Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mont 24 Race Report

It was back up to Canberra for yet another 24-hour event. But this time there was a difference. Mont 24 does not have a solo category, so I was blessed to be teamed up with fellow Kona Mt Buller Factory riders Cal Britten, Neil Van Der Ploeg and Ben Randall to ride in the Pro Fours category. Due to the team focus, the event was very competitive with many bike manufacturers trying to put together winning teams.

Neil was very quick in volunteering to ride first, the rolling start was perfect for the many speed demons trying to set blistering lap times around the tight, technical and rough Mt Majura course. Neil found the pace a bit too fast at the front riding a respectful first lap placing us in about sixteenth place. He handed off to Cal who was in fine form, who latter rode the second fastest laps of the entire race, moved us up to the pointy end of the field. Then it was up to me to ride fast; faster than I have in a long time. I can remember thinking as I pushed myself up the bumpy fire road climbs about half way around the course, what the hell have I got myself in for? I can’t sustain this pace for another 23 hours! My lap time showed to me I could ride a respectful pace, even if I am an endurance specialist who two weeks ago rode a solo 24. Ben rolled off last, on his first lap for his new sponsors, he flew around the tough Majura course with the style and flair he is renowned for.

We maintained this team order for the entire race, riding single laps until midnight trying our hardest to minimise the time lost to the two team who were able to pull away from us. This seemed to be the formula which would give us the best possible result. Team GU/Sram, consisting of Australia’s fastest MTB riders, showed the 1,400 riders and 2000+ spectators how it’s done.

Team Felt and ourselves had a tough battle for third place. This battle forced both teams to ride lap on, three off pretty much for the entire event. This formula, whilst the fastest way to compete, takes it’s toll on riders. We were unable to have a decent rest period for the entire event, whilst other teams gave themselves rests by riding double laps, we were pushing our bodies as hard as possible to give us the best chance possible. This tactic paid off as we all rode an extremely consistent race and were rewarded with a podium finish (3rd overall/3rd pro team).

I would like to send out a huge thanks to Ben Jones, Kona’s NSW sales rep. who cleaned and lubed all our bikes before each lap. He fought the desire to sleep to help the team perform to the best of our abilities.

Our support team consisting of Ben Jones and only Ben jones. He kept a close eye on our lap times:

Randall eating some of his huge bowl of pasta.

Neil had a ball, and rode very consistant all day, all night and all day again.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mont24 update...

As you have probably realized, the race is well and truly over. Sorry I didn’t do many updates during the race, I was finding it very difficult because we were riding lap on three off pretty much throughout. As the laps were only 30mins each we only had an hour and a half to cool down, stretch, eat rest, warm up etc. I could not find the time to update my blog.

Anyway, the racing was tight and pretty full on. We held Giant off for about 10 hours then they went full tilt and there was nothing we could do. Felt faded but fought back all night and early morning. They kept us on our toes. We were able to sneak in a final lap with only 4 minutes to go, Felt came in about 2 minutes after the finish. Putting us in third place in pro fours and third place overall.

I will update with a race report in the next couple of days.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

10 down....14 to go.

Still smashing out single laps. Will be doing a double in a couple of hours. Sram/GU still out in front with Giant about 4 mins up on us and Felt about 5 down.

Spirits still high within the team. we are going to go hard to try and catch giant.

ps. Everyone want to use my lights(Ay Up). I hope I have enough for myself.

4 hours in......

We've done 2 odd laps each and are fighting it out with Felt and Giant for second place. Sram/GU are in front and powering.

First lap for me hurt alot, not being use to the full throttle stuff. Second lap was much more comfortable. Looking forward to dusk and kicking back with less traffic on course.

This is Randall smashing out his first lap for the new sponsors.

Mont 24.......ready.......almost.

Well, well, well, here I am again. In Canberra preparing for another 24. This time it’s the Mont at Majura and I’m riding in a pro four team with fellow Kona riders Ben Randall, Cal Britten and Neil Van Der Ploeg. It’s a bit after 9am, only 3 hours before race start and I am watching Neil build his bike. Oh and by the way Neil is our first rider off the blocks. Worried……me……no way.

The course saw a fair amount of rain yesterday, so it is perfect condition. The sun is beaming down and we are looking forward to a mild night.
Atmosphere is building and am looking forward to a great event.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Something New

This weekend Robyn & I went to Perth for my Aunty Babs’s wedding. Babs has been a huge supporter of my riding. Even to the extent she travelled to the US to watch/help me during my world’s campaign.

I’ve never been to the west before, so I saw it as an opportunity to ride a different area. My Uncle Richie lives in WA, he also rides bikes, perfect. I’m trying to make sure I get as much recovery in my legs as possible before riding in the Mont in a pro four team this weekend, so a couple of hour and a half rides between family social events was spot on.

This picture is of Richie overlooking the city from a lookout in Kings Parks. (Nice city Perth, very picturesque).

Friday, October 19, 2007

A few images from last weekend.

Myself and Alex 15 minutes before the start. Relaxed and ready.

The Three Amigos. It was great to catch up with Rhino, he is riding the Croc Trophy next week. Good luck with that one Rhino.

Need I say any more……

I don’t know what all the fuss was about. But boy there was a lot of it.

Yes, it did get cold.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Keeping it interesting....

Recovery has gone extremely well. I always seem to recover better when I race well. Not too sure if I took on a bit much yesterday. It was my first day back on the bike for work, and then I went out on the Fatties ride. That equates to 9 hours in the saddle only three days after the 24. I see why some people have described me as “loco”.

Swimming is something I haven’t done for years (probably about 6 in fact). I use to love getting up at 4:30am 3-4 times a week and chasing the black line for 20-30kms. This term Olivia is doing swimming lessons on a Thursday, so I decided to jump in the lap pool and knock out a few. First 50m felt great (considering I am probable twice the body fat I was back in my hay day) than bang it started to hurt like hell. It’s amazing how our fitness is so specific to the sports we do. I had to persevere and ended up completing a kilometer (all with fin on mind you) in the half hour I had.

It was great to do something different. I can’t see it helping my riding too much, but it’ll keep thing interesting. I think I will try and keep it going all term and see if I notice any difference.

I didn’t think you wanted to see me in Speedo’s (with my riders' tan and all). So here’s one of Olivia at the pool.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Scott 24 race report.

I went into this race very relaxed. It was no longer a Championship event so that pressure was taken away. But it is still the world’s largest MTB event. With 101 riders lining up for the open mens category it was never going to be an easy race.

Solo riders were once again pleased with a rolling start. Thomas Lindrup (NZ) went from the get go. I was happy to sit back in fifth place and let others have their go up front. By lights on transition I was in third place, but with a quick swap of helmet and bike I was back out on course in the lead.

From nightfall through to sunrise I was content to ride my own pace and just roll around. I made comment to my support crew at about 8 or 9 o’clock that I was feeling really fresh and holding myself back. From that stage I knew I could take whatever the other competitors could throw at me to stay in the lead. By 1am I was also in 27th place overall.

At dawn I had one lap up on the field still feeling good. It wasn’t until about 8 or 9 o’clock I felt the lack of training I had done was holding me back and I wanted to get the race over and done with. My support crew informed me 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed riders had been putting in some fast laps, and I needed to keep going. A bit of number crunching was done to see how hard I had to ride and whether another lap was required. I did the extra lap without complaint and finished one lap up on second place Jason English (BMC).

Thanks to my support crew for keeping myself and my bike running flawlessly throughout the event. Also to the many people supporting out on course and from afar over the weekend, it never goes unnoticed. Lastly my sponsors, without you I couldn’t do what I do, thank you.

(Blogger won't let me upload photos, will post some sortly)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Scott 24, Done and Won.

I'm now showered, rested and feeling good. The event was fantastic, a great change from Kowen. As far as racing solo goes the course was one of the toughest I have ever done. Over the two loops we covered 26km, 600 vertical meters and about 50 tight switchback turns. The surface was mostly rocky and moderately technical. I enjoyed the course right down to the final lap. Full race report to follow.

Thanks to everyone who sent their support, it never goes unnoticed and I really appreciate the gesture. Thanks also to Ben for his support, helping Robyn to keep me going, keeping my bikes tuned to perfection and keeping everyone informed on how the race was going.

Ben gets the great job of driving the eight hours back to Melbourne and he does all this without one complaint. Thanks Ben.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


First Prize.....

Alex K 1st

Andrew B 1st

Kona takes the double...

half 8, no sorry, 9am

Bellie first... did i say that before. positions remain the same. About 50 mins up on second, maybe a bit more but essentially it means he's a lap up.

Seems comfortable. didn't believe us when we told him the time difference.

He just stopped for a wardrobe change at 9am and desperate for some Loco Cola... Just a bit, please i can handle it, i really need it, NEED it, justatasteit'llallbefineificanjusthaveataste

Robyn "No"

Done and Done....Bellie rolls out for another lap, sans Coke.

I've got a red nose. Sunscreen they say... Yes i say, applied and reapplied, still burnt... unlucky(old skool ryan...)

So, another 2 laps, maybe 3. This year you can complete your race from 11am and still officially finish, if you know what i mean. No more sending people out at 11:55....

On a side note, Evan Jeffery is now known as Evan Farty Pants Jeffery.

6am i think, what..

Bellie is 37 minutes ahead. Its now daylight.

Feeling kinda strange after not sleeping since some time a few days ago i think.

A Flapping butterfly wind flaps but once to the moon.


0300 hours

Bellie, looking good, eating.....

Alex K still in first too.

Everyone is looking forward to sunrise

#4 Coke is calling

1 am

Black Gold number 3 & 4...

Bellie in 27th place overall.

Still smashing away in first.

Its still cold.


Bellie still in the lead. In good spirits. About 40mins up.

Wind has died down.

Still dusty out.

Its cold.


SO far I've had 2 cans of Coke.

Ryan's being mean to me....

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bellie takes the lead

6 hours in and it was lights on time, bellie had been lapping consistantly all day and with a quick pit to fit lights he was off. Waiting for his next transition we see first place and second place come in with bellie close behind.

In the change from day to night bellie took the lead.

Its now 8 hours ride time, lights are on, we've put more walls on the tent and bellie is cruising around in first.

On a side note, Alex Kiendl, Kona's female solo enduro rider, is also in first and looking comfortable.

Kona going for the double victory??


Bellie just rolled through transition, quote "I'm feeling far too fresh, i'm trying to hold back, I'll just keep riding ok..."


4 hours in...

So far so good.... Bellie is looking comfortable sitting in second we think. Hydration and food intake seem to be going well. Robyn and i are getting the hang of a slightly complicated transition area.
2 seperate loops, red and blue, 2 seperate transition areas, one tent.
The wind has picked up again but with minimal clouds in the sky we probably wont see a repeat of last nights flooding!
More updates if we can spare the time.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Here at last

Ben & I left Melbourne last night & drove for a few hours before pulling over next to the highway to sleep with the hum of trucks going past every minute (see pic below). Not a good nights sleep, but it'll do.

Made it to the race site this morning. Very windy. Very cold at night. Just stuffing around now .. but I'm ready to race.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Heading north

Last nights Fatties ride was a bit of a strange one. The warmer weather brought everyone out of the wood work. With this came a ride with more mechanicals than I have ever seen on this ride in over 5 years. I finished by pushing one of the regulars the last km or so (I now know how you felt a few years back thanks Rhino). I wasn’t feeling the best last night, I think it was due to the fact I hadn’t worked all day and I missed out on my normal 8-9hr warm-up. When those boys put the power down, the pace at the front is very hot. Sorry no photos, to busy chewing the bars.

Today I am packing for the dreaded drive north the Canberra for the Scott 24hr this weekend. Tonight myself and Ben Randall will get a few hours under the belt and finish it off by lunch time tomorrow. If you’re heading up for the event pop in to my pit tent and say g’day.

Kona anyone? Still one more on top of this lot.

Done. A fair load indeed. With a camper trailer on the back to boot.

For anyone interested, we are going to do some blog posts during the event to let you know how things are going. We are expecting a close to 0C for Sayurday night, should be fun.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Then there were two

Yesterdays ride home from work had me racing a large black cloud. It was breathing down my neck like you would not believe. Knowing I was heading out for more punishment in the hills in the morning, I didn’t want to push too hard having already been on the bike for nine hours. It was a draw - the rain catching me at the front gate.

The rain came down for most of the night. My alarm rang out at 6am, but I was content to stay under the covers considering it was still raining outside. 6:30 came around and I thought I had better get out of bed and at least check the radar map. All looked pretty clear, so I had to start rushing to get ready to meet at 7. An SMS from Ash Thomas (this months Freewheel superstar) gave me an extra 10 minutes.

As it turned out, only Ash and I fronted up, so we decided to head out towards Kinglake. From there we hit Whittlesea and copped a strong head wind all the way back to Melbourne, so we made a few stops to brake the monotony.

Ash feeding his face at Kinglake bakery. He figured he deserved nothing but the best. Mmm donut.

There are some things you just should not find at sporting grounds. It’s a shame some people think they need to sink this low to get ahead in their chosen sport. Shame, shame, shame.

These little guys were having a ball. We had to stop and have a closer look. Think I’ll be taking Jay along one day.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Selfless Promotion

If you had your head deep in a MTB magazine last month and didn’t get around to reading Alpha, here’s an article that caught my eye.

The contents page is my favorite. Who is that guy at the top?
Click images to enlarge.

Was pretty happy with this one. MTB doesn't often hit the mainstream. Robyn’s persistence paid off. Alpha has a 600,000 circulation.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Good one Randall

I am pleased that fellow tough guy and long time riding buddy, Ben Randall, is joining the Mt Buller Kona Factory Team. After showing everybody how it’s done at the Subaru 12hr last month, he has more than proven he deserves the gig. His first ride on the team will be at the Mont 24hr later this month alongside myself, Cal, and Neil in the Pro Four category.

The team now seems complete, with Ben, Cal, Neil and Russell racing enduros as a team and myself and Alex racing solo. Looking forward to a great summer of racing ... and riding with you in something less retro, buddy!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Nice legs

Legs are still smashed from Saturdays hills. What am I thinking, there is no way I will be ready to race the Scott 24 in two weeks. Yes that's right folks, I'll be racing solo at the Scott. At work today all I could do was turn them over with no intensity. At least the weather was better than Friday.

I was doing some shopping at Anaconda yesterday and who should I bump into. What a nice looking bloke.