Sunday, 30 June 2013

Kelcey Tier Enduro, (Part 2)

So, re-capping where I got to in my last post, I was just starting my second 5km lap, I was 30 minutes into the race and I was about to be lapped.

That hurt, and to show just how fragile my mental fortitude was, as the two front runners came up behind me, one of them call out "track" ... and it just came across really rudely.  To be honest I got pretty p*ssed at them.

Now sitting hear at my keyboard typing this, it's awfully embarrassing to think just how strongly this anger got into my head and festered, especially as the reality was that those guys did exactly the right thing ... they called track loudly and with plenty of notice, and let's face it these guys were racing, not thinking about my feelings.

I stewed on this for a good few minutes, until about the time that I realised that no one else had come past me, and that I wasn't in fact going to get lapped by every single rider on every single lap and have abuse shouted at me (I was in that kind of state of mind).

I therefore decided that I could maybe enjoy this race after all and got back into the business of not trying to kill myself whilst going as fast as I could.


In dribs and drabs riders went past me, and most were super polite and encouraging which I think is one of the great things about mountain biking races like these ... the good riders and the bad riders (me) get to mix it up together.

I don't however want you to think that it was all smelling roses.  I had no one to chase in this race, no one even to pace off, so it was just me going around feeling really slow and fighting a bit of a mental battle.

To be honest I spent most of the next 15 minutes trying to figure out if I could slow down enough to get away with doing three laps instead of four , and although I knew there was no way the maths would ever actually work out, I did still somehow convince myself that I would only have to do three laps, and this somehow made the hurt I was going through a whole lot more manageable as I was therefore over half way through the race.

Then I got to the end of the second lap ... 1hr:04mins ... I'd slowed, but only slightly, and yet still, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I managed to convince myself that I only had one more lap to do.

It really does show how easily you can fool someone who wants to be fooled.


As I got to the hill heading up along Williams Reservoir my chain jammed in my front derailer, but not thinking much about it, I got off, fixed it, and continued on.  Then, after the fun little run downhill on the other side of the reservoir, my chain jammed up two more times and I mean it got really jammed.

I was therefore trying to take it really easy up a quite long pull of a hill and was really focusing on my bike and gear changes, not what was happening around me, when one of the front runners came flying past me (again) on the right hand side so close that he almost knocked me off my bike.

Now I hadn't really mentally calmed down from the first time I'd been lapped by this guy, so having just lost my chain three times in the last kilometre only to then have a guy overtake me on the right pushing me off my line with no warning when I'm already in the right hand track of a section of double track and there was a whole left lane available to him to pass me on ... well, I didn't like it and I went into a very dark place indeed.

I decided that this race, and in fact all northern riders, could go f*#k themselves if they were going to be this competitive in a small event like this.

I was going to get to the end of this lap and go home.

Strange thing was, there was a small part of me that knew that I was just using this as an excuse to pike out of the race at the end of this lap, but every time that little rational part tried to raise it's voice, the other voices in my head shouted it down in a malevolent maelstrom of angry screaming such that even my internal rational voice was scared to speak up against me ...

I finally got to the top of the climbing sections (with steam still coming out of my ears), and launched down the latter half of the course when some magic happened.  A series of riders, probably just 2 or 3, passed me, and each one in turn called out how they'd pass me in a really friendly way and each passed on a little bit of encouragement as they went past.

Nice.  This is MTBing as I know it.

Then as I got to the bottom of the first downhill section, where the track opens up a bit and heads slightly uphill, I saw flannelette shirt guy (who I now know was Josh King) and his daughter(?) riding along enjoying the course.

Just watching them, I felt the dark cloud circling around my head just disappear as I realised that here were two other riders just out to enjoy the trails.  We had a brief chat as I went past, and to be honest I can't even recall much of what we said, but I do recall the impact of that encounter on my attitude.

I felt good, and most importantly I remember thinking "if those guys are out here, then I can be out here too".

That's when I embraced the fact that I was here to finish this little enduro.

I was going for four laps.

Having resolved this conundrum in my head, and embraced the fact that I was here to do the course, I started to enjoy myself.  Even more so when another rider came up behind me, and then as we got to the bottom of the last hill before the finish line, he stopped for a breather and suddenly I realised that I had someone to race against (even if he didn't know it).

Everything was finally falling into place.

I loved the fourth lap.  The pleasure of knowing that every wheel turn would be the last I'd need to do on that section of track, ticking off the sections, glancing behind to see where the guy was who had ridden me down.

I got to the top of the hill and hurtled down the first section of downhill faster than I had on any of the other laps.  I peeled off onto the single track section, continuing straight down the hill, applied the brakes as I came up onto the sharp left hand corner ready to accelerate away ... and just overshot the corner and "thwumped" heavily into a large tree before departing my bike and biting the dirt.

Ouchy.

A change in attitude is an amazing thing.  I didn't think "ah, what have I broken, it's all too hard, I want my mummy", instead I thought "Ahh ... get back on the bike and ride or that guy will catch you ... you can check for bleedy broken things after the finish".

So that's what I did, I rode, and I rode, and I rode.

I still got passed a few times.  I even pulled off the track a few times so as not to slow up faster riders on their last lap, but I still rode with that knowledge that somewhere behind me there might be someone trying to catch me ... so I had to ride.

I got passed, one last time, right on the finish line, but it wasn't my guy so I didn't really mind.  OK I did, but I'm going to pretend I didn't because that sounds more sporting.

And that was the end of my race.

I started this write up talking about orienteering, and I did that for a reason.  MTB racing at my level can provide the same challenges as orienteering.

Racing heightens the highs and lowers the lows.  It forces you in a brief, short period of time to face yourself and all your doubts, and again and again fight off those little voices telling you to give up and instead carry on.

You never know what is around that next corner if you just keep going, and it's amazing how often when you think you can't carry on, how something happens that gives you the strength to do so.

I'm reading a book by Audrey Sutherland titled Paddling North.  In it she makes this wonderful observation:
"I laughed grimly at my own egocentricity.  I had learned years ago that people are too busy taking care of themselves to be concerned about me. 'They' don't really care what you look like, how you're dressed, or what you do, as long as you don't interfere with their lives or self-images. They'll give you a five-second glance, then go back to their own affairs.  That realization gives you much more freedom".  
...I have that realisation and that freedom ... I'll continue to race my races inside my own head and when it all gets too hard, I'll just tell myself that it doesn't really matter because nobody else will ever really know I was there ...

... well they wouldn't if I didn't write this blog anyway.

If interested you can view my strava data here.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Kelcey Tier 2 Hour Enduro ... (Part 1)

I used to love orienteering because it confronts you with doubt and it makes you deal with it.

If you've never tried the sport, then you'll have to take it from me that it's a beautiful combination of thinking and strategy all under the pressure of a running race where you don't know how your competition is doing.

Often when I'd go orienteering, I'd make a navigation mistake on my way to the first control (usually quite a big mistake, and usually involving running off from the start too quickly and then looking at my map and realising that I'm not quite sure where I am, how far I've gone, what the map scale is, or what I'm supposed to be looking for ... and in a navigation sport it all goes downhill from there).

So time and time again, there'd be this point where I'd be just minutes into a 90 minute race, I'd be walking around in circles (still looking for the first control), and it all would just seem so stupid and pointless.

It's at this point that you just have to make the decision to either give up or re-focus and carry on.

So although at the time it seems impossible, you find a way to carry on.

Then, eventually you find the first control, and you start to get a better feel for the map, you find the next control and 90 minutes later you run across the finish line and feel brilliant... not because you've done a great time, but because you've done the best race you could and you didn't give up.  You proved to yourself that you can move through doubt.

And I for one need that.

That get's me onto why I enter all these MTB races.

It doesn't take an Einstein to realise that I shouldn't be racing:  I'm slow, unfit, I don't train and slowly but surely I'm falling further and further behind the main pack, but still I enter.

Why?

To be honest, it's always over-determined ... it's a combination of the location, the timing, the weather, my mood, the rise and fall of the stock market, the pretty pictures on the website that promise I'll get to ride over a red raft bridge when I won't (sorry, I'm still not 100% over the Convict 100) ...

Tens, if not hundreds, of little factors combine to decide whether or not I'll enter any particular event, but a strong theme in these decisions is that I still love that mental challenge involved in getting from the start line to the finish line.  Especially if it's somewhere I've not been.

Which is one why I found myself  at the start line of the Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club's "Goodbye Summer" 2 Hour Enduro Race at Kelcey Tier near Devonport today.

I put myself right at the back of the pack and looked around to see if I could see any other recreational riders who had come along ... I was looking for those people who might have an old or cheap bike, or who weren't wearing Lycra ... any indication that there were other people that were here just for the ride and hence who may be in 'my' category ... but for the first time in my life, there were none.

OK, there was one ... there was one guy in a flannelette shirt with his young daughter, but otherwise pretty much everyone else looked like they were here to race.

The starter called two minutes until the start, and as I was having problems with my GPS (it wouldn't turn on) I thought "great, that gives me enough time to fix it", so I took it off the bike, unclipped the back, took out the batteries ... then the starters gun went, and the race was on.

Not a good start.

As expected the bulk of the racers just took off, but as I entered the first corner I think there was two or three people behind me, and I had that quietly confident thought enter my head that yea I was going to be at the back of the pack, but I wasn't going to be the back of the pack.

Then they all overtook me.

Kelcey Tier is a course with plenty of climbs (about 150 m ascent in each 5km lap) and me and climbs don't get on so well.

Goodbye field ...
Ten minutes into the first lap, I was struggling up yet another short, steep hill section.  I was well and truly alone ... I couldn't even see the next closest rider, and as always at the start of a race, my heart rate was too high, my lungs were puffing like a freight train and my legs felt like lead.

The whole idea of carrying on for another hour and fifty minutes seemed impossible.

I wanted to give up, and that friendly little voice of doubt which visits me in every race started giving me excuses to do so:  "really, you're only here to check out the trails... and you only have to ride it once to do that, right? ... you could pretend you have a mechanical problem and just disappear ... you could get home earlier if we stopped and spend some more time with Kim and the monsters" .... there was more, much more, but you get the idea ... for the first half of that first lap I just spent time trying to convince myself to give up.

Then the trails started pointing downhill, and it all suddenly didn't seem so bad ...

... until I  went over a small drop, and didn't handle it too well (front wheel dropped too quickly), so when I came to the next little log hurdle, I took my recent MTBSkills training in hand, and thrust my front wheel over the hazard, then moved my weight forward to lift my back wheel over ... it was almost perfect .. until I looked up and realised that I was now accelerating into a sharp corner and there was a a stump right in front of me ... I'd forgotten the all important 'vision' part of the MTBSkills formulae ... and now all I saw was that stump.

And yes, I went straight into it.

Thirty seconds to re-compose myself, and I was back riding again (albeit a little more tentatively) down a sensational section of technical single track, and then, almost before I knew it, I was out on some trails, a last little bit of climb, and I was heading through the start/finish area.

I had completed my the first lap.

I think it took me thirty one minutes to get through, which gave me a pretty simple gauge on how much further I had to go ... this was looking to be a four lap race.

Then I realised something else ... I was on my second lap and I'd not even considered pulling out of the race ... a thought that was deeply etched in my brain as a near certainty just 20 minutes ago.  What's more I was starting to ride a bit better, I'd settled into a rhythm and wasn't breathing too hard.  I may not have been overly keen about the thought of three more laps, but I could do at least this one.  I was feeling pretty good.

Then, probably 500 metres into the second lap I happened to look behind me  only to see the front two riders hurtling up behind me.

I was about to be lapped and I was only just beginning my second lap.

My euphoria quickly disappeared ... and that's where I'll leave this post because I have to get to work.


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Playing with the Penguins ...

The advantage of knowing that the only thing you're racing for the next day is to get to the finish line is that it means you don't have to do any of that tapering stuff ...


That's why I was up with the sun (admittedly not hard the day after the winter solstice) and soon found myself heading off to the Penguin MTB Park to see what the trail fairies had been up to since last time I'd come to play.

... and oh boy, methinks the fairies up here are on steroids (that's a compliment trail fairy people).  The fairies up here are the modern day Hansel & Gretel of trail builders and they've been building some really nice fairy features for we cyclists to play on ...





I even had a go at some of them and was pretty pumped by the time I'd got around the circuit.  To think this was only the warm up for my day.

You see, I'd prayed to the Google Gods to reveal to me "mountain bike trails dial range" whilst at my hotel last night and they delivered to me the management plan for the Dial Range  wherein I discovered that there's a whole load of tracks up there (at this point I hadn't yet made the connection with the  Cranky Penguin MTB Marathon which is being held around there somewhere, so I thought I was pretty darn clever finding these trails) and so with this new knowledge, and after my play in the park, I kept heading up Ironcliffe Road to see what I would see ...



Oh, and what I found was potential.  Sure, I only got on the bike a couple of time to have a bit of an explore, and I may have driven way too far along Hales Road for my pretend four wheel drive leading to a few nervous (and scratchy) moments, but I still managed to get out of there and back to Ulverstone (by a long loop around the Dial range) in time for a late lunch.

Three rides down, a desire already to come back, and only just lunch time.  Definitely a good day.

I decided that next on the mountain biking menu would be a bit of a side treat out at Wilmot, and a course I found on Strava for the recent 2 hour enduro.

It was a bit of a challenge getting to the start of the track (including a short slide across some black ice), but once I did ... well, to be honest, it was even more of a struggle to follow the track, but kind of worth it just for the views.









Did I mention that the ground (and the dams) were still frozen solid up this way?


This kind of riding was probably something only I'd enjoy as it was a very slow loop where I had to keep stopping to go in search of enough bars of phone signal to see where about on (or off) the strava route I was.

Furthermore, having looked into this a bit more since I got back home, it looks like that entire course is on private property, so take home message kiddies ... come here on a CCMBC race day when it's probably legal to do so (or if not, at least you will probably have some of those tough trail angels to look after you).

By the time I'd got off the bike it was nearly 4pm, and on the second shortest day of the year that meant the dark time was coming (and the zombies).

I did however have enough time for a detour off to find the downhill trails at Paloona, and strangely enough as I'm not a good downhill rider, I decided to walk some of them as I watched the sun head down ...






Five trails in one day ... that's a good day in any cyclists books, and I went to bed congratulating myself on how clever I was ... if only I'd known what tomorrow was to bring, I may have been thinking something else.

Specifically ... there's a reason why everyone else tapers, and probably more importantly a reason that they train ... but that's tomorrow's story.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Bikepacking ... The Dilemmas

You know how you sometimes wake up sharply with a random thought, like ... "Oh, sh*t, I forgot to pay that hydro bill last night.  Well that exact thing (except I don't think it was a hydro bill) happened to me just the other week.

Anyway, I decided that I had better pay whatever bill it was before I forgot it again (as you can probably pick up again here, a few days later I have completely forgotten what it was), so I stumbled downstairs, logged onto my computer ... and paid it.

Then, somewhat inexplicably, I went on and ordered nearly $400 worth of bikepacking gear.


I have to admit that this was rather random, even for me.

Oh, and if you're looking at that picture above and thinking "that's only $US305.46", the four hundred dollars comes from the postage ... they charged me $US80.50 for the postage and handling.

But all that randomness and cost pales fades away when one of these beautiful things arrives ...


...  a brand new unopened box filled with toys.


... and an opened bag of new toys.
Now there is actually a reason for these purchases.

I'm still dreaming of a bike-packing holiday in Europe this year (and yes, if you're wondering, the plunge in the Australian Exchange Rate did occur immediately after my deciding that yes, I am going overseas this year, so you have me to thank for that).

So I've been thinking a lot about which bike to take and how to set it up, and I'm now moving into the "OK, need to start acquiring things" stage.

One of the things I learnt on my west coast trip, was that because I have a full suspension mountain bike, and can therefore only fit a small frame-bag onto my bike, I have to carry quite a heavy backpack to take all the gear I need, and this won't work for me on a longer trip.

I also learnt from the trip that Kim and I did along the Goldfields track that some of my bulkier stuff, like my airline bike bag, won't fit into my bike bags.

So, I've been thinking two things:  (1) I needed every bag I could possibly fit onto my bike to get stuff off my back and (2) I need a way of carrying my bulkier stuff.

I have however been balking at the prices for these bags (eg. $60 for a bag that is only large enough to carry a camera)  ... until my little spending splurge the other morning that lead to my ordering Revelate Design's  Jerrycan, Gastank and Mountain Feedbag (x2) so that I can put as much weight as possible on the bike, not on my back ...

Trying to get to something like this ...
(Source: http://milltowncycles.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/revelate-designs-frame-bags-gas-tanks.html)

However, this still doesn't fix the 'bulky gear' like my iPad or Netbook (haven't decided which one to take yet) and my Ground Effect Body Bag.  That's why I also bought one of the new 'Thule' tour racks to see if this could solve this problem.

Thule Tour Rack
Source: http://www.bikebagshop.com/thule-tour-rack-p-3079.html

These racks are designed to fit on virtually any bike (except maybe mine - as I've now discovered) and I'm hoping to fit these to the front or back of my bike with some small panniers so that I can put my airline bag, tent and a few other bulkier items in or on it so I don't have to carry anything on my back.  Essentially I hope to get to something like this ...

Click for Fullsize

Sorry it's such a small image (visit http://www.revelatedesigns.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=gallery.gallery&Categoryid=6 to see proper image) but the idea would be to have a rack to put my bulkier gear on for most of the riding, but with the option of moving it onto my backpack if needed when doing rougher single track trails.

I've also just ordered a Topeak MTX BeamRack as another option in case the Thule Rack doesn't work out (though I have concerns that this will not be compatible with the Revelate Designs Viscacha Seat bag I will use) , and as I've decided to use ViewRanger for much of my navigation (alongside hardcopy maps and guides I'll pick up along the way), I've also ordered a LifeProof case and mountain bike holder for my iPhone as these get pretty good reviews for keeping out water and dust.



To be honest, I'm not really sure how this will all work out, and that's kind of the fun of it (though I may need reminding of this when my phone is broken and I arrive at my camp one night to find half of my gear has fallen off my bike).

So this is the discovery I've made: I just have to get into the habit of getting up early and buying these things before I have time to think about it.  Speaking of which, I really do think I might need to order myself one of those internal hub generators so I can keep my ipod and GPS charged ... don't you think?

I might just sleep on it and see how I go in the morning.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Heritage Forest Cyclocross

As everyone around Hobart way will already know, the rain came in on Friday and well ... it just kind of settled in for the weekend.  Heavy showers kept pounding through all day Saturday and really there was only one thing to do ... jack up the heater and catch up on all those TV shows building up on the PVR.


Or ... I guess ... there was the other option of going to Launceston to race cyclocross.


I've never raced cyclocross, and I didn't even know there was an event until late Friday, but once I did know, it was like a cajoling voice inside my head that wouldn't go quiet until I gave in ... "you're not doing anything this weekend" ... "it's wet, and cold and it's going to be sssoooo muddy" ... "it's going to be fun" ... "it's just a stupid idea, you have to do it" ... 

... and that was the one that got me ... the idea of doing something stupid ... getting up at 5am to drive two and a bit hours to Launceston for a 40 minute race, only to then turn around and drive straight home again ... well, I figured (and my cajoling voice obviously agreed) that sort of captures the sillyness of a Cyclocross racing as I understood it and so I decided it had to be done.

Now everything I know about cyclocross I've learned from watching 3 minute videos on YouTube, but the basic idea (as I understood it) was that you start with a location, and then you dream up every diabolical way you can think of to make racing around that location unnecessarily hard ... and you do all those things.  Then you plonk riders on what appear to be essentially road bikes with slightly fatter tyres, say something uplifting like "hurrah", ring a couple of cow bells ... and voila ... you have a cyclocross race.



Based on this understanding,  I just knew that me and cyclocross were going to get on just fine.

In fact, so sure was I about this fact that I was a touch over zealous in my planning not to miss the start, or to put it more bluntly I arrived a whole hour and a half before the event ...  yea, I wasn't exactly fighting for car parking spaces when I pulled in at around 8am.


However, getting there early wasn't a bad thing, and I took the opportunity to have explore the Heritage Forest park, and I have to say that I liked the park and I really liked the jumps park within the main park ...

Heritage Forest is just a 'nice' park with lots of interconnecting trails.  Great for families

Then, before I knew it, it was almost 9.30am and I had to hussle back to the registration, get my number and do a quick circuit of the course before the race started so that when I got left behind everyone else I still had some idea where to go ...



Now, my expectations for this race were pretty low ... I saw myself more as an 'active spectator' than a participant, with the full expectation that most everyone else would just disappear off into the distance and I'd be left riding around somewhere near the back of the pack taking photos ... something like this ...

Do note the rider in the distance ...
And that's exactly what happened.  The starters gun went off and the whole darn pack just rode me off their wheels like I wasn't even there.  Now as much as I'd like to say that this was because they were all on fast cyclocross bikes and the first half of the circuit was ideally suited for fast riding on these bikes, there was some evidence which suggested this wasn't 100% true, even this guy (Lynton) lapped me twice ...


... or was it three times?  Yep, that's a 100% fatbike and boy could he make it fly.

So the race.  The circuit had a flat fast start out along gravel trails where the faster cyclocross bikes could really accelerate away, then it hit the real cyclocross section where we twisted in and out of muddy lawn areas and up a really sharp little hill before some more muddy corners and a narrow bridge crossing followed by a fast sprint back towards the finish line with two 'step overs' (not really sure if they have a real name) where you have to dismount your bike and carry it before crossing the start-finish point and going again.

The first lap took me just under five minutes, and as usual I was struggling to get air in (it takes me at least 15 minutes to get warmed up) but I'm not exaggerating when I say the pack left me behind, because as I pulled into the lap point there were just two other riders behind me, a girl who I'll call 'blue' as she was wearing a blue top and a guy who I'll call 'green' because he was wearing a green top.

As to the pack in front of me ... they were gone.

racers, or racers where 'art though racers?
By about the third lap though I was starting to warm up, and another rider, 'orange' (yes, he was wearing an orange top), had dropped out of the pack and was not so far in front of me that he wasn't chasable.

I therefore had to chase, despite my early declared status as an 'active spectator'.

Now both blue and orange left me for dead when we got onto the grass and the hill climb, but I found I could put distance into them both on the gravel road sections.  So began a strategic dance of me almost catching orange and dropping blue for the first half of each lap, only to lose all my ground on orange and have blue catch back up to me on the grassy sections.  I think this happened for 3 or 4 laps, though each time I got a little closer to orange, until eventually, I think it was on the fifth lap, I managed to get past him just before we got onto the grass and I was finally in fourth last position.

Woo Hoo!

Determined to make the most of this, I completely abandoned my race strategy (which if you're wondering had to that point been "don't come last by so much that they've packed up when you get back") and pushed as hard as I could across the grassy sections to try and maintain my "lead".  The net result of this was that when I came out onto the gravel for the next lap, I had nothing extra in my legs to give, so although I managed to hold the gap I had made on orange and blue, I didn't open it up like I had in previous laps and so when we got onto lap 7, orange went past me going up the steep hill, and then blue also flew past me on the gravel coming into the finish line as I tried to lower my heart rate back below 343 bpm and get my breath back.

36 minutes into the race, at the end of my seventh lap, I had slipped back to second last place, and of course it was here that the race caller called out "final lap".  This was it ... the lap of truth, and the truth was I was hurting and didn't have much left to give.

I tried to pull in blue on the first section of gravel, but by the first corner she was holding her gap on me and I sort of accepted my fate as the lantern rouge and just kept riding with what I had ... which was when blue made an error.

Blue had caught up to Green (remember green ... he was the last placed person and I'd forgotten about him) and she pulled in behind him and dropped her pace slightly, presumably to take a rest ... it was all I needed as suddenly the 30 metre gap she had on me disappeared down to nothing and just before we hit the grassy section I accelerated past both blue and green ... I was back in third last position!

My lungs felt like they were about to explode, and I really didn't want to look back because I knew blue would be right behind me and she had proven to be faster than me on this section on every lap to date, so I just rode.   On the first 180 degree corner, I saw that blue had passed green but she had obviously lost some time doing it and I had about 20 metres on her, then I headed up the steep hill bit, but took it in too big a gear and almost stalled going up there.  I tentatively made my way around the last few slippery corners, across the narrow bridge and I was on my way onto the gravel and home ... right where blue passed me last time.

I put in everything I had left in my lungs as soon as I came off the bridge and managed to open up a gap, but then I just blew up completely staggering over the line, slowly,  but victorious in my own mind, despite coming third last and getting lapped at least once, and more often twice (OK, three times) by most of the other riders in the race.



As for blue, If I asked, I'd probably have found out that she was the race sweep and had just overtaken me on the seventh lap because she was so bored with my slow pace, and that green was riding with his young kids which was why he was behind me, but that's not what I cared about.

I'd come up for a fun race, and (even though it was dry up in Launceston and therefore a lot less muddy than I expected) I still had an awesome time in my own little race inside my head.

I loved cyclocross every bit as much as I thought I would ... then a little bit more besides.
I'm already trying to convince Kim to join me up at the next event (which I think is in two weeks time) and I'm wondering if maybe I could convert my trek 520 tourer into a cyclocross bike ... at least until I get around to buying one.

PS. the other thing I love about cyclocross is that there are still so few people doing it, you can still come third last and yet get 2nd in your division.  Check out the results here.  

Yep, I'm claiming that.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Hollybank (Part 4) & Trevallyn Reserve (Part 3)

Not every ride has a story, some rides just end up being rides.


I'd had epic plans for this long weekend, but then life got in the way, and what was to be a three day epic, got whittled down to a two day adventure, and then on Friday (when I realised that Kim leaving all the planning to me meant that we didn't have anywhere to stay up north and all the reasonably priced accommodation had been booked) ... well we sort of, kind of, half landed on a decision that maybe just a quick one day trip up north would do.

That's rambler talk for I stuffed up, but I'm not ready to admit it just yet.

This meant an alarm going off at 5.30am, after what seemed like 20 minutes sleep, a rendezvous with Kim in Richmond at 7am, and then a drive north to Hollybank to finally ping the mountain bike trail up there.

And there it was ... right in front of my bloody eyes ...

Trailhead ... at the bus carpark as you enter the reserve. 

The trail is so different on this side.

Fun too.




... but autumn has definitely moved on, and winter is here.

I can't believe it took four visits to finally discover such a short section of obvious track.

Having finally done that though, I'm sure they'll announce tomorrow that work will commence on the $800,000 upgrade of trails that's been announced for the area and 'll be back to square one.

Oh, we also went for a spin along the latest section of the Trevallyn Reserve trail which is now complete (and obviously getting a lot of use), a hoon down some of the older, rougher tracks up that way just to remind ourselves that there's still fun to be had 'old school' style, and then a quick explore of the Icebreaker MTB route.

A late lunch near Kings Park and then it was back home in Hobart by 5pm.