Live Wire 24 Hour Winter Rogaine Report

It seems the bigger an event is, the longer it takes me to get around to writing about it. Seems like the way life goes. Anyway...

The camping/hash house area. So beautiful down there.

My first 24 hour rogaine was quite interesting. Both Shan and I were quite confident since our last exploits in the 12 hour rogaine and our walk of madness. We rocked up to a farm just out of Lowden, which is east of Donnybrook, on the Friday night before the start. Set our tent up and tuckered in for a nice little sleep. It got down to -5 C that night. For all those reading this from the Eastern States, see, it does get cold here sometimes!

After slumber came waking up, always an ominous sign. Maps were corralled and courses were plot. When I say plot, I really mean we spent the whole 4 hours discussing where the hell we were going to go, and what the hell we were going to do. We set quite an ambitious course, which you can see below (still coming). It looks a bit like a bat. Or a killer wombat, if you squint hard enough.

So at 12 noon on the Saturday, we were off. We had an incredible start; we completely missed the first control. So much for the following the crowd theory. We followed them to the second control though, so it wasn't too bad. Shortly after, Shan got stuck climbing a barb-wired fence, which also happened to be electric. I would have helped sooner, but laughter was slowing me down.

 The lovely vineyards of the Ferguson Valley, and some punter that got in the road of the camera.

PDCC - North Dandalup Handicap

This would be my first handicap race. I didn't really know what to expect. I had a bit of an idea how it works in theory, but not really in practice. It would be an interesting course; a 200m climb right of the bat, then a general saw-toothiness up to the turn around point just out of Dwellingup. I found out at registration that the organisers had put my in with the A-graders. Hmm. I wonder how this was going to go.

We all lined up for the race. Each group went off with a few minutes in between. Turns out I was in the last group, with, I assume, was all the A-graders. So after a long wait we were off. My gameplan was to stick with the group as long as possible and try to finish with them. Had a nice roll through going for the first few kms until we hit the big climb. I found myself at the front of the group doing my turn, but as I went to pull off, everyone followed. Hmmm. Fair enough. I was feeling pretty good, so I just sat at the front for a while. A couple of minutes later I looked behind, and there was only two other guys behind me. After another couple of minutes, it was just me and another guy, Wade Longworth. We both started taking turns at the front, and to my astonishment we started passing people that had left before us. We were setting a pretty cracking pace, no one had yet jumped on the back of us two. One guy managed to jump to just before we passed Dave, but we dropped him at the next major hill.

PDCC - Serpentine/Karnet Race Report

A lovely overcast day in the farmland on the outskirts of Serpentine provided a dramatic backdrop for the second of my forays into the PDCC racing events. I was joined by Toby and Dave in cat B. After all the pre-race formalities, we were off and going in a group of about 15. The first lap and a bit (of seven) was reasonably sedate, we even had a nice bit of rain to cool us down. Someone started to push hard at the front, and before we knew it we were pedalling along in the low 40s. The group lost a few of its members off the back. Toby and I tried to cool the pace a little to allow Dave to jump back on, but the rest of the bunch were having none of it.

After another lap or two, the rider in the blue kit started attacking. Toby was keeping a very close eye on Blue man and followed each and every of his attack. I was a little bit slower, but managed to find Toby's wheel most times. These attacks kept going on, but none were successful. The rest of the bunch seemed keen to not let anyone get away, but no one looked particularly enthusiastic about launching an attack themselves.

On the last lap, I found myself at the front of the bunch with about 3 km to go. Blue man was behind me, so I thought he might be keen for a bit of a quick breakaway before for the finish. So I took off expecting him to be on my wheel, and Toby right behind him. After a little bit, I looked behind to make sure everyone was still there. No one was. Thats a bit peculiar I thought. For a second or two I thought of waiting up for the others, but then I decided I might as well have a bit of a go at it myself and took off again. Toby told me later that the bunch were fighting a bit about who was going to chase me down. They looked at him, and he said no way. Thanks Toby :) I hit the final straight, looked over and saw two riders after me; Blue man and his accomplice. One of them dropped off after a little bit, but the other powered on. He was slowly catching, but I managed to cross the line with a good 100ish meters to spare. Managed to grab first place again. Toby came in 3rd (or 2nd according to the official results, I'm not sure). What a fine day of racing!

Highlight: Winning!
Lowlight: Umm, not much. I did run off the road once, but I do that normally anyway.

PDCC - Casuarina Race Report

I've been meaning to go to a PDCC road race for a number of weeks now, so I thought it was about time to get off my ass and actually go. This weeks was a lovely seven laps of a 9ish km course in Casuarina. Lovely weather for it too. I decided to chuck myself into B grade, cos thats where all the cool kids were hanging out.

With 15 of us setting out, the first few laps were pretty tame. A couple of attacks here and there, nothing too threatening. We dropped a couple of riders somewhere along the line. The action started just after crossing the start/finish to commence the 4th lap. The pace was right up and someone in the middle of the bunch decided to start going a little bit off vertical (tyre rub?). I don't really know what happened next, it all went by really fast. I think the first guy knocked someone else over and it went from there, domino style. Dave has a lot better write-up of the incident than this! Unfortunately someones handlebars got lodged in his nice new rear wheel. Luckily neither he or the bike was badly damaged.

Those not involved in the crash waited for a little bit to see if anyone was going to jump back into the race. I thought I saw Dave making a dramatic comeback, but it turned out to be a Cat C or D rider. Anyway the pack (now at 8 riders) was back together and off we went. The next 2 laps were reasonably docile, I know I was a bit worried about a repeat of the crash.

Things started to heat up on the last lap. The pace increased a bit. Toby told me to keep an eye out for Jelly Belly man (there were jelly beans on his jersey) as he was looking pretty strong. Halfway around the lap another rider was dropped. Soon after the guy in the pinkish jersey and his mate had a crack at breaking away from the rest of us, but to no avail. I found myself at the front of the pack with Toby and I thought, if it comes down to a bunch sprint I'm not going to do too well (with my little legs). A little hill was coming up so I thought I'd give it a crack and break away up the hill, and then somehow make it to the line before everyone else. So I took off up the hill and down the other side. After a few hundred meters I saw the pack was gaining on me, so I got up out of the seat and had a bit more of a go at it. I reached the last corner and almost clipped some traffic furniture going around it. Got up out of the seat again to get down the finishing straight. I had a look around me and the bunch had backed off a little. I was pretty sure I had it in the bag then. I didn't let up though just to make sure. Crossed the line to grab first place! YAY! Toby outmatched everyone in the sprint to grab second. 1st and 2nd for SPR, pretty nifty!

Highlight: Looking around on the finishing straight and knowing that they weren't going to catch me.
Lowlight: The crash. I was pretty lucky to avoid it.