Sunday, November 13, 2011

Everyone Wanted a Dry Race...

..and that is exactly what we got, a dry hot race.  After last years Karingal Mudfest, and a number of other muddy events at Karingal, I was looking forward to hitting this awesome track in dry conditions.  Looking at the weather forecast, it was destined to be the warmest ride I'd done this year.  Just before race start, there was some cloud cover that looked promising to keep things a little cooler than they may have been, in fact, I was kind of hoping for a little shower or two.

The Karingal 4hr is run by the Southside Rats MTB Club, and is a great event and I was entered in the Single Speed category.  There was an alternate fire road start in order to allow the riders to get sorted before the single track.  I did not get as far to the front as I would have liked, and had to pretty much track stand at one point due to congestion.  Part way through the lap, putting the power down to get past some slower rides, I had my chain jump off in what seems to have become standard fare for me on first laps.  My legs were feeling a little heavy, after having done a road crit on Saturday and as usual doing way too much work.

On the second lap, we hit some sections of trail for the first time, with a couple of interesting features.  A little bridge which we hit an angle, followed immediately by a pinch climb, followed shortly there after with a little G-Out that was just horrible if you hit it hard.

Not being able to remember what gearing I had run last year, I settled on 34/20. I think with fresh legs, this might have been the ideal gearing...maybe it still was, as I did not have to walk any sections, and there were some flat bits that still caused me to run out of legs.  I was also running my Gary Fisher Superfly (which is designed for the much hyped G2 fork), with standard forks.  It was handling beautifully, and confirms my suspicion that the whole G2 thing is marketing BS.

One minor annoyance was that my race number kept curling backward, and I had to try push my number forward so the marshals could  read my number, and even then I had to call it out.  By mid race it was getting hot, but I felt like I was keeping up the fluids, and getting the food in.  On about lap 4 I heard that I was in 3rd, but it was not like I could push any harder. The bike was going great, apart from the horrible creaks coming from the crank/BB area, but that was nothing new.  But then I dropped the chain again twice with 2 laps to go, and stopped to retention the chain.

I went through to start my last lap with 24mins left on the clock.  I had that burst of energy you get from knowing it is the last lap.  About 1/3 of the way around, my crank stops spinning, and I look down to see my chain ring all bent and twisted. I pushed the bike up the hills and rolled down the hills, but the chain was rubbing on the tyre or banging on the frame, so I stopped to remove the chain.  This was much better, but due to the bent chain ring I could not position my pedals in the best position for cornering.  With no idea of how close the riders behind were, I hustled as best I could, but MTB shoes are not meant for running, and there are some flatish bits that fast riding that were really slow on foot. By this stage in the race, the track was quite empty, but I still had to keep getting off the track to let riders through.

I was passed by at least one SS rider and  assumed I had dropped at least one spot.  I was so glad to see the finish line. In the end, some how I had  hung on  to 2nd  in SS(by about 15 mins), but dropped a lot of  spots in combined solo. It looks like I was  about 8 minutes slower on the last lap. All things considered I was  happy with my ride, although a little disappointed by the dropped chains and damaged chain ring.

The race organisation was great, the volunteers were awesome and the prizes for general participation were great.  I even managed a little sympathy pack of lube, chamois cream and other stuff for my damaged bike.  This was my final MTB event for the year.  Most likely LunarC will be my first race of next year.  Hopefully by then I'll have my Superfly ready to rock and roll.

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About Me

QLD, Australia
My interests include Mountain Biking, Rockclimbing and Photography