw a set of lights behind me. Then I would realise it was just the lights of the person I had passed 5 minutes ago and wasn’t a catching rider. This went on for the rest of the race as my lap times fell apart and I was reduced to a crawl. Thankfully, there weren’t a lot of riders left on the course by this time to witness me hurting.

There were often whole sections of the track that I couldn’t account for. I would be riding along and suddenly realize that I didn’t know where I was. Then I would realize I was on the run into Mawkes creek, but how had I got there? I remembered climbing up from the downhill track but the last dozen switchbacks were a complete blank. It was eerie, lonely and cold.

To make matters worse, every time I went through transition, Lenny and Co would tell me that Dan was only a couple of minutes behind. I knew they were jerking my chain, but in my confusion, I couldn’t figure out what it really meant. Was he 5 minutes behind or 20 minutes? Then there was Craig. A strong local rider with some impressive enduro results who I hadn’t seen the entire race which could only mean was somewhere hot on my heels.

I did some rudimentary maths and guesstimated there was 1.5 hours to go and I was not even sure I was going to make it. I stopped in the pits, forced in some food even though it was the last thing in the world I wanted at that point and I sucked down a red bull energy shot which I had left over form the red bull girls at the Sydney 12 hour and hoped it was going to be enough. Then I headed back out into the dark to grind my way through another sole destroying lap, knowing I had at least 2 more to go. I barley saw another sole during that lap. I was left alone to my thoughts and the pain which made for poor traveling companions.

I called my race number to the timers as I rolled through transition, only to be greeted with “its all over”. It took a few meters for me to process what it all meant and Gerard almost had to run after me to stop me going out again on another lap. I stood there and looked at Lenny and then asked “Your not F*cking with me are you? Don’t tell me it is finished if I still have to go out again!”.  To which he replied “That’s it, the sweep rider is on the course and you are all done”.

I don’t really remember what happened then, I just kind of groveled my way off the bike and my wonky legs wouldn’t hold my weight so I layed down in the middle of the trail. Gerard understood completely, and fetched me a finish line beer and I sat and contemplated my first ever race win.

In the wash up, Dan finished second 11 minutes behind me and Craig was 3rd but a lap down. I had snuck past him while he was in the pits but I was to addled to notice. I managed 19 laps, as did Dan, with Craig coming in with 18 laps.

In hindsight, I am now able to say it was a fantastic race and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but you would have received quite a different answer if you had asked me my thoughts midway through lap 18 or 19.

A big thanks to Lenny and Gerard for running the event, Landon for helping on rego and timing and Scott and Dreggsy for being like-able douche bags. The biggest thanks goes to Danbot for bringing the pain and making me earn every little bit of the win.




7 responses

22 08 2010

In addition to like-able douche, you can add timer to Scotts portfolio. Not sure how he scammed the massage offered as a bribe though? I’m blaming you for eating the cupcake as well.

You owe me a massage.

Great day though and even a red belly black snake sighting before the chute.

Rosco, I thought when you fell in a heap after the race that we were all going to be able to help ourselves to parts off your bike. Sadly, that wasn’t to be be.

22 08 2010
b rad

Did you win a trophy?

23 08 2010

I won a rather practical trophy which can be used to partake in the amber ale. It also features some high calibre engraving, however there were no sandstone rock based trophies to be found anywhere.

23 08 2010

Nice work Rosco. Trophies are always cool.

23 08 2010

Top ride.
Standout memories for the day:
– “Hey! It’s the aggressive rider!” greeting upon arrival from the Unknown Rider.
– Centurions
– 1500HRS arm-warmers on. 1700hrs vest on. 2000hrs leg-warmers and jacket on!
– Noise or lack of it. Talking to teammates 1 min or 2 behind. “I’m gonna lap you.” “If you can’t see me, you can’t catch me!”
– Last lap go slow
– “Course Closed”

23 08 2010
The Dan

I too got a trophy. I can see many a West Coast Cooler being consumed from it. It was a really fun day. They only had to ruin it by starting a race. How can a track deal out so much pain?

Well done bro!

23 08 2010

nice work Rossco!

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