The JetBlack 12 Hour at James Estate Winery was the first road trip/short holiday that included our new addition, Celeste, tagging along.
I’ve enjoyed the past few Rocky Trail events and this was guaranteed to be one of their best. Martin and Juliane are amazing people that put on mountain bike events that are second to none. So to say I was looking forward to riding around the James Estate Winery was an understatement.
But before I was able to ride the grinding fire-roads and flowing singletrack I had to move the family 550km north of Canberra; not an easy feat with a 5 week old. Many pit stops followed with some roadside feeds; but finally we arrived at our cottage B&B near Denman.
We spent Friday morning admiring the Hunter Valley before heading to James Estate Winery to register for the next days race.
As we weren’t camping at the winery with the other Bermers; the offer to have dinner with the Hills down the road was too good to refuse.
The next day I prepared my bike, bottles and food and drove out to the event centre with family in tow.
The race started as planned, Chad in the front of the middle pack and a slow but steady start to warm up; and warm up I did. Despite the single digit temperatures I was soon shedding my arm warmers and wishing I wasn’t wearing my knee warmers.
The initial fire-road was a grinding battle against sand, rolling resistance and a gradual incline into the singletrack. The singletrack was a mix of sweeping tracks and flowing corners with so many drop-offs I lost count. My normal aversion to A-Lines in races was soon overcome by the fact I missed the B-Lines each time and still managed to keep my bike rubber side down.
As I rounded my second lap of the 11.5km course I was suitably warmed up and feeling quite good.
By my fourth lap I was feeling a great deal of discomfort in my left hip and upper glutes. The same feeling I got during the Soldier On Training Camp at Tweed Heads.
I headed out on my fifth lap knowing full well that it would be my last, my hip was starting to hurt and my lower back was well and truly seized up. Every-time I left the saddle the pain grew more intense. So I put my final effort into the final climb and descent into transition before calling it quits for another year.
At the end of the day I wasn’t disappointed with my effort, I knew full well I wasn’t going to give 100% due to what was at stake in the coming weeks with the Trois Etapes. Instead I went on a holiday with my family and went for a little ride in between.