In2Adventure Ferny grove mountain bike 50km race
It's really hard to write a race review when you seem to have very little time to compile it.I've currently snook away from Hayley for 5 minutes whilst she is painting pictures of bunny rabbits and currently I am trying to ignore the banging coming from the other room.
The race is part of the In2Adventure series and mainly focusses on the off-road triathletes and incorporates the 50km mountain bike marathon race. I was racing, in the elite category, amongst the strongest and fittest women, you can ever meet. I regularly had to remind myself that although I was feeling fatigued the previous day these women had completed not only an off-road triathlon but also a 21km off-road half marathon. The women were then backing it up with a mountain bike marathon.
The start was a LeMans style start and I swore it felt like a 5km sprint - it was actually a 0.5km sedate jog to the bikes. I felt like I was running a cross-country race at school and I was coming last as per normal at least it wasn't cold and muddy. We then had to grab our bikes and run to the place we were allowed to mount. Luckily my bike is bright red so I couldn't miss it. Trying to run and mount the bike is not a skill I have ever learnt as I don't ride cyclocross. I think I was already a few minutes behind the other 2 girls as I never saw them again.
The course is run through fern trees which at some points were growing so close together you couldn't see the track. The track is also very flat with no technical features to speak off - so no large rock piles and logs or roots to negotiate just a little sand in some places. To get an average of 19km/hr around a cross-country course is not normally possible. I felt very over biked on my 29inch wheels full suspension bike with 120mm travel on the front. The course would be more suitable for a 27.5-inch hardtail. My normally lightweight full suspension felt very heavy and cumbersome. The course did not altogether suit me as I'd prefer big climbs over the flat terrain and the course actually hurt. It was a case of put the bike into the hardest gear possible and keep on pushing by the end I was not friends with the Fibromyalgia which had been triggered by the run.
Sand was another obstacle which I had managed to completely forget about until I had started the race and by then I realised I had too much pressure in my tyres. Most of the terrain was actually compacted sand there were just a couple of areas where you could have come unstuck if you were not paying attention.
The race went mainly without incident just a little meeting with a twig on a corner which I slipped on and a branch getting caught in my front wheel which I had to stop to get rid of before I broke an expensive spoke. Each lap was supposedly 8km long but they were reading 9.4km on the Garmin. The first lap went without incident and I tried to ride smoothly and consistently by the second lap I was cruising behind another male ultra-distance mountain biker who I chatted to for a bit and followed his lines. 3/4 of the way through the second lap I decided that I should probably try and up my pace a little so I overtook him and tried to stay in front. I stayed in front until a little into the final lap where he came flying past me to finish 2 minutes ahead. During the race, I thought I had heard the commentator saying I was coming first when he actually said I was coming third in my category. I did wonder at the time if this was incorrect as I knew I hadn't passed them and they started in front.
I tried to eat and drink consistently and appreciated that it wasn't hot or raining and the climate was very comfortable. Apart from being steady on the second lap, I rode as hard as I could. My arms felt fatigued by the end and my legs were screaming at me. It has only been 4 weeks since the massive distance at the 24-hour race so I'm holding some of this accountable.
I finished in 3rd place in the female elite category around 18 minutes behind 1st place and 13 minutes behind 2nd place - yes I did google them when I got home and found they are both proficient and world experts at off-road triathlon so I didn't feel too bad about being beaten. I always wonder how these girls would go at a 24-hour race and console myself with the fact that they are training regularly for the shorter distance races.
The traffic was horrendous on the way home and with the prize giving being later than advertised it meant I was away from home for the entire day for a 3 hour race so I'm not sure about returning next year as I've completed this race twice in a row and although the course is interesting and nice to ride it's a long way to go.
Anyway onwards and upwards until the next race.