avanti plus six hour

Hidden vale single track


Thursday, August 5, 2010

quick catch up.

Okay, so it's been a while since my last post, not really much of an excuse, just a bit slack. Since my last post i have completed two races. The first one was the Avanti Plus Six Hour out at Cunungra and two weeks ago the Merida 24hr Solo which was held out at Hidden Vale.

The Avanti Plus Six Hour started off well. I'd had heaps of rest up until race day. I felt good, the bike was all sorted, and as for the weather, well we couldn't have asked for any better. The gun went off at 9am and the first five laps were awesome. I was having a ball. I was top five and feeling good. Then, just as i was climbing up the second hill in lap six, i snapped my chain.

I ran back into transition and swapped bikes but it had cost me a fair bit of time so i put the hammer down and tried to get back to my top five position asap, [BIG MISTAKE]....and i might just add that the one lap i had to do on my old Cannondale was hell. I was trying to shoot through all the same lines that i was hitting on my Tomac Carbide and my body was not appreciating it.

Anyway my super slick crew that was headed up by Grant from Action Cycles and John from Australian Aerospace had my Carbide up and running by the start of lap seven and my butt was grateful for the rear suspension.

So not really thinking about what i was doing i spent the next couple of laps smashing round the track in gears that i shouldn't have been in and pushing way to hard. Let me just say that i made up positions really fast but in doing so, i started to throw up all i had eaten so far and anything i tried to eat for the rest of the race. I had sent my stomach into turmoil. I couldn't even hold my gel in. I had 1.5 hours to go and i was feeling like hammered shit to say the least.

By some miracle I managed to hold onto fourth place for the race but i know that if i had of just kept my cool when i snapped my chain, i would have done much better. Lesson learnt; but i'm pretty sure i will be in that position again some day.

Merida 24 solo worlds qualifier.

One of my goals i set myself when Rodney and Bec from Supersports/ Tomac Australia hooked me up with my Tomac Carbide Sl was that i wanted to complete and place well in a 24 solo.

I chose the Merida 24 hr at Hidden Vale to be my first solo 24. The event was a qualifier for the world 24 hour so we could expect alot of serious riders out there. Was i freakin' out?.... umm yep.

Natalie, Jaryn and myself rocked out to the race by about 10 o'clock and met up with the usual crew, Bozz and the guys had the kick ass looking Tomac tent set up; the pit lane looked amazing. The gang from Tailwind had outdone themselves with the set up.

I spent the last hour before the race just going over my lights and food and stuff trying to keep the nerves at bay, and before we knew it we were on the start line and the countdown had begun, the gun went off and the butterflies i had been carrying around in my stomach all morning vanished.......

...and so did the fast guys! It was hard to just let people ride away from me but i had to keep telling myself to just chill out and pace it. It is going to be a long race and i didn't know what to expect.

The first six hours seemed to disappear, before i knew it it was dark and i was feeling really strong. I could see that other riders i knew were slowing down. I was easily passing soloists that had passed me earlier, but it just made me feel a bit uneasy. I still felt great and it left me thinking should i slow down; Do they know something i don't?! Probably, but i just kept my rhythm and the hours just dissolved. My crew was keeping my stomach happy with a smorgasbord of nice things to munch on and the friendly banter on track was really helping the time fly. I couldn't believe it when Al told me that it was 2.30 in the morning.

I had absolutely no idea what position i was in. I think the lap timetables were a little bit confusing. But i didn't care either - I was just riding my own race, and having a good time.

At about 3.30 am my stomach started to give me a bit of trouble, but it didn't last for long. Just before sun up i hit a bit of a wall so i started to smash into some more food and a couple of pieces of pizza and a tuna sandwich, thrown down with a squeeze of goo, and a half dozen snake lollies and i was charging. The rest of the race went well i didn't have any of the dark times that people talk about, sure the last few laps were hard but that's to be expected after smashing out over three hundred kms before breakfast. My crew managed to stay happy all night and that kept me in a good mood too. Its nice to see so many smiling faces and have so much support from close friends and family. I don't know if i could do it without them there.

I was pumped when i found out with a couple of hours to go that i had managed to get into 4th place for my category and had a pretty solid lead on 5th. All i had to do was maintain,which i managed to do.

I would have been happy with a top ten finish but 4th place blew me away. It has left me with a massive confidence boost, and now i can't wait to get out there at the next 24 solo and have another go.

I would like to thank my crew Natalie, Jaryn, Al, Kel, Pearso and Kiri for keeping both Sean and myself fed and moving forward. Big thanks for all the support that you guys give us at all the races. We couldn't ask for a better crew.

Thank you to Rodney and Bec from Supersports- you guys help us out so much. My bike eats up anything i throw at it and i have you guys to thank for that.

Also thanks to Ay Up for the kick ass lights; super efficient, totally reliable. What more can i say, i just love my lights!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Port Mac 12 hour [ finally i get to race my Carbide]

So i have been talking the Telegraph Point track up so much over the last 12 months since racing there last year that it was definitely going to be a must ride for this years' race schedule, and this time we would be recruiting a much bigger Brisbane contingent.

This year i would be once again racing with Michael Reedy from Action Cycles, and seeing as we came in third last year we were back this year to take out the top spot in the pairs division.

So, Friday before last, Sean Bozza Bekkers came around and we loaded up the big yellow Vito with way more crap than we needed and set off south. We arrived at Telegraph Point a bit after 9pm and set up camp next to the lads from Seans work [Australian Aerospace].

At about ten o'clock i wandered up the track a bit and then called out to the guys to come and have a look at the finishing berm into transition. For some strange reason we kept on walking and arrived back at the camp at close to 1am after getting a bit excited and walking the whole 9.6km track. Why would we do that ? Just excited i guess. The track was so awesome that as we made our way around the course we would find sweet little sections and have a "middle of the bush" discussion about the best way to hit that particular corner, berm or log.

So the next day was a bit of a bludge after an early morning runch around the very newly groomed Tele Point Track..... and before you knew it it was 12 midnight and the race was on.

Sean and i got a good start on the rest of the field and were the first riders into the single track. It was good but for the first few klms i could not do anything right, overshooting corners, picking nasty lines that i wouldn't usually try; let me tell you, it was messy! And it wasn't until Sean said "hey mate just relax", that i actually just chilled out and started racing........ properly. From that point on in the race i couldn't do anything wrong. I came into transition about 10 seconds off the leader and Mick was there ready to go. Mick put in a good time for his first lap, and after our first lap each we decided to do double laps until a couple of hours from the finish line.

I couldn't agree more with what Sean wrote in his blog; that this race was just a 'big ring' smash fest. When i was relaxed and having a good time i could then concentrate on just how good my Carbide Sl performed. With the Onza Canis rubber wrapped around my rims and my new Ay-Ups blazing away, those port boys were going to have to pull a bunny out to catch us. The bike felt wicked....................

The Port Guys gave us a pretty good run throughout the night but with our good mate Shannon Jansen giving us splits back to our competitors we were pulling away and then maintaining a pretty decent lead.

By the end of the race we had a lap and 15 minutes on second place and was still feeling pretty damn good just really hungry, all that training paid off.

So thanks to Bozz for getting me down to Port mac, thanks to mick for smashing himself, you rode well bro, and thanks to Supersports for the for my sick Carbide sl [just cant wait to race it again] and Ay Up for the best lights ever. fitz out

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mick, what the hell is a 24 hr event?

Righty'o so this being my first post for my blog i thought i'd give a little bit of a background story. I'll try not to bore you too much and try and make it brief.

It all started one day when i went in to my local bike shop Action Cycles to visit Cammy and Mick. I had been riding with the boys for a about a year but it was really only getting together for a bash on some local trails usually at night because it was easier to organise and we had recently all purchased some halogen light kits, which we thought were the bomb and at the time and were pretty good for the money.

Mick was looking pumped about something, and he then hit me with the idea of getting a couple of 4 man teams together for a crack at the Merida 24 hr race, to which i replied "what the hell is a 24 hr race". When i said before that we ride bikes, i meant that every semi large hill climb ended with a mothers club meeting at the top to talk about how much that climb has hurt us, so the idea of doing a 12 km circuit non stop, a circuit full of lung busting hills and tricky descents seemed a fairly daunting prospect.
But being blokes in our early 20's we didn't dwell on that to much and talk quickly moved to what are we going to ride, and was it compulsory to wear Lycra?!

So the event day came around and the boys arrived early at my place at Carina. We loaded my new XC weapon- a Norco Fluid Two which Mick and i had decided would be the best tool for the job of course, according to budget and availability. I had spent the night before the race loading my tubes up with that puncture repelling slime, strapped a pump the size of a fire extinguisher to the frame and fiddled with all the brackets and crap that you used to get with old style light kits. So having my new rig all set up, we were off to Kooralbyn for our first crack at the Enduro scene.

Arriving at the race we were told that 3 of our team mates had pulled out so now our 6 man team was only 3! That's okay though more riding for me. My team consisted of my good mates Scott [Scooter] Forbes and Grant [Fuzzy] Gilroy. The boys were all pumped up and ready to race.
I really wanted to be prepared for my laps and not knowing what to expect out there on the track, i just ended up packing everything.........Camelbak mule with 3 litres of water, couple of power bars, gels, a big ass multi tool, spare tubes (yeah that's right, tubes, 2 of em!). Just in case. All up, bike and rider weighed in at approx 106kilos! (78 of that being me.) No real surprise that that first lap nearly killed me and it's one lap i'll never forget.
By the end of the race i had clocked up about 120kms and the feeling like i had achieved something really cool. All the boys had a similar experience although some got way to much sleep compared to others. From that day on we found ourselves counting down the days to the next race.

So thanks to Mick and Cammy for introducing me to the Enduro scene and also for all the support with mechanics and bikes over the years, you guys made riding and racing so accessible for me. Fitzy

cool shot from the pitch black twelve hour.