What can i say? I have an overwhelming amount of feelings coming out of the Mont 2011 that the only way i can describe is to use singular words to pinpoint my feelings.
Companionship, Fun, Adrenalin, Anticipation, Nervousness, Cold, Unfulfilled, Freezing, Sticky, Hot, Competitiveness, Flow, Pain, Grind, Hunger, Fullness, Wet, Dust, Dust, Dust, Dust, Sweaty, Disappointing, Relieved, Learning and Accepting.
First of all, congratulations to all the other team’s i know that attended the Mont. That includes the other two BMU teams, the Ssers, Stan’s team and Nelson’s team. Congrats to all of you because I know you guys put in a stellar effort. From what i have seen, all of you pushed yourself. Some to the limit, some over the limit and for me, this is what the event is all about. Sometimes, the more negative amongst us will go away thinking they could have done this/that/blah blah better, but i am telling you now that from what i saw, all of you did exceptionally well. Not only that, everyone did it with a smile on their faces. Much respect to everyone of you. Everyone had their own distinct personalities and it was awesome to watch how it all came together to form teams.
Now that i have paid respect to everyone, it is time to talk about our own team. We are guys after all and like any guy at a testosterone driven event there is bound to be egos and pride. There is nothing wrong with this and taken in the right context it benefits everyone. I walked into this race knowing that some of us *looking at Clifton/Jarod/Kevin/Trieu* are not only aiming to push themselves but are also pushing to achieve the coveted “fastest lap” moniker. I realised that this is just the way it’s going to be even though i had a talk with Clifton and Timmy earlier and discussed how we should reserve ourselves a little.
Judging by the mini cramps, hr averages and lap times i don’t think anyone really reserved much on the first laps (lol). The times were incredible (when i checked later) and it easily put them into the group of very fast people at the mont. When you consider that the mont consists of mostly avid cyclists, this is a pretty damn good achievement! It is no rocket science that there are plenty of varied factors that would effect your lap time for eg, traffic, night laps, mechanicals, smoothness of transition, a slow ass Clifton walking through transition. 😛
It was hard for me to ignore the “challenges” of a coveted “hot lap” but in the grand scheme of things, i knew that i couldn’t and shouldn’t go out like my balls are on fire. I started my lap going pretty 100%. Up the fire trail, passing as much people as possible until about 1-2kms in i came up behind a rider i recognised. She was an elite class women and it is hard to say what happened after that moment but i pretty much settled down into her pace. Being an elite women, her pace wasn’t exactly slow but it wasn’t balls to the wall hot lap too. I realised that she was pacing herself and i pretty much followed suite. Maybe it was the respect that i had for an elite class rider but i felt it was a really awkward moment. I didn’t know if i should yell track and risk slowing her down later on or whether i should just follow her. I felt like she pushed me on the firetrails to keep up and on the singletracks i was held back just a smudge. In the end i decided that with a combination of all things considered her pace was a GOOD pace. It was a smart pace and even though i could risk putting myself into the red to pass her it wasn’t worth it.
I do have to apologise to her for sticking to her ass for the entire lap. Her pace was really a good one and i felt that it wasn’t worth the risk putting myself into the red to pass her and then potentially slow her down later. She also realised that i was right behind her for most of the lap and she didn’t show any annoyance or nerves and her pro-ness really came through. When she past she would say track for me as well and generally just made things a lot more easier for me on the first lap. Thank you!
As lap times will tell, the lap wasn’t the fastest lap out of all our team mates and i am fine with that. I had fun and i had awesome company for the whole lap to boot.
Second lap came around and it was pretty much completely dark. The ayup’s only made the dust storms worse and i stuck to my 1st lap tempo (around 170ishbpms) and came back with a 1 hour 9 second lap time. Cool. At this point of time, we decided to start pairing up in laps. What this meant was instead of the normal Timmy->Clifton->Jing->Brad routine, we would resort to Timmy->Clifton->Timmy->Clifton->Jing->Brad->Jing->Brad combo which was designed to give each other more time to rest. I came back to camp and ate and then jumped into bed for what might have being 2-3hrs of sleep. Timmy and Clifton came back and completed all their paired laps which was no surprise. They are honestly my most trusted riding partners and even though their times were down, i could tell that it was just them conserving and not a sign of weakness.
I woke up around when Timmy came back and started preping for my paired laps. My aim was to stick around similar times with Clifton and Timmy as it was a good pace and i approached my first paired laps this way. I came back with a 1 hour 4 minute lap which was ok and according to plan but the sight i was greeted with coming back through transition was not the best one. Brad was there without a bike and looking very sad and straight away in my head my plans kinda fell apart. I knew this was going to change things considerably. Brad explained that he simply couldn’t go out for another lap and handed me some gel and water bottle but i knew that i couldn’t go out for a double lap.
Firstly i have already being on 2 night laps with my 3hr ayup batt. I needed a change of batts. Secondly, it would make no difference if i did my second lap now or 1hr later or even 2hr later. I would not last going through 4 laps non stop covering Brads position. I am simply not good enough for that. I headed back to camp with Kev and thought it out quietly. I did a simple calculation and realised that if i ignored Brads lapping times and go out on my own it would be no different to starting early in the morning with Timmy and Clifton again. Basically, there will be a period of time when there will be no riders for our team out there and there is no way to fill this void. I thought it through and decided to rest up until the morning and go out for laps with Timmy and Clifton in a 3 man rotation. I figured that it would be Jing->Timmy->Clifton->Jing->Timmy->Clifton->Jing and from my calculations that would be pretty much towards the end of the race.
I went back to camp and informed Timmy what was happening and slept till morning. Unfortunately our plans would not work due to a change of weather and team BMU slow would never recover. I am honestly quite disappointed at this as i feel that i have let Timmy and Clifton down after their paired laps. I felt that we lost momentum and the drive that’s so important at that period of time and then the rain came and washed away everything else. Sure, i guess we could have went out and carried out loops in the rain but a whole heap of things bombarded our brains at that point of time. At a 24hr race everything is mental. Mentally we were “drive-less” and our morale was all but gone (at least mine was).
As a mtber, i feel that we are out there to push ourselves. I felt like i hadn’t pushed myself hard enough even though my calf was hurting from my previous stack. Usually i drive back from 24hr events completely buggered, but yesterdays drive home was alert and awake. A sure sign that i did not try hard enough and for that i am very unhappy about. I guess what i am saying is that i will only be satisfied if i knew i did my best. If i could not ride any further because i have given my best, i would have no issues with it. However, i don’t feel that was the case here.
With a slightly more upbeat tone, i would have to say that i liked the Mont 2011 course. It wasn’t love but it was definitely enjoyable. It was pretty harsh with the braking bumps but that was manageable. The course was pretty harsh but with good pace you could make it easier. I felt like a hardtail would be pretty good as a lot of the switch backs were followed by small pinches that i felt would suit standing up and powering over. The Yeti did me well once again. I did have to firm up the propedal to level 3 (the hardest level) but like i have mentioned previously, the yeti asr5 isn’t the sharpest racing tool in the shed and i accept that. The gears are horrendous now. It is shifting with a mind of its own and i really need to look into it.