Tackling the 125kms circuit around Lake Hawea is never an easy task, it takes some planning and logistics just to get there, let alone the training and gear needed to attempt a podium. This year I decided to go without the heavy back pack, instead surviving on two bike mounted water bottles and filling them in rivers along the way, all else equal that worked really well.
We started in freezing conditions (yes 0 degrees) to the sound of Eminem’s Lose Yourself...a fitting start. I felt a chain skip from the start line and thought that didn't feel good, no worries maybe just the entire new drivetrain working its way in. After 5km's that wasn't the case, dropping the chain (in a bunch which was dangerous) and getting it wedged between the low gear and cluster it was difficult to get out, a few minutes later it freed up and I was off again, losing the front groups. Off the road and onto the farm track I put the hammer down on the newly graded surface, only to drop the chain twice more = more time lost. By then I figured I needed to stay out of the lowest gear and kept grinding away knowing I’d lost a top time. At the top of the lake (around the 60kms mark) I filled the bottles through the river and set off again, maintaining some good pace and loving the downhill’s which were riding fast. I managed to make it all the way to just before the 90km's with no further mechanical issues...and then the changing from big to small ring (2 x set up) and the constant rocky decents had created too many issues for the already bent derailleur hanger and the whole derailleur itself was now bent/twisted to near touching the spokes. Too scared to touch it (for fear of breaking it off) I left it in the big ring to move the derailleur away from the wheel and powered on. The frustration was motivating me and the pace picked up around the stunning Hawea bluffs, the chain skipped off twice more, thankfully not getting stuck now but still hard to get back onto the big ring and the whole backend drive train looked precarious. Regardless, I crossed the finish line in around 5hrs 23 minutes not a bad effort given the issues and motivation to come back next year for another swing.
Loved the race, the conditions, the scenery was amazing, and the body felt great. Pity about the mechanicals...but that's racing!
Posted: Mon 16 Apr 2018