Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cross-eyed at Terrey Hills

The past weekend proved to be a Sydney s(t)unner weather wise, and what better way to make the most of it than to bury oneself deep in lactic laced quicksand, spinning the legs in a fruitless attempt to escape from the 40 min smash-fest. As the second round of the MWMTB Club Winter series, the technical Terrey Hills course made up for a lack of actual hills with a tight twisty race course that demanded and rewarded precision riding in equal measure. 

Features included a lethal corner-barrier-stairs-barrier run up combo, a token muddy stretch, a gut clenching drop into a BMX tabletop, and a forgiving PVC barrier which was usually reserved for the equine inhabitants of the park. Check this sweet video here and Dave Bateman's great photography of the race here

Aboard my Gates Carbon Drive Hodala CX, I had made a departure from standard procedure by strapping on a set of deep dish carbon tubular wheels from my road racing days. With Schwalbe Racing Ralph rubber carefully glued on, the lower pressures afforded by the tubs proved to be a revelation.  The immense traction and bump absorption brought joy to the ride, at least as much joy as can be had in these short bursts of anaerobic suffering. Safe to say I'm hooked on tubs for off road racing, and will take my chances with riding them on road on the long commute to and from the race course.

With almost 2 months having passed since my last race, my expectations of performance weren't high. Punching my single (fortunately well guessed gear) up to speed, I sucked onto the wheel of the lead bunch. It wasn't too last however, as when tailing off the back of the group I got gapped when a rider decided to run rather than hop a barrier. Despite desperate attempts to get back on, the legs simply weren't willing.

I faded into lap three when the efforts of the previous two caught up on me but rallied back meekly and pulled off fifth. The course proved to be well suited to a singlespeed, so with a bit of high intensity riding and some effort to dial in my lines on grassy turns, I hope to be able to hang on at the pointier end.

A big distinction between this slick event and Christchurch's Southern Cross CX was the seriousness of it all. Despite the ridiculousness of pushing skinny tired steeds over barriers, paddocks and BMX tracks, there wasn't a costume or air horn in site! Perhaps it will just take a while for the rowdier aspects of the sport to catch on here in super civilized Sydney.

Bring on round 3 and 4 which double as the Sydney national series. Till then I've made it my task to boost the riding rowdiness of the local populace. Get amongst it Sydney!


Unknown said...

Hey are you coming back to the South Island in Jan/Feb for Great Southern or Kiwi Brevet?

Oliver (Ollie) Whalley said...

Hey MFW. Definitely planning to return for some Brevet action. Definitely the GSB but in the fence about KB. Can't get enough of Central Otago!

alex d said...

Hey Ollie, good to meet you on the weekend.

I tried to get some race photos but the only one that turned out was the one of you:

Oliver (Ollie) Whalley said...

Cheers Alex! Keep charging on the fixie and catch you at the next round.

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