May-June...and July 2011. An update - Finally!!!!

21 July 2011

Jess Douglas Race Report

May-July 2011

May 16th - 20th : Alice Springs Enduro.

alice_springs7 Stages/5 days.

Overall GC Female Elite winner ...a handy prize pool of $2.5K!!!

The decision to go to Alice Springs and race for 5 days was more of a holiday mixed with racing.  Warm sunshine in May, the chance to socialise with other cyclists and with the added bonus of going back to your hotel and going to sleep for 8hrs.

Stage 1: Starting out conservatively, this race was only 49km and I had not pre ridden any trails. I had heard the trails were rocky, sandy and lots of opportunities to puncture.

As I found my groove on the terrain, I started to catch riders and ultimately close in on Anna Beck, the first placed female of the day.  Anna came in 2mins up on me and yet at the end of this stage I had a tonne of energy that I had conserved.  Note to self, go hard tomorrow and win.

Stage 2: 39km.  Once again, sand, dust, rocks, puncture material everywhere. Aims, ride hard, but conservatively at the same time. Choose the right lines, look ahead, no risk taking …and win!

A totally bad start and ended up having to pass loads of riders on a red dusty sandy 4wd track that followed the railway line.  10mins in and I was easing into the race and could just see Anna over the hill on every undulation.

Riding was fun and once again felt pretty good.  Had to decide 20km in that it was time to put the gas down and low and behold in about 500mts I was surprised to see Anna around the corner and I was on her wheel, holding back for the right chance to pass.  She made a bad gear change, dropped a chain…and then the lead was mine.  Flat chat to the finish I dared not look back.  I won this stage and put 1.5mins into her.  Anna still the GC winner.

Stage 3. 300mt timed climb up Anzac Hill.

Not my strength, and decided that I was better off not burning my candles and just went at 80% - finished 3rd and felt that conservation was worth it.

Stage 4. 77km – Endurance Day!!! My day.

Knowing I had loads of energy to burn, I wondered what the other girls were feeling, thinking or planning.  Jo Wall was 3rd, I was still 2nd and Anna had the very visible Yellow jersey on.  I took a warm up trundle up the first climb to suss out the right line for the start.  It was only 300mts up the road, about 60mts of climbing with a big rut in the middle.  I decided to that I would take the right line even though early on it was not as smooth, it opened up at the top and allowed for passing etc…

It was the right decision as we were underway Jo and Anna were neck and neck up the climb on the left side, and could not attack me as I overtook on the right. Over the top, slip it into the big chain ring and I was off. Never to look behind me for the next 20mins. I never went into the red, but held it right on the limit.  77km – desert heat (lucky its late autumn) and 2 x 700ml bidons, 4 gels and a bar…that’s what got me through. No stopping at feed zones. Valuable seconds saved.  To my delight I was on my own in the windy paved path for approx 15km, then hit a road that said Individual Time Trial over it.

A local bike shop owner, Corey, warned me that if I should get to this section alone, to sit up and wait to regroup.  I thought about that for 1 second and instead focussed on catching the group ahead.  10km later I was in a bunch of 4 that were approx 1km up the road.  Still feeling good, 25km to go I knew I could win…but by how much?  Totally smashed myself today and put about 8-9mins into Anna Beck.  I was now the overall GC leader as well as stage winner.  All I had to do know was play it cool, no crashes, no mechanicals.

Stage 5: 23km Individual Time Trial

Yep, busted myself yesterday….and it showed.  Normally on a flat 1-2km section I can ramp it up and enjoy the ride, but I just could not get my legs on top of the gears.  It hurt, I could not get power.  This is what it felt like the whole race.  I did not like being passed by those behind me, and it was even worse not to pass anyone in front of me.  Thank goodness I had a buffer now.  I think I came 3rd in this stage.

Stage 6: 23km Night Race on the TT circuit.

The technical winding single track with limited passing opportunities was to be our night race, with a mass start.  Feeling better, I knew that getting into the single track ahead of competition was essential.  Not to be, I had a few people pass me that held me up big time in the single track, but it’s my fault.  Accidents were happening all over the place with secret rocks in the grass taking out riders.  Soon it would be me. At about 30kmph, I hit an invisible rock and got catapulted over the bars, landing on my head – boom, broken helmet, but I got up and hopped back on the train 3 places back.  Not 1 min later Anna crashed and I was part of the train that passed her.  Cranky moods, impatient riders, tight tracks made for a dismal stage.  I won none the less and gained back my lost time from earlier on.

Stage 7: 40km – same same…single track and sand.

I was not worried about my position so much today but more the tactic I was going to use.

Finish with no crashes, no mechanicals and ride smooooooooooooooooooooothhhh.

I knew that Anna would not beat me by 8 mins unless I did in fact invite the crash or side wall tear.  So my HR was lower and I finished 2 mins down on Anna.

However it mean I won the whole event!!!!

Who would have known that a 24hr solo champ could race 7  short races over 5 days?

My XTR wheels, gears and brakes where faultless over the terrain for the 5 days.

No adjustments were made whilst racing and barely did the bike get a once over apart from a wipe over and a lube.

 

June 5th - Forrest 6hr Enduro with Giant Real Rider comp.forrest_6hr

Winner with Eliza Eldridge - Bassett in Female Pairs.

We WON!!! - another handy $750 for winning.

 

The story:

With a mix of good ideas, good sponsors like Giant, Shimano, Pearl Izumi & Oakley a competition was held to get a willing female to join forces with me at the Forrest 6hr.

Eliza Eldridge – Bassett was the deserved winner indeed and made full use of all the opportunities thrown at her.

Eliza and her dad came down the weekend before and did a skills session with MTBSkills in Forrest. So we had the pleasure of meeting her then and took them for rides on the proceeding days.

The next weekend she was down for the competition.

 

The race:

I told Eliza that there was no other expectations other than No crashing or mechanicals, so ride within your ability and be consistant.

Oh…and we must win!

Eliza did first lap, and from then on we swapped each lap. Eventually after a few laps of being down on 1st place, we took over as my lap times took time out of the other team.

Eliza had a great time, I loved racing pairs with such a good chick and the support of Giant at the race too.  The great thing now is that whilst this was Eliza’s first race, it’s not her last and she has some big plans to go further.

 

June 11th, 12th & 13th - Northern Combine Road Race 3 Day Tour.

3 days, 4 stages.  GC 4th A grade women.

Still in the money but road racing is so stingy.

 

Cold windy freezing days riding on the roadie around Kyneton region in Victoria.

I sort of love these kind of events where you suffer silently for 3 days.

With no expectations in A grade women, I started to realise I could work for a 3rd place if I could just suffer 1% more on Sunday.  I tried, but the other 3 girls had one up me and dropped me by a few metres on top of a climb before a descent with a head wind. I worked for about 5km to catch them and then with 15 km to go, decided it was best to push hard and not the rest catch me.  Happy to come away with a 4th…next time I might decide to train for one of these events and improve my road racing.  So that’s the plan!

 

June 19th - Townsville HOT rock 8hr MTB Enduro.

Won the open female & would have come 3rd Open men.

No cashola but product and vouchers. loads of fun in the sun for a change.

 

So the word was out to beat Jess Douglas – all the local men and boys were out to see if they could beat me…so I made that my goal too…how many boys could I beat?

With plenty of sunshine and a chance to ride everyday with not much sleep, I was worried about my preparation and taper for this event.

 

Also I had not ridden 8hrs on the MTB in one chunk in a long time. I had raced 24hr, but how do I pace an 8hr?

The day started at 7:30am, its North Qld and the habit is to do things early before the heat of the day.  I was really loving the track, no mechanicals but just a small crash into some rocks. Got a chance to say hi to heaps of people out on the trail and really had a ball.

Winning was a bonus, because the track and just being out there racing was reward enough.

I want to come back next year. Townsville rocks.townsville_rocks

 

June 26th - Colac Road Race

Combine Event 70km Handicap.  Came 4th overall.

July 1st - Colac Club road race

33km Handicap. 2nd Overall.

July 9th - Colac Club Road Race

33km Handicap. 4th Overall.

 

Whats next?

  • Racing this weekend at the Melbourne to Ballarat - Road Race Handicap event. 23rd July
  • Next weekend - Blores Hill (Gippsland) 6hr MTB enduro - racing solo female.
  • ...the next biggie is Mawson Marathon on 20th of August. 367km non stop MTB race from Blinman to Melrose. Racing this with Niki Fisher.

Media Promotions:

    1. June 2011,  Australian Mountain Bike Magazine – Centrefold Poster/calendar.
    2. #19 Enduro Magazine.  Coverage of various races and lots of pics.
    3. July / Aug Australian Mountain Bike Magazine – Not out yet, but an article on the Hot Rock 8hr in Townsville.
    4. August Outer Edge Magazine – not out yet, but an article on MTBSkills – tutorials.