Wednesday 14 July 2010

Posted by Velouria Posted on 22:02 | 1 comment

Dirtopia 9-5 2010

After an absence of a couple of years I decided to return to ride Dirtopia's 9-5 event. And for the first time I was going to ride it solo. I had always believed that it wasn't long enough for me to stand a chance of doing well, and so had always previously entered in either a 2 man or 4 man relay team.

The weather for the event didn't look good, with weather reports varying from cold and wet to freezing cold and torrential downpours. I am getting old, and so the thought of riding in the rain when I don't really have to doesn't appeal to me at all. The deal was - we would go to registration, but if it was raining when the race started, we would go home.
Start time - clear skies.
Perfect weather for bike riding
Needless to say, 20 minutes before the race was due to start the rain stopped, the clouds lifted and the sun came out. Now I had no excuse, and after missing the 100Miler through illness I was rather keen to see just how well Nelly the Niner would do in an endurance event.
Race face
The route was a typical Meurant route - a 7km lap with a climb in the middle and some singletrack thrown in here and there for good measure. The rules were simple - person with the most laps after 8 hours was the winner. The rain had kept some people away, but there was decent competition in the form of Gavin (my 24hr duelling buddy) and Marius, as well as a good assortment of youngsters.
Completing another lap

Two hours done - in second place.

My main objective was to pace myself - I had not had the best of 24hr races previously for this very reason, and so I wanted to get into a rhythm and ride consistent, solid laps without over doing it. The initial laps were a muddy, mucky affair but the course quickly settled and rode in quite nicely. The usual shadow boxing occurred, and I was determined to follow wheels rather than do any of the pace setting and so for several laps just followe Gavin round and round - losing him on the technical stuff as he rode away from me, but catching him on the flatter fast stuff. The challenge from Marius never happened - he was still feeling the effects of the 100Miler in his legs.
Following Gavin
With 3 hours gone we were joined by a youngster - Timo, and the three of us did some laps together. Gavin stopped for some snacks and so I followed Timo for half a lap. He had put in a big effort to catch us and I wanted to see what sort of legs he had. Up a short sharp climb I put in a bit of effort and immediately a gap opened up. Timo had gone too hard to catch us and had nothing left in his legs with which to respond. I was alone, in the lead and still feeling good.
First, second, and third
Yolanda, the ever present backup expert was doing her usual great work of keeping me topped with food and juice, and had managed to commandeer Marius's bucket and sponge to clean off the mud and gunk that was collecting on my drivetrain. I was also getting updates as to where Timo was and how he was doing, but it looked like he was in a race for 2nd place with another rider, and hopefully they would forget about me.
First place with an hour to go

Another lap almost finished
Yolanda being creative with the camera
Slowly but surely the clock wound down as I did lap after lap - all pretty much at the same pace, and before long I had an hour to go and a 12 minute lead. All I had to do was get around the course without any technical issues.
One lap to go
I finished off with 20 laps - a lap more than Timo who managed to win the sprint for second. I now had a complete set of results for Dirtopia's 9-5 - first in the 4 man relay, first in the 2 man relay, and first in the solo category. It was also only Nelly's fourth race, and already she was a winner.



1 comment :

  1. Well done!! That was a well-paced ride... Alot of climbing in 8 hours!