A double post, two very different perspectives of the same day out…….both Epic however……..
Part one Author Bec –
After an impulse decision mid-week I decided to enter the Golden Triangle Epic 100k mtb race. Having not ridden much over three hours for the last three months the feeling was that it may hurt. So when my alarm went off 4.22am so we could be out the door by 5am for the 2hr drive to Bendigo i was thinking that this was going to be a long day.
Although a small field rolled out for the start of the women’s race I was accompanied by my LIV/giant team mates Naomi Williams and Jess Douglas who are two of the toughest athletes i know as well as being awesome girls, so i knew that it was going to be hard racing but also a lot of fun. As we rolled out from the start Jess went straight to the front to set the pace with Naomi, myself & jackie who hung in for a bit sitting on. After a while and with Jess wanting a break from the pace setting I jumped on the front and started to ride my tempo, during that time the veteran man caught us so I decided to go with those guys & realised that the girls weren’t on my wheel. It was pretty early on in the race and not knowing how I would cope with the distance i tried to take it as easy as possible and pace myself.
First lap done and heading out for the next 53k feeling pretty good, I decided to lift the pace and see what I could do. It was all going to plan till around the 75km mark when the wheels started to fall off. My calf’s, quads, hammies where cramping every time I got out of the saddle, by the last 10k I didn’t think I was going to finish as I had gone hunger flat as well. My eye sight was going bleary my lips where tingling which is something I hadn’t experienced to this degree before. Thankfully i had enough of a lead and made it to the end still in front somehow still managing to negative split my laps.
Bendigo mtbing club put on a great event with a heap of new trails being cut just for this race. A lot of hard work goes into events like these & as an athlete I’m grateful for all the hard work that the mtb community put in.
Thanks to Naomi and Jess for the laughs for the first part of the race and good laugh post-race concerning Naomi’s tire selection and lack of fitness that contributed to quite a few offs, one in which she came away a little worse for wear so deciding to end the race at the 50km mark. Jess rode on to come in 2nd with Jackie Burn Arty came in for 3rd.
Part two Author Ren –
I am sitting here still incapable of turning my head, as well as this I am walking very oddly due to the overuse of a particular group of muscles in my right leg. You may have already read fellow Liv/giant team mate Jess Douglas’ race report from the Bendigo Mountain Bike clubs Golden Triangle Epic, that was held on the weekend, if not go read it! Liv/giant had Jess, Rebecca Locke and myself representing in the Women’s Epic, for those unfamiliar with the mountain bike scene the Epic is a mountain bike marathon format event, ran over 100km on mountain bike single track and some faster fire road sections.
Being in Bendigo all three of us Liv girls had an early start from our homes, these races typically start early due to the time it takes to race them. I was swearing at the alarm when it went off in the vicinity of 4am, Jess had an extra hour on her trip and if I had to set the alarm that early I dear say I probably would have just worked the dinging it into my current dream as a small Italian village clock tower or something, in turn totally missing departure time.
For those of you that don’t know I have been out of action for a while. In fact I’d say It’s been a shit start to the year, all the the races I was really looking forward too I have had to sit out. Apart from an odd easy week sporadically thrown into the mix I have pretty much been off the bike since the new year due to Injury. ( Making for a moody, depressed, not wanting to share any adventures in any blog posts version of me, frankly I have been riding and racing for so long that I simply don’t cope with no riding of my bike). I first broke my hand and then after having a lot of time off the bike I sillily tried to race the Mt Buller National mountain bike round, a very bumpy and hard course, I only got two laps in, no surprise really. The next day however of the back of this I did my back in a rather bad way. This was the aftermath of the doing something that was way to hard to early, for the current strength, fitness levels, bla bla bla. I should and well, do know better, but chose not to listen to the smart me, result being again off the bike for more weeks. Having raced for many years you become very aware or what your body is capable of at certain times as well as knowing how to manage the various injuries or niggling problems you may carry as an athlete, this more so as you start to get a bit older, I am normally pretty good at this these days and this I may go into this further in a future post. For now though back to Bendigo.
Basically for me 100km was not really a logical option, originally the plan was to do the 50km event but I decided to support the 100km event that the club had put up equal prize pool for. Mountain bike marathon racing is hard, as an “old roadie” the thought of 100km is really no stress to me, and I have done lots of long MTB events before, but not with so little prep. When doing a 100km mountain bike race, its kind of like doing 250km on the roadie. Bendigo is rocky and as such the course was pretty much coated in lots of rocks of various sizes, making for a bumpy day out. Apart from having to get through the distance, at race pace, a bumpy day out automatically reverts to 100’s or 1000’s of muscle contractions all over your body, it anit no hot mix, at the end of a mountain bike marathon you will normal feel like you have used very single muscle in your body, if you haven’t you probably just didn’t go hard enough! Having said that 100km was not logical, I still thought I may get through, this changed many times during the course of the morning, here’s a short point to point want happened;
Hmmm probably should have looked at these tyres a bit more. (I had a very poor tyre choice pretty much a slick, a result of me being unprepared in every way for said event, I am not normally slack when it comes to prep in fact I could be referred to having OCD as far as this is concerned)
Off and racing,
Hit first single track, I am in for very a lively ride it seems ( I two wheel slide at speed across everything dirt rock, water. I have my first off, I chase back on)
Jess Bec and myself stay together until some guys catch us from behind, and Bec in good form from her recent batch of National racing pedals onto the back of the guys and zooms off never being seen again, well I saw her at the end taking the win of course.
Jess and myself together, see asks me if Id like to go past, I politely let her know I am happy were I am, I am already feeling average I let her know. I am still thinking of getting through the race, you can go through many stages during a race and I have had many in the past where I been unable to scratch myself at the start but come home like a machine.
Jess is very encouraging, “Ren you’ll get through this I know you will” I am still keen still looking towards the end.
I am having a hard time staying upright, I am not awesome technically on the mountain bike but I am also not bad, it was possibly one of my worst rides as far as feeling in control of my bike I’ve ever had, apart from the off’s I did have I had more near missed than I wish to put down. Things got worse as my lack of riding also started to catch up on me. If you’d taken arial footage of Jess and myself and drawn a line for each of us my path would have looked like the slinky spring I think.
@ About 30km
I had another off one which was more of a self preservation off, I lunched myself off the bike to the side rather than what was about to be a big one over the bars. I could only laugh at this one. It was more embarrassing than painful. Jess was right on me “Ren Ren are you all right? come on”
Back into it I was still looking at the 100. I had a tingle of cramp just a little, surly it will pass I thought.
Cramping continued a bit more, hmm thats not a great sign so early.
Still fighting with bike …. well said tyres…. and more so as body is getting tied, It’ll be ok you’ll come good.
Jess still being very encouraging, myself still being very self encouraging, trying very hard to disregard the little cramping going on, but knowing its getting worse. Hmmm maybe I can talk it around?
BANG, slammed my bars into a tree at speed, flew up, forward, sideways, backwards, upside down, not sure really. Land upside down with a thud of my head onto ground. Looking up at the trees and sky, all’s quiet and I am happy in my starfish position. “REN REN …… Ren are you Ok …… REN” Jess yelling from up the trail a little, oh thats right we are racing, get up stumble a bit …….. ouch …….try to be coherent again. Ren are you ok? Is the bike Ok ? yes Im ok. Come on let go’s Jess says. I am Ok, but not Ok, It nocked me for six, I tell Jess to go. I catch my breath, take a look at the bike the bars are looking at the seat the seat is looking at the rear wheel the levers are looking at the sky. Always take a multi tool! Fixed I get back going.
From here I was alone……
Feeling ok actually feeling faster than pre tree. Sweet come on you’ll be good, your coming good!
Ekk Cramp big cramp.
Grovel, come on just get to the end of this lap, you may come good maybe it just the post crash post adrenaline downer
What the? I have done more than 700mtrs!
Damn I am going to have to stop at the end of this lap, there is no way I can get through another (well without serious damage )
Oh come on I am going faster than this
grovel, cramp……….F off cramp
You’ll get 5km to go soon
5km sign where are youuuuuu??
Did I miss it I can’t be far from the end of the lap
Got to be so close to the end of the lap……..I am feeling ok again….don’t listen to cramp….
feeling good ……… feeling flowy……nice….sweet
Got to be close, to end of lap………..mmmmm….maybe just maybe…..whats another 50km…….
Don’t be stupid, remember what happened a few weeks ago.
Ah…. but it would be great to get through….your going ok…….
Houses awesome, not far till I hit the end of the lap…..
come on keep going…..
Hmmm how long did that 50 take………
don’t be silly!
Right right ok
Hit the start finish line
Advise the officials I am out of the race …….. to the disgust of another other part of me.
Get off bike, promptly cramp really bad!
Meanwhile the others continue on their second lap. I get all cleaned up and get myself a coffee, best fix for cramp you know, I settle in at the little event village to soak up the atmosphere. Riders start coming in, from all the various event distances. Some looking totally spent some smiles ear to ear, some clearly having spent some time on the ground, all ages and sizes, but all having a great time.
I start watching the clock Bec can be far off, soon she hits the straight and crosses the line victorious. I head over to congratulate her, she indeed looks spent. As I get to her she looks at me and the first thing she says is “F**K that was horrible” this a direct reference to the last 20km where she had gone into the Lala land zone ( hunger flat, bonk, crampville, name it as you will) and had to grovel home………..grovel home for a win nonetheless but still grovel home! All I can say is I am happy that I stopped at the 50km mark this week, I may still be out there somewhere otherwise, my name is Willy not Silly, and I am very much done having more time off the bike!
Well done Bec, great ride even with your time in LaLa land. Thanks Jess for the encouragement, and getting me through the 50!