Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kellevie 24 Hour

This month's big race began in Auckland Airport early Wednesday morning, arriving in Sydney, then a 6 hour wait before a flight to Hobart. We were staying at Seven Mile Beach Cabin Park up until Saturday for the race (big thanks to the cabin park for allowing us to return after the race on Sunday to use their showers... A gesture that went a long way for those sitting next to me and my support crew on the plane!)

Dee and Bren arrived Thursday night, and we decided on some speedy tourist visits before rocking up at the race venue to register. Kellevie is a quaint little town about an hour out of Hobart. The race was held on private farmland, and damn, they have some sweet little trails there!

I didn't get the opportunity to pre-ride the track, so my first lap was a bit by feel. It was an awesome track... Twisty and rocky... Would definately keep me entertained for the 24 hours. My first few laps were strong. I went out pretty hot to see what would happen before I settled in and there was one girl, Sophie, who seemed to be holding my pace, so I sat back in a little bit and started to maintain a pace. We had a bit of a chat and I found out that it was her first 24 hour solo (and damn, she was riding it like she knew what she was doing!).

Day turned to night and I still felt really strong. I went out on a lap and Sophie stayed in her pit area a little longer. The next lap, I came through and took a short break, sure she was still behind me. My support crew hadn't seen her in a while either, so I set off on my next lap, and to my surprise, at the next meeting with Dee, I found out she was 9mins ahead of me. I put the power down to try and make up some time. How didn't I see her pass me??? Where did she pass me???? I was so angry with myself. I'd been cruising along thinking she was behind me and the whole time she'd been in front!!! Lesson well learned. I was pushing a harder gear than I probably should've been and I could feel I was starting to tire. Around 11pm, I came back into my pit and told Brendan about a clicking noise my chain was making. "I think it's about to snap" I told him. He had a quick look but couldn't find anything too amiss, so I took a spare link with me and headed off on my next lap. 5 mins later, I rounded a corner and went to power climb a small steep section and "SNAP!"... Yup, it was the chain. Damn it! With the help of a passing rider, we reapired the chain relatively quickly, but I'd lost more time. My hands were blistered from the rough terrain and sweaty hands, and my amazing start was starting to slip away.

I don't remember much of the exchange I had when I stopped at the pit next, but at around 3am, I climbed off my bike and sat down... I knew it was a dangerous thing to do, but my knees were aching and my blistered hands wouldn't grip the bars. I got back on the bike at the end of the race to post a result, but after a strong 14 hours, I was unable to continue.

I would be lying to say I wasn't really disappointed, especially seeing as I have had a really strong season so far, but if I may steal an old cliche "you can't win 'em all". The lack of pay cheque on the way home was a bit of a sting on the pocket, but it was the first run with my awesome new support crew and we now have a few plans and tricks up our sleeves for the next one and can't wait for World Solo Champs in Canberra in October.

Unfortunately, I need to put this race behind me now and focus on doing well in the next. For now, I have to rest up because in 5 weeks, I fly to Alice Springs for the Red Centre Enduro. Never been to Alice Springs before so I can't wait!!! Time to puncture-proof those tires!!!

Thanks to Dee and Brendan for their tireless support this weekend. Brendan Byrne is the one who took the awesome pics you see in this post!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

RIP James Williamson

James Williamson, 2008 World Solo 24 Hour Champion died yesterday morning in South Africa. The day before, he had completed the first day of the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race.

I was sitting in an airport waiting lounge in Sydney on my way to Hobart for a 24 hour race this weekend in Kellevie when I received the news via email. I must admit it was a little hard to hold back the tears. James was an amazing person and will remain an inspiration to myself and many others who had the privilege of knowing him.

James, we'll miss you... May heaven be plentiful in sweet single track for you to ride...


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spoke Mag Out Now!

Check it out! Event article this issue is on our "Auckland One Hour Champs" Series... There may even be a photo of you in there!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Photos from Mountains to Beach

Some awesome pics to be had here, courtesy of Mark Watson. Please enjoy looking through them. If you would like to use them elsewhere, you will need to visit Mark's website www.inciteimages.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Garmin Edge 705 gets the thumbs up!

It may sound strange (in fact, a lot of things I do are strange), but the thing I looked forward to most after a stage in my last race (after food and massage) was downloading the data from my Garmin Edge 705. These things are a seriously cool piece of gear. Each night, my mates and I would huddle around my netbook and check out data like altitude, distance, speed, heart rate and cadence. In fact, not only did it tell me my averages for the above, but using the Garmin Training Centre software it drew up cool little graphs to show me how hard I had ridden, so I could see my heart rate hit it's max on the big climbs, or my speed coming down those fast little descents. It also has a world basemap, so mapped out each stage so I could just about string them together and see the full 5 days of racing as one fun long trip.

I must admit that I have always been a little skeptical about GPS (I can read a map!!!), but the Edge 705 is so much more than just a GPS... Yes, it has mapping capabilities, and if you get lost, you can just select "return home" and it directs you there. In addition to this, it measures all the things you want to know about when you train. Before getting mine, I was using a generic cycle computer which measured my heart rate, speed and cadence and I'd always thought this was adequate, but when I started training with my Edge 705, I began noticing really rapid improvements in my cycling. It keeps me really honest. I can look back over the data at the end of a ride and although happy with averages, it helps me pinpoint particular areas I need to work on, like cadence on hills, or speed on flats, for example. It even has a cool little feature which lets you race a time or a friend's time on the same route, so you have a simulated competitor to "race" against sitting right in front of you on the handlebars. You can also select which data fields you want to display on the unit while you are riding, so if you want to see your heart rate, speed and distance at the same time, you aren't stuck looking at the time of day and cadence or having to flick through screens. The versatility of this unit is awesome!

The unit is compatible with powertaps and much more comprehensive than the standard computer that comes with most powertaps. It is also wireless, so you can download your data wirelessly (with a USB plug-in) or transfer data between your Edge 705 and your friend's Edge 705.

The Garmin Edge 705 is, without a doubt, one of the most useful pieces of equipment I have put on my bike this year. Check it out at http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/site/au

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mountains to Beach Days 4 and 5 and the WIN!

Hey all!

Sorry to be a stranger last few days. It's been a busy and nervous end to the week with little opportunity for internet access.

So, you've possibly all heard by now that I took out the overall female title at the 2010 Mountains to Beach. In total, we rode about 385km over the 5 days with some pretty solid elevation and climbing, but also some damn gnarly descents...

So, back to day 4... The Verofit Big day out... 90km race stage followed by a 40km cruise stage (which didn't end up being very cruisy at all). It was a pretty fast stage, with a lot of dirt road and fire trail sections taking up the first 30km. We then hit our 400m climb for the day, which saw every single rider get off their bike at some point and grovel up on foot... The challenge to ride the full way up has not been achieved in the 2 years of the race now... Down the other side of the ascent was a fun, fast little descent through a pine forest with some killer views... Another ascent and then a 700m descent off the mountain... Woah! Probably the gnarliest and longest descent I have ever done at that speed... It wasn't smooth, either... The surface was large loose rocks about the size of your fist crackling and sliding under the wheels as we pelted down at 40km/hr (don't even consider trying to wash off any speed... It was a matter of just keeping your wits about you). I was stoked with my ride in this stage... 90km in 4hours 27mins (6 minutes faster than my 80km race 2 days earlier) and I put another 13 minutes into my buffer on second place. We stayed the night in Bermagui on the south coast... Beautiful little town.

Day 5 I was a little nervous. I had a 26 minute lead, so I knew all I needed to do was be sensible and I could win the race... A crash or a mechanical could eat into half an hour rather quickly... I was also pretty damn tired. I'd been pushing pretty hard and I had bags under my eyes and had struggled to keep food down for the last 2 days (all the sorts of things you need to contend with in a stage race). The course had changed slightly from what we had been expecting because the recent floods in the area had caused some of the ocean inlets to flood, so we had a 20km race stage, then a 6km cruise stage, then a continuation race stage for another 25km. The first 20km was amazing!!! Bermagui Dirt Surfers club had a right treat waiting for us in forest full of single-track... It was smooth, bermed and just had to be ridden fast. The second part of the race stage was... Um... Interesting... It involved riding across slow muddy paddocks, beach running with our bikes and 2 flooded inlet crossings that came up to my neck (I'll deal with the salty chafing later!!!)... Any time we hit a road and hoped for rest, we were faced with blistering head winds. It was a slow, tiring and frustrating 25km, so you can imagine my relief when I carried my bike up the soft sand to the finish line and couldn't walk another step... A win in the last race stage, and a win overall for the week!!! YES!!!

Couple of thanks need to be thrown out here... First of all to Huw and the team at Wild Horizons who did an amazing job organising the race so all the riders could get on with doing what we do well (riding, that is Huw... Not swimming and beach running!)

Big thanks also goes to my new sponsor Ay-Up lighting (who you can now see on my friends and supporters link). It was great to have Andy and the guys there. Although I was riding solo, it was nice to be part of a team for the week.

Chickenman at Bike 75... If you want a bike that works, you need to go and see Chickenman... Throughout the whole week, I watched people's bikes fall apart, break and force people out of the race and the whole week, my Giant Anthem X ran like a dream day-in-day-out... The work this guys does is magic. Thanks!

Go Fast for the stuff that kept me riding when I really felt I could go no further... That stuff is wicked... Stick it in your drink bottle!!!

Adidas Eyewear... I have no doubt that the rocks and dust would've taken my sight by the end of the week without my Evil Eyes... It was hard, unforgiving terrain.

Check out the race at http://www.wildhorizons.com.au/mountains-to-beach and have a think about entering next year... It was a great experience, well-organised, awesome prizes and prize money and the company and volunteers were awesome. The thing I love most about these stage races is that it pushes your body far beyond what you thought was possible, and in the process, forge meet people who have made that same journey.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mountains to Beach Day 3 - Ay-Up Dawn Raid

Well, I finally have internet access! Thanks Suse for keeping my blog updated... She does a more informative job than me!

We rose at 4am this morning and put on the Ay-Up lights for the Ay-Up Dawn Raid. The stage was 26km long and held in Buckenderra, where we'd spent the night before. No large brekky this morning, so it was an hour and a half time trial in the dark on little more than a piece of toast and an iron will. The trails were quite rutted and rough in places, but as the sun rose, it made it all worth it to see the colours dawn across the hills with the misty lake in the foreground... Magic... I won the female category of the stage in 1hour 26minutes ahead of second place by a minute and a half. Ay-Up team mate Andy Fellows won the men's division, showing everyone just why Ay-Ups are the best mountain bike lights on the market.

The lack of food put me in a slightly less than sociable mood immediately after the race, but we then had a 40km "cruise" stage which was a great opportunity to spin the legs out on our way to Cooma, where we have the afternoon off and are spending the night before the Verofit "Big Day Out" tomorrow... An 89km race stage followed by a 41km cruise stage which has us finishing in the beautiful coastal town of Bermigui.

Feeling good now... Food, rest and a bike clean and I'll be back into it again tomorrow. Currently in first place for female general classification, 13 minutes ahead of second place.

Peace out!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mountains to Beach Day 2

Another successful day at the Mountains to Beach :)

Day 2 comprised of Stage 5/6 (The Osprey Hydraulics Mountain Traverse) a 80km race and again Megan took line honours to take out the Women's Solo Category in a time of 4 hours 33 minutes.

This puts her 11 minutes up overall. Nice!

Tomorrow (Day 3) is an early rise for the 26km Ay up Dawn Raid followed by a 40km Cruise to the town of Cooma

We'll keep you posted. Suse signing off

Mountains to Beach Day 1

Megan has no internet access today or tomorrow so has asked me to give you guys a wee little update. Here it is!

Megan took the day's honours by winning Stage 1 (The Hayes Mountain Run) & Stage 3 (The Maxxis Muster) in the Solo Women's category of the Mountains to Beach race in Australia. She beat off other competitors to take line honours in the Stage 1 time trail with a time of 48 minutes 6 seconds. Then later in the day she took another victory in the Stage 3 race with a time of 1 hour 35 minutes & 22 seconds. A combined time of 2 hours 23 minutes & 28 seconds. Yay!

She will give you a more detailed update in a couple of days when she has internet access.

Signing off. Suse :)