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.