Saturday, 20 February 2010


Otway Odyssey:
I'm not sure what to say about today, so I'll start with a brief summary, then give it a bit more detail.

I had a sucky day, I'm really not sure why though. I'm happy that I finished, but not with the time.

It was a pretty warm start, at a guess I'd say it was ~25°c when we rolled out the door. Half an hour of rolling the legs with a few short high cadence efforts to get things going was my warm up before the start line.

The results tell me I was up the first hill in 88th, at the time I thought I was around 60, but whatever the case I felt ok despite the head wind that was savaging us. Down the first gravel road descent the same wind was throwing riders across the road, increasing the nerves, in what at the best of times are loose conditions.

The next 20km went well, excluding a dunking when a water crossing went awry. The legs were feeling ok, I was drinking regularly and had begun eating way earlier than last year. I was in and around riders I expected to be near, though the presence of David Rusden surprised me, he was riding strong.

At pretty much bang on 30km, a steady climb called "Elevator to hell" I got a rude surprise when a "nice" big cramp twinge hit me in the left adductor. I backed things off and eased my way up the rest of the climb. During this time there were heaps of riders, I knew I should be able to beat, going past me. A tough pill to swallow.

Through the Red Carpet I caught up with Evan Franzke, he was having a worse day than me after a stomach bug yesterday had left him unable to eat. Anyway, it was a nice pace, nothing too tough. I say nothing too tough to highlight that I wasn't smashing myself. Why is this important? Well moments later on the tiny little climb up to the dam wall I had full leg locking cramps. The exact same thing as last year, ghey!

Once I started going again, I had to question my state of mind. Surely there was not 7 skirt wearing, pompom wielding, high kicking cheerleaders on the course..... right..... right? After seeing the bemused and amused expression of my fellow riders I concluded they were real. Let's call this "totally out of left field experience #1".

The 18km loopy bit that follows the dam went better than last year. I found that I could climb out of the saddle without too much fear of cramping. Sudden movements or remounts were issues, but I felt I had a workable solution. A couple of times the remount thing was an issue, each cramp was worse than the last.

The Yaughter loop was filled with fun. I couldn't pedal hard, but I felt like I was nailing corners. Good stability and some snap from the hips meant that I could hold wheels or pull away from riders without heaps of effort. In hindsight this may just have to do with the quality of riders I had fallen back to. Coming out of some single track and onto fire road towards the end of the loop I heard someone's car stereo playing some music loudly. I prepared a witty "play some Barnsy" quip, then had to swallow it whole when I realised it was not a car stereo after all, it was a brass band... in the middle of the bush. "Totally out of left field experience #2".

Into transition for the final time I had decided that regardless of the issues I was having, I would finish. At this point I'd had ~5L of water, 7 gels, several bars and the equivalent of 4 bottles of electrolyte/sugar/protein. Within 60 seconds of heading out of transition my leg started to twinge badly forcing me to stand even on the flat section. Into the long climb (Brittany's Meltdown) I was out of the saddle slowly turning the gears. Early on I had a constant spasm coursing it's way up and down my left adductor. Sitting would have caused it to lock, stopping would have set off the other leg, and remounting would be a lesson in agony. By the top of the climb my quads were shot, any sudden movement would leave me incapable of anything other than breathing through my teeth and groaning. The single track descent (The Gift that Keeps on Giving) wasn't doing me any favours. My legs were locked straight to avoid cramping. This left little room to flow with the trail, and progress was slow.

In all, my day can be summed up by a picture Gavin's wife took of me (thanks Melissa, I'm ecstatic to have photos of me this ecstatic).

So, how do I feel about it. Well I was happy with everything up to the first cramp. I can try to justify the cramping in many ways, but without any testing I'm not going to, as I feel it would be inaccurate. All in all I am happy that I toughed out cramps for 70km, but really quite shitty that I had to. I feel like I was on track for 5:45ish which despite being slower than my goal is about right given the conditions.

As I have no experience with cramping in my training, I think it will be difficult to eliminate the possible causes of them. Still I would like to get some closure, even if it means that I have to make another trip down to Apollo Bay next year to try all over again.

Time: 6:15.47

D: 96.8km
A: 3,165m

Forrest - Apollo Bay:
Post race I was pretty smashed. Dehydrated, tired, and generally just irritable. I decided to ride back to Apollo Bay. It's something I'd talked about before the race, and it would give me time to think and recover.

Thanks to everyone who waved, honked or offered a lift. I was in my own little world, and this was a task that I needed to finish. I wanted to finish something in the manner I had set out to. To give myself a feeling of accomplishment.

D: 37.6km
A: 675m


BK said...

Well done Sport! the usual see-saw form for us. Who can train for an event like that?
Unless...... we just stop working 'the job' and start training full time down there for next year, that may help.
...and cheerleaders??? I think you're right, I saw them too.

neil said...

I was greatly amused that we met at the same point as last year.

so, see you at the 68km mark again next year?

Mak said...

Well done mate, wish I could have been there racing as well, although I dont think I would have finished.
My only suggestion would have been backing off the gym i the week leading up to the race and rolling the legs over after the drive down as siting for 3-4hrs in the car can have a impact.
Still regardless bloody awesome effort!!!

neil said...

Thanks Cam, you had your own ordeal this week, even if Tam did most of the hard work. :)

I planned on a ride Friday, but ran out of time after heading up to Forrest to register (plus all the other little faffing about things).

As for the weights, what we did on Thursday was pretty light, and far less than I've done before other races. It is obviously something I've considered as I try to reconcile it all.

Honestly, my thoughts on the matter are currently: Hot day + hard effort + slightly off nutrition/hydration.