everything from Jan 2008 until March 2008



Norm and I ran our first of many MTB skills sessions on the weekend at the You Yang's.  We had 8 excited people raring to go.  Everything went well, apart from everyone getting a bit tired toward the end of three and a half hours, we could have spent all day there going over as well as learning new skills.  I had a ball and loved seeing the participants do things they did not believe they could.  It is also a personal challenge to break down the skills into a teachable manner.  This is the hardest part for sure!

Our next skills session is at the You Yang's on 1st March. 

Then we have a women's only group at Lysterfield on 29th March which is sold out and a guys group in the afternoon with a few vacancies left.

Finally we will also be having one in Forrest on 26th April.  This will be a fun one for us, close to home and lots of local knowledge. 

We will also be running some night riding courses(lights supplied), all day courses and camps.

Stay tuned on www.mtbskills.com.au





Before you ask…I was soft and did not want to play the game on the weekend.

Firstly, we had 3 days of solid rain prior to the race.  There has not been much rain at all since before Christmas in the area.

I am a local now, I have ridden the trails and 4wd roads heaps.  My house is visible from the course on 2 occasions. My home town advantage was actually a disadvantage.  I knew way too much, which was bad for this race! 

Arriving at Apollo Bay at 6:45 am, still a bit dark, not too cold, but definitely wet. The ride out of Apollo Bay was fine, bunches of riders, easy to sit on somewhere and not have to work too hard at all. Left at Wild Dog ride and the climb starts.  The sound of gears changing as the incline grabs a hold of bike and rider.I was trying to work out where I was in the field and figured I was coming around 5th or 6th as we climbed up Busty Road.  Started to see Jaci Lowe, Deanna Blegg and Alex Kiendl.  Stayed with them along the road section. Really going out hard and a bit nervous for it too. 

Second 10kms, hell on mud.  Bye bye girls…have a good day…as they seemed to handle the muddy conditions extremely easily. Think Kododa trail, no fuzzie wuzzies to carry your bike though! I am serious, we just kept walking uphill in mud with bikes for a very extended period of time.  I think from Apollo Bay to Skenes Ck/Apollo Bay Rd took me 1:50 minutes. Riding time was probably 50 minutes with the rest walking through mountain goat terrain…or should I say ‘slipping up hill’.

Many riders starting experiencing cramping in the calves and wheels and shoes were caked in mud. Lower back was aching and arms were buggered. People started passing me as I dug a hole for self and then I really started playing games with myself, “yep, you are shit, look at that tosser passing you, he is shit and you are even shitter!”  Then all the girls that I had stayed in front of started passing me.  And that was like, “just go home Jess, just finish the next 20km and go home, have a bath, and go to the finish line and cheer everyone on, you are entitled to a DNF once a year, just do it”.  Then I saw Norm at one of the check points and he said that I was only a few minutes behind Alex and the likes and to keep going, stay strong, blah blah blah!  Bugger you NORM!

So I continue along, still hating myself, with my rear hub screeching and screaming on every downhill.  This was not affecting my riding but putting me off a lot.  It happened in the 24 hour and has happened a couple of times since.  Apparently it is an ongoing problem with Cross Max hubs.  Oh well.  Too late now.  So I passed many more people on the downhills, starting to feel happy.  Downhills were really slippery, with 4wd wheel ruts everywhere waiting to grab a hold of a wandering rear wheel.  Tonnes of people were going over handlebars as they were going way too fast.  Broken collar bones, dislocations and lots of sprains and strains were accounted for.  Ambulance sirens filled the air for the rest of the afternoon. Did I forget to mention that cramps were coming and going constantly.  I don’t believe I was drinking or eating enough. 

Mentally, I just was not focused on the task at hand.  The legs were playing an orchestra of varying pain levels and many different chords and notes.  It was a delight to finally get out of the 4wd trails and back onto Kaanglang Rd, with a nice fast bit of single track and then onto Red Carpet.  The same nice sweeping downhill from last year. I got to the bottom and could see my house.  Ouch.  I was keen to go home.  I stood there with bike for about 3 minutes deliberating on what to do. 

Oh well, I will just keep going, but I will finish when I get back to the oval!  That kept me happy knowing that I would do this. Saw Norm a few km’s later at the top of the dam entrance and he tells me everyone is suffering, keep going, single track is your favourite, go and have fun. 

Bugger you again Norm. 

So off I go to do trails 4, 5 and 6.  Then back to the Forrest Footy Ground.  Norm was not there waiting for me, now I was shitty, as I wanted to pull out again.  So I waited about 4 minutes before he finally showed up.  He gave me some food and drink and hooked me up with Mike Tong who came through at this very time(Clonard College teacher), talk about a GOD SEND literally!  We went and did the Yaugher Super loop together and life was getting better.   Started to come good and talking again.  I was not very conversational for the previous 65kms.  Actually a little rude!  Sorry to all those who were trying to be nice and positive!

So when we came through to finish off the final section, I finally did not ask Norm if I could finish now.  I actually had a swig of coke and was off, actually hurrying Mike along, saying “lets go”.  Mike and I were making big ground and passed lots of riders on the final 13km section.  After entering the awesome piece of single track connecting Thompson and Newcombe Spur I had a mechanical.  The straw that almost broke the camels back!  I heard a ‘ping’ and thought that was a weird sound as I was freewheeling down hill with no pressure on chain.  Went to take a pedal stroke and had no tension, thought it must have been chain suck, back pedaled and definitely no tension because there was no chain!  I had broken my chain.  10 minutes later I was on my bike again. 

Thanks Mike for fixing it for me, I don’t think I could have managed on my own.  I was flustered big time and would not have had the ability to break the chain and re thread and link it up.  Too much hard work!

If I had not stopped and mucked around, and also had the mechanical, I reckon I could have done about 7 hours 45 mins.  However, I did 8 hours 10 mins.But …I finished!  Thanks to Norm and Mike.  A home town advantage did not work as I knew where I was, I knew where my house was.  That was not good!

I came 14th overall in the open women.Time to toughen up. 

I have the fitness and can ride my bike.  I have just lost a bit of gusto and ‘just do it’ attitude.

It might be an opportune time to do an adventure race or something similar.  Might start running again to improve my hike a bike skills!

Thanks to all the well wishers along the way, I heard my name heaps but could not see who you all were. 

Check out http://www.rapidascent.com.au/Results/OtwayOdyssey2008Summary.asp?e=1 for results.


living in Forrest


Hi to all you patient readers...

life is a struggle sometimes, and now is no exception.  Not because its not worth living, or that everything is too hard, just that there is a bloody lot of obstacles being put in my way over the past month or so.  I am sure that God has some awesome plan at the end of it all.  Right now day to day living is "how many bricks can I break off this 10 ft high and wide fence?" 

On the other hand, life is great, amongst all the adversity and hard slog, there is pure gold being put on a platter for my taking.  Norm Saskia and me moved to Forrest for a new way of life and whilst we were breaking down a brick wall or two to get here, the rewards have been worth it.  I wake up in the morning to the sound of cockies, kookaburras, and a few roosters around the neighbourhood.  There is often mist in the surrounding hills that lifts by around 8:30am.  Saskia loves her new school and looks like she will be straight back into netball again with Colac.  Norm is getting tonnes of web developement work, which is great for doing work at home.  Oh and the broadband is sensational, if only we could get a fax working and a bit of mobile phone coverage we would be in heaven!

Oh...did I mention that there is a purpose built network of MTB trails for those of you with your heads in the sand?  I spent the first week and a half riding every day.  overtraining as you would if you were in my shoes.  I have ridden every trail at least once and will repeat the effort to some degree on Saturday at Otway Odyssey.

Oh yeh, so this is part of the gold on the platter.  The bricks and the wall...well, my website has been up the s*#t as you may have realised.  Travel into Geelong for some work that I still do there costs a fortune and takes 2 hours out of my day.  Wondering when I will need a new car! 

This is however the price you pay for paradise, which is why so many people stay in hell places like major cities.  Does anyone know what is good to grow in a vegetable garden at this time of year?  Running into Colac-30 mins away is not a good option when you run out of stuff.


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