A Liv/giant Odyssey - April 2014


1 2 3 4 5The year is going so fast and the updates get left behind.

I had a great race from a personal level at the Giant Odyssey on the weekend, coming 5th right in the last few kms, to pass Naomi Hansen. The drive to do so was even stronger knowing that I could help secure a top 5 Liv/giant podium if I just believed and never gave up.Even more so special is to be 41, not so fit, yet strong and willing to suffer more than most and come away with a reward of a podium finish with a team of great girls.

In a couple of weeks we are heading off to Alice Springs to do the Ingkerreke MTB Enduro over 5 days. There is always competition, including my own self, the race and the event excites me as I do enjoy emmersing myself into a different work mode.

The lead up to the Giant Odyssey was a bit more relaxed this year, being in April after all the kaos of Australia Day long weekend, Summer trading at both of our retail shops and Easter.
I also had plenty of racing opportunities to see how I would fair for this big event.

All that being said, I still had a crazy work schedule, with 5 weekends in a row working solid with various MTBSkills camps in Buller, Alice Springs, Forrest and a guided ride holiday for 2 Kiwis for a week. At least I was riding, instead of a job caught up in an office!

So when asked if I had room for Jo Bennett, Liv rider from Perth, to stay, I said “Sure!” Jo turned out to be a Godsend, cooking, cleaning, keeping the happy vibes up and just generally wonderful company. We went on a few rides too, which was a heap of fun to show her our gravel – less trails!

This is the second year of the new course, last year I struggled with the final climb up Kaanglang Rd, more so mentally knowing that I had a 7km climb on boring dirt road ahead of me, it did my head in and I cracked it, losing all positions as though I was standing still.
I knew this year this was still my greatest challenge and the spot I could lose the most time to other elite female riders, and so like every other big 100km race, I worked on my head space more than my physical training. 

10258310 10152328872083350 5310303878313430907 nRace morning was cold and dark. We all wondered how we would see the road ahead at 6:40am, however like magic the light appeared and we were off up the road. A good bunch of maybe 20 elite women took to the start ahead of the main 7am start group. Ren (Naomi Williams) was happily working up front, and I took my own advice to sit in mid pack for the 9km of road before we turned off to Haydens Tk.

We hit the sand pit on Haydens and that was it, Rebecca from all I could see, just made a move for it on the grassy verge rather than stay in the sand. The sand was hard packed, but she was going for it. At that point, this is where the big split happened. Amity McSwann and I are no strangers to each others company and both in the 40+ category, we laughed that we would make our moves over the next 50km or so, ticking off riders who went out too hard on the start. And so we rode together with about 4 riders within 200mts up the road. Nice little carrots to establish their strengths against ours as the hills steepened up with fast descents on the other side. Haydens Tk “undulates” in an upwards trend for about 10km.

I found myself move away from Amity, so went with it and found that my legs came good and I started to catch the girls in front, one by one.
By the top of the climb I was with Eliza Kwan and Terri Rhodes. In the first 20km I had made up 4 spots.

Terri made a big gap in the moto single track, not be seen again for a good hour, however I caught Eliza on the Sledgehammer climb, where here 1x11 was obviously not small enough at the front to make it up. Common problem for 1x's.
We were 20 meters or so from each other when back on dirt road, however she kept managing to sit on small bunches of the men coming past for just long enough to get a 200mt buffer on me.

Through the transition of the Forrest footy oval, I grabbed what I needed and knew the single track was where I could make the next move or two up the line.
I caught Eliza in Grasstrees and left her somehwere in the berms of Marriners Run. I then smashed myself on every section knowing I could find another elite woman if I did. I hit J2 smiling, taking every jump (except the gap!), totally loving it so much that when I caught Terri it came as a shock, we rode out of J2 and took the inside line to pass Cristy Henderson. Riding with Terri now meant we had each other to stay honest on the climb out of Transition 2, up the 7km Kaanglang Climb.

Yaugher single track section – 2 more passed!

As we rode, Terri and I agreed we would help each other out on the road, and then see who could make the move. Norm had told me out of transition that Naomi Hansen seemed to be fading and that we had the opportunity to catch her. We never saw her on the climb or down to Lake Elizabeth, nor the Red Carpet. Terri was a minute up from me now, and apparently caught her on the dam wall. I had trails 4, 5 & 6 to go and just like the last single track section, I knew I would do the damage here to catch Naomi and snatch 5th and all Liv podium. I pushed and pushed and saw her just 30 seconds up. Spewing that Kevin Skidmore yelled out “go Jess” as she was on his wheel, there goes my cover!

As I exited trail no. 4, Norm was spectating on the side and whispered quietly, “She's just there, you can do it” and I did swear back to him, knowing I had hard work to do and imagined that I would get her on the double track descent back down the the creek, which I did and took the inside line to exit the gate and passed her.

10329282 10152789910944202 5633149851407684119 nAt that point, I put out everything I had, sprinted out of the saddle up the Yaugher rd climb, sat down for 20 pedal strokes and went again unti I had turned the corner. At this point there was a solid roller that I sapped for everything, and repeated the out of saddle business with both quads and adducters cramping but hey, I can still pedal. I came in knowing I had 5th and secured the podium for the team. That was freaking awesome.

I got off my bike, but could not straighted my legs without my entire legs locking up. So I hobbled out like a nana.

What a great day on the bike.

Rebecca Locke dominated from the first selection at the sand pit for a brilliant 1st, Jo Bennett the 2nd most gorgeous mtb mother of 2 worked solid to get her trademark 2nd, Naomi Williams did not blow up like a mushroom cloud and stayed honest all day to take out 3rd, “Stink” Terri Rhodes faught for 4th and probably had another 100km up her sleeve, and yours truly never gave up for a 5th.

Go Liv/giant!!!!

10301971 10152040234586003 1762131035667929497 nI rode my Liv Obsess hardtail, with 2.1 snakeskin Rocket Rons and 2 x 10 XTR. Faultless of course and such fun to ride. 

Thanks heaps for all your support and especially to Liv/giant, Jo Hall & D-Rudd, Bike Box for the ever faithfull Schwalbe Rocket Rons and Shimano Australia for the bombproof XTR componentry and hot blue MTB shoes!

Results: http://www.multisportaustralia.com.au/Home/Results