August - not long until the World Solo 24hr Champs now...

jess-douglas-brucknel-3-hourThe weeks are flying by now and I have to look at my diary to remember what I did yesterday and what I have on tomorrow.

Races, training rides and work seem to blurring together as the bike and I seem to be glued together.

The washing machine and dryer is just constantly going with cycling gear being washed and re-used sometimes twice a day.

Forgetting to book massages is driving me crazy, getting 8hrs sleep, eating the best foods I can, managing my house, family, teenage daughter, paying bills, planning and running the business, managing to eat ice cream every now and again, seems to be like a peace keeping mission on a daily basis.

I am not sure that I would have it any other way...but often wonder how the other people live???

So what have I been up to?

  • Training on the roadie and MTB.  Yep, I have been managing this despite the rain and cold weather.  Love my Kinetic Indoor trainer and my rollers from heaven. Even been heading out to spin classes in Colac for some social riding.
  • Racing - 24hr SOLO at Merida 24hr in Qld on the 24th and 25th July.  3hr Enduro run by Warrnambool MTB Club at Brucknell Scout camp...solo of course!  About to race Chase the Sun round 3 with Belinda Harrison in Female Pairs at Lysterfield this weekend.  Hope to do a couple of local club road races when I get some legs and time back on my hands.  Then finally for this block finish off on the Bendigo Golden Triangle Epic 100km Marathon, cant wait!
  • MTB skills clinics and camps.  Norm and I have been delightfully flat out with these, and just finished running an Endurance camp this weekend in Forrest.  3 x 4hr blocks of progressively intense training blocks...all in one day.  Finishing off with a night ride and getting to bed at 1am on Sunday morning.  not the kind of thing you would do by yourself, ended up being a fantastic weekend of training for all involved.

So here we are on Monday August 9th, 9 weeks to go until my big goal of the year....24hr World Solo MTB Champs at Mt Stromlo in Canberra.  Last year I came 4th under not so perfect conditions for myself, including total lack of sleep and inability to have adapted to the time differences by race day and I do think I was underdone for the event.  This year, pressure is on, all I can do is my best of what I have.  My mind, legs, heart and lungs, body and bike are all going forward in the best possible condition right now...just need to keep going with small purposeful steps to get there safely and timely.

On that note, its time to debrief you and me on the Merida 24hr Solo effort a couple of weeks ago.

MERIDA 24hr - 24th 25th July - Spicers Hidden Vale

I had planned to head up to Qld for a bit of sun, R& R with my sister and brother in law at Noosa the week before.
It was perfect although I was hesitant to leave the comforts of my own home and all the work I knew I had to do on the computer etc...

Arriving on the sunshine coast on Monday 19th July, I was greeted by Ricky and nephew Michael.  Not hot, but certainly warmer than Victoria.  The day was spent just chatting and unpacking, preparing my spare bike for some social rides over the next couple of days.  Nikki my sister in law kept cooking us great meals every day!

Tuesday 20th July we headed off for a bit of trails and fire roads to Pomona with a coffee break and speedy return trip.
Wednesday 21st July was a marvellous single track ride in some local Noosa trails for a few hours.  Totally different riding to anything I have done before.  Roots and more roots, beautiful sweeping trails using every inch of the hill sides to make the ride sweet and memorable, encouraging you to climb again and repeat for some more of the same!  Michael and I were in heaven today, really smiling from ear to ear.
Thursday 22nd July, Ricky, Michael and I did a social circumnavigation the the mtbs and bike tracks around the Noosa area with coffee as well!  A nice social paced spin to set up the mind and body for the 24hr on the weekend.

So on Friday we headed off to the race - did a couple of praccy laps with Nikki and Michael who ended up winning the mixed pairs on Sunday! 
My first thoughts were how fast some of the sections were.  I was at the time unsure how this would translate on a 24hr SOLO scale.  The climbs were mostly dirt roads, 4wd tracks and access trails around the property border.  This was actually really good, you could settle into a manageable tempo and there was plenty of room for faster riders to pass on these sections.  Most of the climbing sections were punctuated with mild downhills and flats with opportunities to drink stretch and also pick up the pace in the Big chain ring.

There was one crazy fast section that lasted maybe 10 mins about 1/2 way through the lap.  It had rocks, off camber sweeping bends, logs, and of course more rocks.  Being so fast, I sort of knew this would be harsh come the final 6hrs of the race...and it did.
After the middle climb of a 2wd dirt road you rode along a fence line track that had loads of rock sections along it.  After a newly graded sandy horribly slow section of the road, the undulations presented some very very fast roller coaster rides to be had.  As sore as I got come day 2, I could not slow down and did not want to either...the pain of the bone rattling trails was well worth the extra speed for free you could get.  Often I would catch people who were faster on the sandy section before hand.  After you passed the aeroplane and the crazy fast rocky sections, there was even more crazy fast trails to be pumped for all they were worth.
Sweeping and flowing in and out of a creek bed, using the terrain to push you down and up and down and up, there was barely any pedaling to be done here.  But as soon as you got to the bottom of the trail it opened up onto a literally snaking bedded down piece of track about 40 cm wide which was very very very fast and gradually downhill for at least another 5 mins.  Difficult to pass due to the big edge on the side of the trail though.
Finishing off the lap was a techie rocky goat track climb which I quite enjoyed.  I must re iterrate the pleasure to be seated and climbing after at least 50% of each lap being out of the saddle absorbing all the bumps and pumping the track for what its worth.

It was really quite amazing how fast time went.  For the first few hours I was about 10 mins or so up on Rachel Edwards then it blew out as we progressed past the 6hr mark.  I just kept coming through and kept going out.  Lap after lap, certain sections would come up very quickly and I would think to myself, "are we there already AGAIN?"

My thoughts each lap were pretty much to do with what lap I was actually on.  As it was I was out of synch by 1 lap.  I would ride along and just repeat periodically "seven, seven, seven...." for the time it took to do a lap.
The laps were about 14.5km long and with only a small number of riders, the laps were often quite lonely, but there were a number of laps where I got to talk and ride with many riders.  This makes such a difference!

I remember at 10pm I was thinking "shit, I am not even half way yet", then all of a sudden I had hit the 3am wall of hurt and started to count down the hours to the finish.

Norm found out for me that I could finish whenever I felt like it.  We got the news that I was five laps up and even if Rach went out again, she could not beat me.  As we had a plane to catch - 2 bikes to pack, and gear to pack, we decided I would finish with 2hrs to go on 25 laps.

Upon finishing I pretty much got changed and showered straight away and had a bit of a nap.
The plane trip was tough, 2hrs of mini 5 min snoozes.  I slept through the take off for the first time ever.
Norm and I had been up since 7am Saturday and it was now 7:55pm Sunday.  36 hrs later we were able to catch some good sleep even if it was only for 5 mins at a time.

As naughty as it sounds, Norm and I drove home, well Norm did. I slept and he stopped whenever he needed to and set his alarm for a 10-20 min nap.
We finally got home at 2am and went straight to bed for the best sleep I have ever ever had!

A fun race, great people there.
Got to chat with Jase English on a lap and Ben and I got to watch Jase go past on his cracker 36 min lap on day 2 as well.

Stan Miriklis qualified as did Ben Culton.  Well done boys.


Ok, time for some work. updates done...Speak soon!

Jess x

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