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My First Race


By Buck - Posted on 31 October 2007

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.
Re: This ride meeting: 
Mont 24HR 2007

A few months back there were two teams from Nobmob going to the Mont. Greg was looking to make a third team and roped me in. I was a bit tentative as I have never done any form of MTB race and I was pretty new to the sport to be honest. I first got my bike around September 2006 from memory. Soon after I then broke my arm falling of my new bike so that put me out for the rest of 2006. So around came 2007 and I got back on the bike and was having great fun. However I never trained too much with perhaps a ride or two a week. This got worse in winter as I did not have lights for night riding.

Luckily my friend, Lawrence, wanted to pick up the sport so we went out and made some D.I.Y LED headlights. So for the last three months we have been riding around 3 times a week. Probably riding 60-70km a week. This definitely helped bring up my fitness a lot but it was still a bit lacking as the Up and Down Oaks ride with Lorrie, Rob, Tien and Paul highligted! Either way it was too late to do much about it now as the Mont was just two weeks from the Oaks training ride.

I headed down to Canberra after work on Friday night with Tien and met up with the rest of the Nobmob crew in their massive tent city. Had a chat with everyone and then I headed off to bed relatively early compared to most. Nerves were starting to set in! Woke up pretty early and started getting ready for my first race. We got our race numbers, t-shirts etc and then headed back to have a final look over our bikes before the race start. We also met our new last minute team member Frank. Somehow it was determined that I would ride the 2nd lap after Craig. This made me more nervous as I had not done a recce lap and I figured that it would be still rather crowded after one lap. With about twenty minutes to the start Craig headed off to the start line and the rest of us headed down to the first turnoff into the singletrack about 900m from the start.

We heard the horn in the distance and immediately saw a massive plume of dust heading our way rapidly. The elite riders were setting a crazy pace down to the turnoff into the singletrack. After all the fast riders went through the rest of the pack turned up and a large traffic jam formed at the first corner. After everyone filed through I headed back to get myself for my first lap for the team. Now the nerves were really setting in!

After about half an hour I headed up to the start line and waited for Craig. Soon after he turned up and passed on the card to me .Off I went and then I heard Greg call me back. DAMN I had forgotten my helmet! Wasted a minute or two going back and fitting Craig's helmet on me. Luckily we had similar head sizes. Off I went again and straight into the single track. I wasn't entirely warmed up so it was difficult to get into the groove straight away. On top of that I had to keep a constant eye behind me for faster riders coming through. I think I was overly generous and I almost always pulled over before they had to yell out "track". At least most riders were polite and thanked me as they went past which is good to see. I was just getting into the swing of things when I then had a stack about 3/4 through the lap. I came over a few rocks but then clipped a tree with my handlebars. Came off and grazed my knee and arm. I then gingerly headed back down to the finish line to find Frank. Handed over the card and then went to get cleaned up at the First Aid tent. I felt buggered! It's not often that I ride for over 40 minutes without a single stop as most group rides we stop and chat now and then.

My second stint was the team's first night ride and I was to do two laps before swapping over. I headed out a lot slower this time and once again had countless people ovetake me Smiling. I found riding at dusk quite hard. The combination of the setting sun, my headlights and the dust in the air made visibility not ideal. Either way these two laps were not overly eventful. I was feeling quite tired though so I headed back for a hot meal. I charged up my light batteries and headed off to bed.

My final stint was to be the graveyard shift at 2am for two more laps. I got woken at around 1am and it was quite chilly by now. The transition area now was much less crowded than during the day. I got the card and headed off again for my second night ride. I took the first lap easy again. The transition zone was a welcome site as I could take a quick breather off the bike. Going back to a nice warm sleeping bag sure was tempting at this stage Eye-wink. Back on the bike and off for my fifth lap. By this stage I wasn't feeling too great. Was getting quite fatigued and my backside was sure hurting (time to get a duallie). I ended up pushing the bike up the "Avenue of Despair". Then on one of the uphill singletrack sections I started getting cramps in my thighs. Great....... Sad I stopped and stretched it out for a few minutes. Really wasn't a happy camper at this stage. Was thinking to myself.....what am I doing at 4am in a pine forest cramping up!? Anyway limped it home. Sorry to Greg for having to wait for me for so long at transition! After this I went straight to bed and slept through to the morning.

Woke up feeling much better. Had a bit to eat and was relieved to hear that I wasn't doing anymore laps on Sunday morning as Greg and I had pulled double night shifts. We just relaxed and started to clean up around the campsite. We were going well and were on target for 32 laps. Frank put in a big effort at the end to get in before 12:59 so that he could start another lap. Great effort!

The camp was quickly packed up. Seems people were keen to get home! Straight back onto the highway and off we went. Was totally buggered by Sydney but boy did that shower feel good.

All up it was a fantastic experience. Thank you to the Nobmob Monties (Greg, Craig, Harry, Brian and Frank).Great to have so many from Nobmob down in Majura and definitely will do it again next year.

Keen to get fitter now so I'll try and keep this 3 weekly rides up and we'll see what happens next year.

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