It was going to be a big week from the beginning with everyone ramping up for the Crossfit games. Whether it was competing or just the anticipation of what the athletes faced, there was a definate buzz in the air.
We started the week with 1 of the hardest WODs I’d done, 5 rounds for time of; 10x Thrusters, 10x Burpees and a 200m run. Warm up was 21-15-9 of pushpress, air squat & pushups. This on its own was a workout let alone the main event to follow. I kicked off my first round quite comfortably with 30kg on the bar but by the 3rd I was knackered. The last 2 were a huge struggle and I completed the final feeling light headed and ready to spew, all the signs of a big effort and a time of 15:18.
Wednesday was a Hero WOD – “Griff”. For time run 800m forward, 400m backwards, 800m forward and finish with another 400m backwards (very entertaining for passing motorists). We warmed up with a bit of Snatch practice as this was 1 of the movments needed for the 1st Open games WOD. Then we hit Griff… Not a big fan of running and my ongoing shin issues I was going to do a row combination, but at the last minute I went bugger it and thought I’d try the run. In the end this was a great decision, I completed the WOD full RxD, 15:06 and with no shin issues. The longest run I had done in a long time and definately 1 of the hardest. It was a great feeling to have completed my first RxD WOD and for it to be a running WOD. Needless to say I was pretty chuffed with my efforts.
To end the working week another tough WOD was ahead of us, this was a WOD from the 2008 Crossfit Games, for time, 5 rounds of 5x deadlifts followed by everyones favourite 10x burpees. No rest for the wicked here. Starting witha gentle warmup of 10x 20m sprints and at the end of every 2nd sprint we had to do 5 air squats and 5 pushups. I hit the deadlifts with 100kg and was somewhat regretting this by round 4, but managed to finished with a respectable 7:42 after almost not making it backup off the ground after the last set of burpees. Finishing the night with a 5min squat hold, we were all glad to be done.
Saturday saw a number of The Crossfit Chamber athletes competing in the 1st Games Open WOD. There was a good crowd turnout to support and cheer them on for a very challenging seesion. Posted earlier in the week, the WOD consisted of, AMRAP in 10mins of 30 Double Unders & 15x Power snatches (35KG). There were guesses as to how well each could do and their goal, but only time would tell. As I missed this I don’t have all the results but below are a few pics of the athletes in action. And for more details checkout out the Crossfit Games Open page, and see just what is in store for those competing as well as results form around the world.
With the Dwellingup100 off-road enduro coming up in September and having just done the Kep track with PIHC I was in need for some more distance mountain biking. I’d only ridden the usual XC rounds and a few small enduros since the last 100km effort (2010 Karri Cup). I remember telling myself after the Karri Cup that I’d need to put in some more saddle time before doing the 100km again. The time for action was nigh.
I was keen to give the Kep Track a decent effort after the small introduction a few months ago. It’s basically a dirt track that follows the Golden Pipeline from Mundaring Weir to Northam, 75km away. It’s not technical at all but does provide ample riding distance on dirt which would suit our purpose nicely. I’m not really into touring and staying in Northam didn’t interest us, so it was put forward that we ride it out and back. It’s not even hilly but my thinking was that what it lacked in elevation would be made up for in distance. The Dwellingup100 involves quite a lot of up and down but is only a mere 100km – so surely this would be a good training ride! A few emails to some interested parties, a short debate on a free weekend and a date settled on. It’d be good to knock this one over in a day.
By the time Sunday morning rolled around our band of riders had been whittled down to four. Lee, Craig, Dave and myself, rocked up to Mundaring Weir Hotel carpark at 0600  where it was deserted and dark. Dave and myself on dually’s, Lee on his cool Focus hardtail and Craig on his Surly Long Haul Trucker. After some Mindless Banter™ – mostly about how chilly it was, and jibes about Dave and myself not having lights we set off shortly before 0630.
The other three headed up the road and then wondered where I had got to. Having done this ride before I knew the way. I did the first half klick on the track whilst the others plodded up the road and then joined the track. Jumpers and jackets were discarded shortly afterwards. The 7km or so to Mundaring township is mostly wide-ish sniggletrack , crosses the road a couple of times and very pleasant to ride, even uphill. It was dark, with just enough moonlight, and a bit of mist. A favourite part of any ride, we were just waiting for the Tauntauns to appear out of the white haze…
We negotiated the unsigned dogs-leg at Mt Helena with no hassles thanks to my prior knowledge. Most of the track is easy to follow but this intersection could be a trap for first timers.
Past the BMX jump track near Chidlow, the rest of us resisted Craig’s call to ride the jumps. I was keen not to break anything too early in the day.
The next section of flat path was dry but quite bumpy. In the not too distant past it seems a horse or two had been through here when it was wet and left many hoof marks which had now dried hard. Kind of like corrugations but different. Certainly not the most pleasant surface to ride on.
Went past Baker’s Hill and it’s pie shop. Plodding along at a steady pace, Dave starting to feel the effects of his limited saddle time of late and the previous day’s crit race.
Nearing Clackline there was a fun downhill run ending in a gully across a stream. Video
Six or seven kilometres of deserted road provided Craig with a chance to stretch his Surly’s legs necessitating him to wait for the rest of us at a lovely paddock edge. Reminded our two ex-pats of Wales apparently. It is quite scenic in parts and all the sheep were out with their lambs following them about. We continued on past the West Northam water tanks followed by a nice run of downhill sniggletrack just before Northam where I got the chance to open it up and show Craig he can’t beat me at everything on a bike. A cool, rough downhill, complete with dodgy pipe crossover (almost came unstuck here) before a short pathway blat into Northam town centre where the Garmin told me we had done 75km on the dot.
Not much doing in Northam on this lovely sunny Sunday. I was looking forward to the mountain bikers lunch of choice  but was sadly disappointed with what was on offer. A bakery, a cafe or Chicken Treat. We settled on the bakery which was empty when we arrived but within a minute of entering it was filled with more than a dozen locals. Purchases were made and we adjourned to the local park by the river to scoff down our sausage rolls, pies, buns, pastries, milk & Cokes.
After refilling CamelBaks and bottles we headed back out of town and climbed the steepest part of the ride. The rough track next to the pipeline wasn’t as hard going up as I thought it might be when I was barrelling down it earlier on, but was still a task after the recent belly filling.
A regroup at the Wales-esque paddock took place as the others waited for me, before the short roll down the road to Clackline. We waited there too as it seems Lee had a puncture. Craig went back to help him out with Dave and me heading off up the track. It wasn’t too long before Craig and Lee caught, then passed us and we were off the back again. This was the last time I saw Craig until I finished the ride! Lee I could see in the distance for a bit then he disappeared into the yonder again. I was struggling at this point but a short break and a few lollies gave me an energy burst and helped me catch up to where Dave had stopped and waited for me. He was knackered and inhaled his emergency gel and we had some more lollies to see us thru. A lady rider heading the other way said she hadn’t seen anyone else on the track. We figured Lee and Craig must’ve finished. We re-mounted , determined to finish off the day. Dave spent most of the remaining kilometres back to Mundaring township yo-yoing off the back of my wheel. I perked up once we reached the downhill sniggletrack back to the Hotel, this was the prize at the end of the day and we bombed down it, legs forgetting that we’d already asked 143km of them. We rolled into the carpark, and the band was playing in the pub across the road, with 150km on Mr Garmin.
Craig was waiting for us – and had been for 25 minutes! Strangely, Lee turned up a few minutes later than us. Turns out he stopped to fix another flat and then got lost, missing the dog leg mentioned previously at Mt Helena on the way back and started heading to John Forrest.
The ride was certainly harder on the dually than if I had taken the hardtail as previous, but the whole exercise was time in the saddle on the same bike I would do the Dwellingup100 on.
* A big thanks to Dave since he wrote most of this and I edited in my bits.
 “It’s 0600. What’s the O stand for? Oh my God, it’s early!” – Adrian Cronauer, Good Morning Vietnam
 Meaningless MTB-OZ reference
 Sniggletrack = singletrack
 burger with the workx & chocolate milkshake
Well it was going to be a big weekend for the 2010 KarriCup from the start, with a few weeks of organising and getting prepared, most of us managed to make it. Unfortunately a few of the crew dropped out due to work commitments (next time guys). The caravan was picked up on Friday afternoon and bikes readied that evening. Saturday morning was almost a no go when someone’s alarm didn’t go off. Luckily the missus woke up and we got the show on the road with not too much time out. The car was packed and we hit the road for the trip south.
Normally a trip south is a couple of hours and not too bad but towing an ‘anchor’ in big winds can double that and the fuel usage. Eventually we made Pemberton were the fellow SPR guys were to race the Pemberton Classic. A quick stop here to drop off a jersey(thanks Kimbo) for Dave then onto Northcliffe to set up camp and have a quick rest.
Our accommodation for the weekend was Round Tu It Caravan Park in Northcliffe. A lovely bush setting to park the caravan and take it easy when not on the bike or checking out the local tourist attractions. We parked up the van and set about getting it habitable, with annex and bedding etc. Once all was done and a quick rest out of the way, I set off back to Pemberton with the ol man to catch the action at the Pemberton Classic Crits series. Meanwhile we left the wife and my brother to guard camp and have dinner ready for our return 🙂
We made Pemberton in quick time and arrived to the SPR crew warming up and getting ready for their Crits races. The lads were looking sharp with a good showing of force in the SPR Team kit. The guys put in some big efforts to make a few key placings, despite the unbalanced grading. (full report here) While in town I caught up with a few of the locals from when I grew up and caught up on the goss about the new MTB course being built.
After the completion of the Crits races we bad the guys farewell and wished them luck on the road race the next day. From here we headed back to Northcliffe with Dave in close pursuit for our pasta dinner and a good sleep before the race ahead.
The campsite was packed with fellow riders and I ran into a few of the regulars who get to these events and had a quick chat about plans for the next day. After a good carb load dinner and final bike and kit prep we were off to bed.
No sooner had I fallen asleep (had a pretty average nite trying to sleep properly) and it was time to rise. The park was springing to life with bikes and riders everywhere. We had a quick breakfast and kitted up for the short ride to the start at the Northcliffe recreation oval. Everyone hustled around the start to hear the pre race briefing, catch up with friends and chat to other riders. Before we knew it though the start was underway. We said farewell to our support crew, my wife & father(thanks guys, was much appreciated by the 3 of us), and got under way. The start was slightly staggered but maybe not quite enough to avoid the congestion on the Round Tu It single track. It was a quick start for most until that point when it became a stop or walk situation for a little bit, but eventually things sorted themselves out and there was free roads ahead.
After the Round Tu It single track there was some open road and fire trails to get riders warmed up. Just before this ended and we hit the paddocks, riders had to negotiated a nice sand patch before the Borara Rd crossing. This proved entertaining to watch as inexperienced riders came unstuck or got caught out. It was then thru some paddocks, over a dam wall, past some cows and back into the bush. Fast flowing sections of firetrails and single track ensued broken up with a couple of river crossings which proved a bit too much for some riders who didn’t exercise caution and had some OTB moments. Thankfully the few incidents I saw were not too bad. It wasn’t long and we were into the Borara State course, which brought back a bit of technicality to the ride and kept you on your toes. Soon after and we were at the end of the 1st stage, were Dave was already waiting.
We had a quick rest & resupply, water was much needed as the day was warming up and then it was on the way again. Stage 2 was the shortest of the 4 and also the fastest. It was mostly flat lantana and dry swamp flats with a few minor undulations. Dave pulled away and Devan and I continued on at our own pace. There wasn’t much to say about this section as it was over pretty quick, just dusty and fast, but fun.
End of stage 2 was the half way point and lunch. The organisers provided a good selection of food including fruit and sandwiches to help riders refuel. Also the local CFA had a truck setup for getting a hose down and bit of a wash to freshen up, this proved pretty popular. As I pulled in the 50km riders were just heading off.
After a good rest, feed and knicks change it was back on the bike. Stage 3 started with a nice section of technical single track just to remind you this was not going to be easy. I found this by far the hardest stage of the day, not because of the actual course but more probably by the fact i had just had lunch and fatigue was setting in. This section was a good mix of terrain and even a tree across the trail (that had fallen overnight) for riders to negotiate their way thru, once some figured out that yes they were going the right way. I think I spent a fair bit of time pushing my bike on this stage as my back was giving me grief and cramping was hitting me. Mainly I think due to poor nutrition, I was finding it hard to eat even though I knew I had to, my stomach just felt nauseous. At least I was able to pump the fluids in but food was probably more needed.
I eventually made the end of stage 3 where Dave & Devan were already waiting for me. I managed to get a bit of food in here which pepped me up for the final run home, even though I did have serious thoughts of throwing it in. But I had come this far and wasn’t going to give up too easily. We set off on stage 4, basically the reverse of stage 1, for home. Dave was off from the start and I hung with Devan for a bit but he soon took off as well. Back thru the other half of the Borara State course was quite pleasant and I had a little chuckle at the downhill corner, jump with a tree in the middle of it, knowing good and well that many a rider had been caught out by it earlier (the bonus of knowing a trail). Out the back of Borara and it was into a good section of flowing downhill trails, which brought some welcome relief for the legs. These continued down til the creek crossing and then it was back up again, yuk, I hate hills.
Eventually it was out of the trees and back to the paddocks and I knew the end was not too far way. It was here I caught up with Devan again and we tackled the paddocks together, before he took off again. Coming thru the last paddock, the farm owner was kicking back in his camp chair (minus a beer) cheering the remaining riders on. Back thru the sand pit and along the final fire trail and I forgot about the 50m section of calf burning hill I had to negotiate. I finally made it back to the short bitumen section and rolled almost to town, the temptation to pull into the caravan park on the way and finish there was strong but with only a few kms to go I struggled on and eventually made the finish.
I collapsed into a chair and stretched the legs a bit, while getting more fluids in as it had been a hot day. We watched the final few riders come thru and had a bit of a chat with a few of the organisers while waiting for the presentations. They kept getting pushed back so we ended up going back to camp for a well deserved wash and feed, before making it an early night.
All in all it was a good day. Having done a few 100km races/rides before I thought this would have been a bit easier. I think my nutrition was what let me down the most, as I was fitter than when I had done the previous events. But next time(if there is) I hope to be even better prepared and have more training under the belt. It had been almost 6 months since Dave & myself had been on the MTB bikes, too much scumming had made us soft we think.
A few improvments for next year –
- a few extra signs on some of the confusing intersections
- make distance markers harder for delinquents to remove (this 1 is not always easy)
- more staggered start or change the singletrack location
- bit less of the paddocks, while generally ok, a few grass hidden holes seemed to catch some out.
- better organisation of presentations time as it got pushed back twice (1hr 1/2 in total)
Other than that a big thank you to all the organisers and volunteers who helped make the day what it was. It is a well run event and really well supported by the locals, whether they were lands owners opening their land for use or helping thruout the day, Thank you.
Yes I know there hasn’t been any updates for a while but due to work commitments I’ve been off the bike for the last 4 weeks. In preparation for this weekend’s Sat ride I did step out for a quick spin on Thursday to make sure the bike was ok & I wouldn’t carc it. Needless to say I felt pretty rusty.
Anyway Sat morning came round and it was already pretty warm on leaving the house, this was going to be a hot day. I arrived at the start point feeling pretty good after such a long time out of the saddle. I then realised I’d forgotten to load the morning’s route into my Garmin, thankfully it has the nifty ability to transfer courses between units using Ant+ (Cheers Melvyn).
Soon after we were on the way, heading out Great Eastern Hwy at a nice steady pace. On the way out I got speaking to a couple who were over from Canberra for a few weeks and had decided to join the SPR crew this morning (and after the ride said they would be back again) after hearing about us and checking out the website. Looks like we are really getting a name for the club.
The ride up Garrett road and Grand Prom went pretty smooth, although the pace was slowly creeping up with the fast guys eager to put down the pedal. By now I was starting to feel the lack of kms in the legs over the last few weeks. Hills were hurting more than usual and taking their toll on me. After the group split there was still a lil more climbing before a few rolling hills with a generally downwards flow to the city. From here it was pretty smooth sailing (me still struggling on the hills though, but making up for it on the downs & flats). The heat was not helping as the temp had crept up to almost 30C by now. We hit the fast downhill section behind Kings Park and everyone made the turn behind the hospital, but we did miss the turn thru the back of Claremont, but no biggy as we could take the slightly longer route at the next turn.
Thru the last half of the route Toby was a great help with drafting me back to the group after some of the hills and big Dan was a machine helping to push me up a few of the hills and not drop too far off the back of the pack. Thanks to them I managed to keep with the main group all the way until the home stretch thru Dalkeith, where the day took its toll on me and I couldn’t hang on any longer. At this point the fast group started to trickle thru as they caught up, offering words of encouragement and then disappearing into the distance (maybe 1 day I’ll be at their level). From here I continued at my own pace with what I had left in me, back to the coffee shop where i replenished the water stocks and had a breather before heading home.
Having a few weeks off really does drop the fitness level and make the first ride back a bit of a struggle, I spent half the ride in the hurtlocker, but its good to know your putting in. Also with the holidays coming up I hope to get a few extra rides in to get back to where I was and also improve my endurance and speed.