JetBlack 12 Hour 2015 Race Wrap Up

I’ll cut straight to the chase.  This year’s JetBlack 12 Hour race was a DNF.

I could list a heap of excuses as to why I didn’t finish but I’ll use just two:
1) In the 4 weeks leading up to the race I had ridden a total of 56km
2) In the 4 weeks leading up to the race I had a bout of bronchitis, laryngitis, mystery deathbed illness and had formed a habit of urinating blood quite often.

So anyway, I travelled six and a half hours through rain and hail to arrive at the beautiful James Estate Winery in Baerami NSW.  After a quick setup of my camping spot I settled in for a cold night and a hot meal with the Spin Cycle Clothing MTB Team and the Pedal 4 Pierce crew.

The rain cleared and we were in for a warm and sunny start for the race.  I donned the Soldier On Cycling kit for the final time in a race and made sure my bike was ready to roll.

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.:Legs Eleven:.
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.:Follow The Rainbow:.

After some deliberation over starting the race in a long sleeve or a short sleeve jersey I started the race with the guns on display. I headed off onto the grinding fire-road before entering the pristine James Estate singletrack.  The field spread itself out with the whippets at the front and the slow grinders at the back.  I found myself somewhere in the upper middle of the pack and set an easy pace for myself.

My easy pace idea was flawed from the start as I found my heart-rate sitting between 170-180bpm for my first two laps.  I pitted for a few minutes to have a quick feed and swap out my bidon before heading out again.  I was already feeling fatigued and I had been riding for a little over one hour.  My plan of taking it easy with plenty of stops, looked like it would need a few extended stops thrown in for good measure.  I headed out again a nice easy pace once again and watched as my heart-rate edged ever closer to my 185bpm maximum.

On my third lap leg cramps started to creep up on me.  It was very obvious that my lack of training and conditioning was going to rear its ugly head sooner rather than later.

.:Out on the trails:. Outer Image Collective
.:Out on the trails:.
Outer Image Collective

I was about three-quarters into my third lap when I came off my bike immediately after a fairly innocuous drop off thanks to my front wheel going one way and the rest of my bike wanting to have a nap on the dirt.  Despite what I thought after brushing myself off, my fall didn’t help my ongoing cramping issues.

.:Not the offending drop:. Outer Image Collective
.:Not the offending drop:.
Outer Image Collective

I pitted after my forth lap and headed out for a cramp/pain filled fifth lap.  Every little pinch climb and every time I stood out of the saddle caused my quads to seize up.  Getting to the end of this lap was difficult so I decided I would definitely have an extended rest/most likely retire from the race just shy of 4 hours on the bike.

.:Pushing, pushing:. Outer Image Collective
.:Pushing, pushing:.
Outer Image Collective

After hanging up my helmet, having a feed and getting changed; I spent the remainder of the 12 hour race taking photos of the event and helping Mrs Rocket Rolls pit crew for Rocket Rolls.

While my race didn’t go well it was great to see some great results from my friends in the Spin Cycle Clothing MTB Team and the Pedal 4 Pierce Crew!

.:Goodbye James Estate for 2015:.
.:Goodbye James Estate for 2015:.
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JetBlack 12 Hour 2014 Race Wrap Up

The JetBlack 12 Hour at James Estate Winery was the first road trip/short holiday that included our new addition, Celeste, tagging along.

I signed up for this race a number of months ago and before I knew I was heading to France with Team Soldier On to race in the Trois Etapes in August.

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.

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.:Kate got her own room:.

We spent Friday morning admiring the Hunter Valley before heading to James Estate Winery to register for the next days race.

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.:Not a bad view at James Estate:.
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.:The climb through the vineyard – suprisingly difficult:.
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.:Rider number 31:.

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.

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.:Better than camping food that’s for sure:.

The next day I prepared my bike, bottles and food and drove out to the event centre with family in tow.

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.:Mum & bub – errr polar bear:.
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.:Soldier On & The Berm together at another race:. (SPOILER: Two would finish, two would not)
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.:Last minute snuggles:.

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.

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.:Dusty and getting dustier:.

As I rounded my second lap of the 11.5km course I was suitably warmed up and feeling quite good.

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.:Transition:.

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.

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.:My pit crew:.

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.

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.:Long flowing golden locks in the breeze:.

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.


A huge congratulations to Bermers Alyssa (3rd place in Women’s Elites) and the Pedal 4 Pierce team (1st place in Mixed 4’s)