I was reminded yesterday that a couple of flat races can be a little deceptive in their effect on your confidence. A return to the northern hills with a bunch of really fit blokes soon brings a big-fella back to reality, especially when you throw a couple of very solid and stubborn trees into the mix.
This course out to Sugarloaf has no problem putting it all back into perspective for you… or me more particularly.
The Mont 24 hour race has been a game-changer for me the past two years. Last year, it was the time where – having raced really well – the bubble burst for me and thereafter I went into cycling shut-down mode for nearly a year. This year, it was the opposite… I went to The Mont a little under-prepared and after feeling good and going well, am now keen as mustard to start really hitting it hard again.
But The Mont, with only 250 metres of climbing in a 17 kilometre lap; and the Crazy 6 at the You Yangs, with a puny 100 metres of climbing and an average speed of 26 kph in a 12 kilometre lap, are big confidence builders for a fat bloke. Especially when you’re racing in a team with one of the fastest women around; thanks Wendy Snowball for a great result.
And then.. there were hills.
There aren’t too many in this photo, but the terrain of Warrandyte and Christmas Hills is rather more bumpy than the Kowan State Forrest and the You Yangs. Those vertical metres really hurt last Saturday (nearly as much as the trees) and the level of competition… sorry… company, made it all the more painful. Despite the climbing – and my very natural resistance to it – I think everyone there would join me in the opinion that it was a fantastic return to the beautiful big Saturday mountain bike rides of previous years. It was a truly spectacular and enjoyable ride on a gorgeous day. So lucky we are!
After ‘guaranteeing’ to Duncan that we’d be back to the cars by midday, I was very disappointed to hold everyone up having had a significant argument with a tree – actually, two trees – at the bottom of The Back Nine (is that trail name correct Mars?… I think so.).
Thanks so much everyone for your assistance and patience. It’s always a hassle when a rider crashes or his/her bike breaks… but without fail, experienced mountain bikers generally understand that it could have been any one of them and therefore provide plenty of jovial but sympathetic support. Whilst still sitting in the place I had landed, and whilst ambo-Dave was diligently filling my veins with the good stuff, my eleven mates managed to find plenty of advice on crash avoidance, surgical know-how and clavicle recovery. Love ’em to bits.
Let’s see if I can remember who was there; Mars, Jim, Alex, James, Christian and another member of the Columbian Cartel… Ian, Aaron, Duncan, Sam, Lethal, Hayden… two others I reckon (one Yarra Ranges and one Warrandyte). Thanks so much for your help guys; what a magnificent ride.
And Dunc… I reckon you still got back by 12; it just wasn’t quite as much fun as it would have been. Next time.
Thanks for coming and thanks for your help.