Tuesday, March 4, 2008

AyUp Dusk to Dawn Race Report.

I was a little disappointed when the AyUp Dusk to Dawn was postponed due to flooding three weeks ago. The change in date meant I would have to race it with tired, possibly sore legs from the Otway Odyssey – not to mention that Robyn would be 8.5months pregnant and might not let me go! As it happened, my mum helped Robyn out with the kids for the weekend, and I visited a myotherapist for the first time in about ten years to sort my legs out. The last myotherapist I saw told me I should quit competitive sports and join the majority and spend my weekends watching TV. Obviously I didn’t listen to him, but the guy I went to see this time was good - he used acupuncture on me in an effort to relieve my twitching muscles, as he couldn’t do anything with his fingers due to the tenderness. All the pushing up muddy slopes at the Otways left me with a torn left calf muscle and even the night before the Dusk to Dawn I had thoughts about not turning up to the start line.

Waking up the morning of the race I was pleased that the attention I had given my calf had paid off. It was relatively free from pain and I was ready to focus my thoughts on the race. My travel companion and fellow competitor Alex Kiendl and I had the whole day to waste, as the race wasn’t starting until 7pm. I decided I would like to head out on the course and check out the water damage for myself. Dragging Alex along with me, it soon became evident the damage in the lower creek section was not rideable and the course had to take a detour with some tracks being cut, reducing the track length 1km. We ended up getting lost trying to avoid wet shoes and the spider webs strung across the track.

I spent most of the day watching streams of people stopping by the AyUp tent to pick up loaner lights for the event. In the end I think 80 percent of the people who borrowed lights ended up purchasing a set for themselves. This just goes to show how good the product is, but more on that another time.

I was feeling very relaxed as we lined up on the start line as the sun set. The atmosphere at the Queensland events seems to me to be a fair bit more relaxed than Victorian ones. There are not as many fully sponsored riders attending and people come to enjoy the great course and soak up the atmosphere with friends and family. I am approaching this year’s races with a more relaxed attitude and simply enjoy being able to do what I do. So this event was a perfect way for me to begin my 2008 enduro calendar.

The starters horn went off and I watched a dozen or so riders take off from me. I had to re-compose, drop a few gears and push forward as we headed off into the hilly first section of the course. Coming around on to complete lap one, a quick bottle swap and off I went in about 6th place overall. This was going to be the pattern for the next six hours, as the splits I was getting to second solo male were not increasing and he hovered consistently about two minutes down. I didn’t let this bother me and I kept riding what felt like consistent lap times into the wee hours on Sunday morning.

After eight hours on the bike, I came through transition thinking that I didn’t feel any pain, discomfort or tiredness one should feel after riding for such a long time, so I did what I do best and headed out for another lap of the 9km roller coaster MTB track. It wasn’t until the ten hour mark I started to get a substantial gap on the solo field and I then started to think about my bodies condition on the other side of the race and that I was heading home to a very pregnant wife and two kids that needed daddy to run around after them. I started to back off and decided on finishing the race on lap 24. I had some time to waste so I made sure I stopped to thank all the volunteers out on the course for the efforts in cheering me on through the night. Also worth a mention are the amount of team riders and support crew cheering me to go well throughout the race - it just goes to show how nice the enduro MTB community are all over the country.

Special thanks to the efforts of Matt (Kona’s Queensland sales rep) who stayed up all night to make sure neither myself or Alex went without any of our necessities. Thanks also to Andrew Patten from AyUp lights for making us feel special and well looked after all weekend.

Alex and myself ready to go...

On your marks...get set...GO...

Feed zone, about 4am...

Myself with Andrew (founder of Ay Up) and Female solo winner Alex Kiendl


rhino said...

Only smiling in 1 photo...tsk tsk

Anonymous said...

That's because wifey wasn't there!