Posted by: mtbcat | October 14, 2007

Twelve hour race at Macleans Island

Time = 11.42.33
Average = 20.3
Maximum = 35.2
Distance 237.73 kms

I forgot to start my heart rate monitor until 4 laps in so here’s the stats:

Train time 9.02.26
av hr: 152
max hr: 176
kcal 5707
health zone 38 secs
fitness zone 5.58.18
performance zone 3.02.56

All week I have been trying to explain to my co-workers why it was important to do a 12 hour mountain bike race.
Responses ranged from: “12 hours – that’s a long time to be a on a bike” to “You’re crazy”, all wished me luck – I wonder if some wondered if I’d be in on Monday…
And I was sent this link to another blog – quite funny about how to talk to non-cyclists (which nicely summarises the conversations I had been having all week with my co-workers):

There was one other woman in the race (from now on in this post she’ll be referred to as TOW – The Other Woman) and eight solo men.
TOW is quite a strong rider and I honestly doubted I’d be able to beat her but I thought I’d race as hard as I could and that’s about all I could do really.

The course was fantastic – the only slower bit was the traverse across the paddock to the timing tent and back out again. The traverse along the bottom of the stopbank was great for eating things before you had to get onto single track where you needed both hands. I think it separated people out as there was definitely not the big bunch up in the single-track that I expected.
We started – and we headed off over the lumpy paddock (which became my least liked bit of the overall track). It was soft on places – which slowed you down and it was bumpy – not good for trying to go fast on – just had to pick your way through the paddock.
I jumped in front of TOW (mistake number one) – she drafted me for 3 laps and I rode a bit harder than I wanted to because I really didn’t want to be passed. At the start of lap 4 I stopped to grab a bar and got passed, at the start of lap 5 I was 30 seconds down, lap 6 1 minute down, then lap 7 I couldn’t see her? Then she rode up beside me (she had stopped). Then I sat behind her and drafted for 2 laps. That was sensible, I recovered a bit and started to relax into the race. I started thinking I needed to stop but didn’t want to lose my place then TOW stopped for a loo break so I seized my chance and rode a very sprinty lap to gain myself a little bit of time so I could stop. My next few laps were recovering from that effort and struggling with leppin enduro which made my stomach a bit crampy. Pikelets saved me here, I normally don’t like them but I eat them on a bike (don’t ask me why)!
At 6.45 I stopped to eat and put my night lights on. Tea consisted of bacon and egg pie, lucozade, and 2 pikelets – which sounds like an awful mixture but something worked as my next lap was fantastic (maybe just eating anything would have worked). From then on the race improved, there’s something about riding at night for me – I just love it. Maybe it was also the fact that I thought I had only 4 laps to go…but when you are tired you cannot do maths so it took me 3 laps to realise that 4 laps was going to be 5…I thought if it was 9.20 pm when I went through the timing tent that I could maybe do a 40 min lap to get an extra lap in.
And it was 9.20 pm so I sprinted my final lap and somehow did a 34 minute lap which gave me 7 minutes in hand before the race ended.
The whole time I was completing my last 4-5 laps I was thinking that TOW would be gaining on me but in the end she did 18 laps and I did 20 laps.
The other surprise was that I was the second solo rider overall – so very very happy about that. I had a good day on the bike, felt very consistent and things just came together nicely. The lesson I learnt was that you have to stick to your race plan and not get rattled by trying to be competitive.
And you can always surprises yourself by doing more than you expect to…
Today I have eaten quite a bit, and have been drinking lots of water. I’m tired but I can feel myself recovering…maybe by Tuesday I can think about getting back on the bike…


  1. Hi Cath. I know we talked about this today at work, but I really enjoyed reading about the race. Having known you for a long time, I am really proud of how you have developed in to a fantastic fanatical cyclist. I admire your tenacity, courage and humility. I know I will never be a great cyclist but I love talking about it, so thanks.

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