Terra Australis MTB Stage Race - Day 2

30 March 2011

terra_day_2Day 2 Terra Australis
Falls Creek to Dinner Plain

 

On paper these things always look easier than they are…Just climb a bit, bust a gut on the aqueduct, smash it out hard on the roadie section and just do a bit of hike a bike, roll down the other side, up a few more climbs and before you know it there’s Dinner Plain.

Yes, it was exactly what I just said with a few elements of surprise in between.

Firstly, riding to Windy Corner for our race start, is it just the altitude or do I just feel like crap? Brad is talking to me about todays race tactics and I am thinking, yep…I will just do what I can, not sure what that entails just yet.

 

Two days in a row is not bad, I have done this before, this is not new territory, I know how to suffer but I just don’t feel that I can go with the pace early on today.
I told Brad that I think it will take a good 30 mins to feel decent.

 

The race started and within 2 mins I was off the back, slight steady incline had me cooked before I could tell Brad I was falling off the bunch.
Should I have warmed up better, am I really that shit? Oh dear people are passing me like I am standing still.

I can feel my throat ceasing up and a wheezing sound is all I can muster, feeling faint headed and a hot but dead feeling fills my entire being. Mind says go, legs say NO!  What’s worse I sound like someone with emphysema and many alarmed riders let Brad know that I sound bad as they pass me and catch up to him.

 

I am sure many a reader can relate to a feeling when you know you can give more but its just not translating on the bike. People pass you like you are standing still and you just cannot respond. Frustrating I tell Brad I hope I come good and I will keep trying and I am sorry I can’t kick again.

 

The first sniff of a downhill and I am onto it, brakes off and flying, soaking up every bump, milking every meter for whatever it has on offer.  Its here that I start to pass a few people and then we hit the flat aqueduct and smack out some fast kms. Eventually we reach the bitumen where Brad continues his Mac Truck style of powering through the miles. I am lucky to be sitting on his wheel, reminding him to keep the pace steady or risk overcooking me.

 

Before you know it we catch a bunch fluffing around and the pace is instantly lifted another 10km + per hour with Brad on the front. We are rewarded with sweet downhill and flowing corners, down down and more down…

hike_a_bikeEventually it comes to an abrupt halt with a right hand turn up a steep hike a bike section that we all try to ride for at least 40mts! Just so Russ can take pics of us riding now walking! I have been warned not to bother busting it up here and the entire group of 15 or so seem to agree that this is time to walk.

 

As we crest the hill and hop back on our bikes, something funny happens not to far into the descent. So we are in the bush on an old very unused 4WD double track, with bushes brushing you either side, rocks, sticks, trees, logs, branches and many more obstacles. A few riders were coming off or experiencing mechanicals in this area.

Now Brad Davies, my little Mac Truck roadie boy is having a great time trail blazing ahead of me and I trusted his line as we went. I heard him yell out “Stick” and had to catch up and ask him if I had heard correct??? Did he just warn me of the fact that there was a stick on the ground? Yep…he did! It was hilarious as there were about 10 thousand sticks to be negotiated but the roadie in him could not help it.

 

Brad and I were making great progress and only a couple of minutes down on the Torq teams by now…until…the dreaded mechanical comes to tap us on the shoulder.  Totally random I get a side wall tear on my rear tyre. Big huge and long, unrepairable really but thankfully Brad is carrying a spare tyre.

Now all this is going along great, until we find out that both the Co2 adapters are not working, so we can’t get quick high pressure air into our new tube to get going again.  Pumping the normal old fashioned way is tough and we cant get the tyre to seat in the rim. Sick of trying, we decide to push on, and yep…not to far into it I get a pinch flat.  
This time I ask for help with C02 and the tyre seats and we pump it up to 40psi!  I don’t run tubes and did not want to risk another pinch flat.

 

For a while there Brad and I were just zoned out a bit waiting for the racing mojo to return, and once through the hardest deadest spot of the race in a grassy paddock that gave you nothing, we pushed on again with gusto.  We started to sniff other riders out that had passed us, catching them, and moving on.   Eventually with only a few kms to go we caught up to Meg and Peter and pushed on to pass and hold them off to the very end.

Oh my dear that final 4kms of racing was tough, it was mostly up and I was toast already.

 

Arriving at Dinner Plain we had lost out lead and were now 17 mins down on our rivals, the Torq team of Fenner and Jo.

With a new tyre to buy, new C02 adapters as well and bikes to clean Brad and I were busy for the next couple of hours.

A late night, one stop over in Dinner Plain and off to Bright tomorrow.

Todays data:

93.5km

2686 elevation gain