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Entering the hurt box

By sikllama - Posted on 22 September 2015

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.
Re: This ride meeting: 
Kowalski Classic - 2015
Position (Overall): 
Race Category: 
50km Veterans
Position (Category): 

Once again I packed up the bike and family to have another go at the Kowalski Classic. Staying at our relatives place makes logistics easier for events away from home and, for me, it really makes a difference having familiar surrounds at which to 'base' yourself for the weekend.

Race morning and I decide on a little warm up along Millpost and Seismic road, partly to get the legs ready and partly to go see who I can spot Smiling I say gday to James Downing, briefly glimpse @antsonline but he's going the other way and is past me before I shout a 'hi' and also see Jason English and Jenny Blair - there's not many other sports a weekend warrior can brush shoulders with National/World Champions... Speaking of champions @Black Flash was there too, ready to take on the 100km with a chest infection.

The increased time between waves means a) a later start, b) opportunity for cracking punter jokes such as 'What do you get when you burn down Woolies'? Coals (Coles). See what you guys in Elite / Wave 1 miss out on? and c) absolutley no congestion during the race at all for me.

The first 25km was fairly uneventful and I was just happy to be riding great singletrack mindful of not going out too hard on a lovely spring morning. It had been a few years since last riding Kowen and I had missed it. 1 hr 30mins on the dot as I went under the Cercol bridge and onto a short section of Seismic road before the 2nd half of the course.

A group of 4 or 5 of us then formed and we had a great time on the Tanglewood Back and Front door trails - really felt like flying through there and we all reached the subsequent firetrail section with big grins and agreeing that was great.

We then reached the grassy doubletrack section and came upon a rider down. She had her friends with her waiting for an ambulance so we pressed on after checking they were ok. I made a little break up the steep firetrail section before soon after and directed aforementioned ambulance the right way - they had been told the rider was located at the bottom of Escalator. No time lost.

Like many of the trails in the 2nd half of the race, I had not ridden Escalator before but actually enjoyed it - I was only spinning up it but what a nice area of the forest it is (at my pace). Reached the 36km feed station in 2hr 23min and the first sign things were about to get tough was that my legs felt like dead weights when I hopped off the bike. I filled the water bottle, downed a gel and was away in under 2 mins.

Ren was a great descent, following a guy who had obviously ridden this section before more undulating firetrail and onto Kowalski's Sideshow before the 2nd last climb of the day up Rolling Thunder 1 and 2 as well ad Web track. I wasn't too bad at this stage, back a little sore but not affecting pace and I was still able to maneuver the bike around the switchbacks ok. People were starting to pass me however, mostly Im guessing those who'd had a decent break at the feed station and were generally faster than me anyway. I managed to pick up a few riders who had blown up by the 40km mark.

Then the trails all the talk had been about - Romper Room loomed ahead and had already claimed a few victims in the first technical downhill switchback with people either side of the trail giving way. It did make this section a little too narrow for me to attempt sight unseen though so I hopped off and walked the first 30m. The rest of the descent was good fun and the rockwork going into the rolloffs was impressive - gee they must have hauled in some rock for this, and Stairway.

Onto Stairway to Heaven and this is where things got nasty. I've never heard so much cursing, groaning, shouting or screaming on a trail before. I would have laughed but was too tired. I had an unexpected laydown about halfway up after dabbing a foot and losing balance - fatigue had definately set in. I cleared probably more than half the step ups so was happy enough with that.

What a great finish to the race Secret Squirrel, Beer Garden and Last Call is. You can pretty much gun it flat out without alot of risk as the trails aren't loose and the corners are mostly bermed. Forgot how the legs felt and thought I was going pretty fast until I head a call of 'track' just before the overpass and was overtaken at lightening speed by who I'm guessing was elite rider Marc Williams (according to his finish time of day - he was 6th overall) - impressive and I hope he has life insurance!

Over the line and keen not to repeat the post finish line antics of last year, bunny hopped over the line instead and came to a controlled stop - I've been waiting a year to excise those demons Smiling

So a great day out, definately a tougher 50km than last year but rewarding at the same time. Didn't quite get the time I was after but fairly happy considering the amount of riding I do (not much relative to most here).

Looking forward to the Fling.

Well done as it sounds like it was a tough race and happy to hear you finished with style and didn't an embarrassing stack this year

Riding Stairway at the end of your race would have been very tough. Getting up most of it is a fantastic effort, especially unseen. I was so delighted they made it early in the 100k - because the swearing and cramping would have been out of control had they left it at the 97km point - Elite riders or not!

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