Dualies - wow!
My first real bike-filled weekend in a while - BBN track and a day at Bonnie Doon on the EX8
I managed an almost-decent 50km on Friday on the roady without too much discomfort, so I figured I should have a bit more of a fair dinkum go on Saturday at the Blackburn races. The Besse Pool wheelrace (h'cap) was the feature race of the day, and I'm no handicap racer, nowhere to hide, just 6 laps flat out, urgh. I don't like 'em much, but it's a feature race on the BBN calender so I'd better have a go. The races for the day was scratch, h'cap and progressive points, before the all-in.
I managed to finish the scratch race and although I was off the back with a lap and a bit to go, felt ok and didn't need to pull out - good! I saw Dino lead Mick Thomas out for a win, so they rode well together. The wheelrace was split into 3 divisions (A&B, C&D and E&F) and I was off 180m with Dino. Knowing that my endurance for h'caps is junk at the best of times, and after three weeks of next to no riding, it's not going to have improved, I figured I'd just do a longish turn for Dino and then see how he went. Job done, did about 1.5 laps on the front before peeling off, Dino just missed out of qualifying for the final, but I don't think either of us were too concerned about that! Emily won her heat but spent too many pennies qualifying and didn't have quite the same dominance in her E & F grade final.
Rob M rode well, learning quite a bit as he went along (and learning not to do all the work!) taking a couple of really good results from the C grade races. Tom Leaper kept Stevie Martin honest but neither of them could contain a rampant Barry 'The Wizard' Woods in A grade. Bazz was on fire. No sign of Jamie Goodard, which was a shame, maybe he was up doing the Scott People's race? Tom was still trashed from his ride the week before at the Tour of Bright but rode with courage.
Last up was the progressive points, and my plan was 'win the first lap, then finish'. Done .. 1 point. The last one of these, that would have got me 2nd place(!), but not this time, no-one escaped to mop up the lot, so I got 5th I think ... anyway, it was fun. We finished off with the usual All In, and I was paired up with Katherine from F grade, who rode well and we only got lapped once (Who put Mick Thomas with Will?!). Well done Katherine, you'll get stronger and stronger.
Then we threw the big armchair (Trek Fuel EX8) on the roof and drove up to Bonnie Doon. Junkfood for dinner en-route. Got up, and felt ok, and then did a lap of the Hurt Hill Loop. I think I set a PB up it, 21:45, then the rest of the rolling climb was quite slow (trashed legs from the climb), but the descent down Maintongoon Road was a delight (once I dropped the saddle 1cm anyway ...). On the old 4700 hardtail the last few k's of the descent is a "I wish this was over" experience, it's rocky and rough road, but the big dualie just rode down it like it didn't care. I made plenty of errors, bad lines through corners etc .. it just didn't give a stuff what I did, it was going to get down quickly and upright the whole way. Wow. It's so much fun to ride and incredibly forgiving (and .. comfortable! I felt like I could ride it again, if I didn't have to go back up Sonn Berg Dve again to get there, that is ...)
Went back to the house, bacon & eggs for lunch, ducked in to Mansfield and got some more trees, came back, planted them, then it was time to start building the MTB crit track through Trev's Paddock. I started with the jump. I made it a bit big to start with, and when Vanders finally arrived to test it, he baulked at it and we had to make a smaller one next to it, we then had heaps of fun jumping the little jump for around an hour or so, getting timing and confidence, before at the end, we both had the balls to jump the big jump. I did a terrible jump, landed front-wheel first, but the big EX8 just said 'heh .. you stuffed it up, but I'm not getting my paint scratched .. we're not going to fall over' and sure enough .. no worries. I'm beginning to really enjoy riding it. It caters for my MTB gumbieness very well indeed.
Dinner (chilli chicken wings!), then a few beers, and vanders and I decided one more ride .. down to the Bonnie Doon Maroondah Hwy bridge where there's some scoops to play in - we rode out at night with lights along the 4wd tracks along the lake, did the scoops a few times then rode back. Along the way back the EX8 (hereafter known as my saviour) hit a cunningly concealed 45 degree rut and before I knew it I was 1m left of where I started, but .. still upright! This bike just won't fall down! It carries on with arrogant aplom over everything my clueless handling could throw at it.
So for the w'end, 3 races and 3 MTB rides (including a PB up Hurt Hill) .. today (Monday) is a well-earned recovery day!