Sunday, 22 August 2010


Castlemaine 6 hour:
Despite my car telling Steve and I that it was -2° c as we drove up the Calder it was a pretty fucking nice day to race bikes.

I should point out I generally don't throw around terms like love lightly, so bear that in mind when I state: "I love the Castlemaine enduro course!"

It's about 10km in length, it has about 220m of climbing a lap, there are rocks everywhere, but it's fun, ridiculously so. The faster you go, the better it is, and that dear friends is exactly what we were there to do, try and go fast.


A last minute nervous piss meant I lined up a few rows off the front, then poor focus meant I got swamped after the gun. I took some "creative" lines to get myself back inside the top 30 before slotting into the conga line snaking it's way through the single track. There were few fire roads on the first part of the course (we looped around close to transition before hitting a second loop), but on each and every one I attacked, taking back a few places. I found and passed Lee Floyd just before we hit the second loop. Round a few corners it felt like my rear tyre was getting squishy, so I had to back off a touch, furious that I wasn't able to go as hard as I wanted.

The next few hours were lap on lap off with Steve, I put in a quicker one on my third and set him out with a laughing comment of "You better hurry up, you're giving me too much rest, I'm getting faster!" Steve came in from that lap looking and sounding somewhat shell shocked and said "I'm stuffed".

I headed out for my 4th lap thinking about whether I was being a bastard to Steve. I had said I'd do a double if it was needed, and it sounded like it was needed... but would he take that as an insult? I decided to do it anyway, there was no point Steve smashing his head against the wall I feared he'd already hit.

I rolled through transition after my lap, held up two fingers and shouted "You get a double rest."

The second lap was killer, I went from barely touching a bottle during a lap, to almost sculling the one I had with me. Halfway around the Male Solo leaders (Phil Orr and Robbie Hucker) rode through me. They were on double the number of laps as me and I couldn't hold their wheels.

I spent the next 40 odd minutes while Steve went out for his last lap worried that I'd cooked it. The second lap of the double was 2 minutes slower than the first (4 slower than my opening lap). For the first time in months I grabbed a gel, in fact I grabbed several. A double caffeine one was scoffed moments before Steve arrived and a few more were shoved into my back pocket, just in case.

It took a little bit for the caffeine to hit my system, but as it dripped into my blood stream I remembered why I used to swear by racing with it. I was able to push my tired body, dig deep into muscles that a lap earlier had threatened to cramp, that had claimed they were empty. I chased down anything that moved, made a few dodgy passing moves (apologising for being a cunt afterwards), left it in the big ring for the fire road pinches in the second loop. I had one goal, leave it all on the track.



The results show us finishing in 8th out of 46 Male Pairs.

Now, to those goals I set myself:
I came 12th on the first lap. I needed to be more aggressive off the start, I gave up good time and good positions to being a nice bloke who didn't want to push in.

I did do the double, it sucked, but that's racing.

I beat Lee Floyd by over a minute on the first lap, then despite doing a double (and an extra lap) averaged faster times that both him and Leigh Barratt. None of the other listed guys were racing.

Overall I'm happy that I was able to lift again for the last lap and with how I rode. Focusing on being a driver (in control) rather than a passanger (just hanging on for the ride) helped me maintain speed through some rough stuff.

I found this photo of me that Steve Rowe took, I like it.
*edit 24/08/2010 to update link*

D: 62.8km
A: 1,370m

PMPW: 91kg


Jake @ Cycle Concepts Castlemaine said...

that is a b line. designed for hardtails and 29ers

neil said...

Haha, I am not ashamed to say that I took both b-lines, and did so all day long.

The first a-line scared the deadset shit out of me. We rode it on our reccy lap and I was almost under my rear wheel to ensure I didn't endo the exit.

The second b-line was plain old faster than the a-line, but I did enjoy it in previous years racing.