So this is more like a monthly recap. Actually its pretty much 6 weeks since my last weekly recap which was posted on the 1st of December! Since my last recap I have posted:
I have also drafted a post on my tri gear from last year but need to get my act sorted with pics!
But enough excuses. Here is my Weekly/Monthly/6 Week update!
After a week of recovery from IMWA, I had to shift my focus to trail running to be ready to take on the Bogong to Hotham run in early January. Seemingly a mad idea with all the Christmas activities and after a hard year of racing but I love trail running as much as I love blasting out high speed rides on my tri bike aero bars. Christmas also brought a whole bunch of friends back to Sydney and plenty of opportunities for long rides. So I had plenty to do.
I managed to fit in between trail runs anumber of cool rides. This included a 3 Gorges ride (well actually I bailed after 2). The ride is stunning heading down Galston Gorge and Berowra Waters ferry (pic below).
I also rode out to West Head (pic below) and Akuna Bay as well as a few other really nice rides in Ku-ring-gai National Park.
Finally I also got a chance to check out the new Serrata and Gahnia mountain bike trails (a couple of times) built in the National Park at Bantry Bay. I managed a pretty good stack and smashed up my knee pretty bad which forced me to take it a bit easy on the running right when I should have been peaking and forced an early taper.
Unfortunately, by the time the Bogong to Hotham rolled around all the great weather we had been having broke and we arrived at our camp site right a the race start line to constant rain.
And then the bad news arrived. Race Cancelled.
It was absolutely the right decision. While its always disappointing and a hard call to make this is the kind of wisdom required to be applied by the RD to run such an event.
And with that we spent Friday exploring Bright and Mt Buffalo (where we will return later this year for the Buffalo Stampede), spent a second night camping through constant rain and come Saturday morning packed up and headed home. Hopefully on our return we will get better weather!
This brings me finally to this last weekend. My original plan was to have been recovering but since the B2H didn’t happen I scheduled a couple of other races. Saturday morning was Parkrun and Sunday, the Sydney Trail Series 20k around Manly Dam and Bantry Bay. My home trails!
Goal 1: Get back under 20mins for Parkrun. It has been ages since I managed a sub 20min 5k. March 2014 in fact. So I toed the line and had a pretty good run. The third km hurt as usual but at the end I ticked the box and suceeded.
Goal 2: Top 25%/Sub 2hrs at the STS. These are my home trails after all and I know them extremely well. I knew from previous results listed that a top 25% finish was a realistic goal and sub 2hrs (ie better than 6min/km) should be good enough. In the end I managed sub 2 hours but on a slightly modified course that took out a chunk of winding single track and replaced it with a straight section of road. I managed top 30% (33/109) and 1:59:03. Not quite where I wanted to be.
I am not sure what went wrong at the STS but it just seemed to take me ages to find my groove. Its easy to make plenty of excuses… Changed my electrolyte which didn’t agree with me, burnt too much energy on Saturday, too hot, pack didn’t fit right and was distracting me, heart rate too high at the start, everyone surging on the single track at the start, stuck in traffic etc. Yeah the world was against me. Simple fact is I need to take a big dose of cement, HTFU and get this all sorted before I line up at the 6ft Track Marathon and definitely before my longer races (Buffalo Stampede, Mt Solitary Ultra, TNF100) and make sure I turn up ready to race.
Ignoring all my issues on the day the STS was a great event well run and well organised. Its worthy of a proper race review which I might just do! I really recommend it.
And to close one final rant.
I am really fed up with the whole Walkers vs Runners vs MTBs at Manly Dam / Bantry Bay and some common sense needs to prevail. I am a Walker, Runner and Mountain Biker and use the trails all round the dam. It makes no sense to divert a trail running event with 100’s of runner onto the road for the sake of the 5 mountain bikes that are going to miss out on 2km of link track. Its a shame there needs to be perceived ownership and control of what are after all assets of the public. I would love to see the trails around the dam used for MTB racing as much as for running racing. Its a good use of a wonderful asset.
At the end of the day every single trail user should act as a custodian of the trails they use.
Also importantly, there is no reason runners and MTBs shouldn’t share tracks. Both move at similar speeds and both need to act in a way that ensures other users are safe. This means moving at a pace that lets you avoid bikes that might be stopped to inspect a feature, people who have fallen over and are possibly injured and riders or runners who are slower than you.
Most importantly some trails need protecting. Of the highest order are indigenous engravings which still are frequented by many riders. Some trails also simply cant handle the traffic or impact of certain modes of use. One example is Eva’s track which has been really suffering with waterlogging after recent burning off activities. Its closed to mountain bikes for good reason but some continue to ride it. Personally I believe it was also questionable to run the STS race through there as the track is really suffering and needs to recover.