Result: 1st overall solo
It’s been about 2 years since my last 24hr solo, and to make a come-back the weekend after racing a 12hr solo could have been my undoing.
I decided that the Kona 24hr would be the race to mark my return to the 24hr solo scene. It was held at Old Hiddenvale in Southest Qld. This course in the past has been good to me, although I had been told that this year it was the hardest and roughest a lot of riders had ever seen it.
After a really hectic week of work and a 9hr drive home to Qld on Thursday night, my race prep was poor to say the least. I didn’t even get a chance to sit down and sort my gear out until 8pm the night before the race.
Race morning rocked around and the conditions were pretty perfect; overcast and no more than 30 degrees. Before the race I managed to roll half the track and it lived up to what everyone had been saying (rough). My race plan was simple: go out pretty hard, make the field work for their positions, keep an eye on the riders I knew would be tough competition and prepare myself for any dark-horses who may have come onto the scene since I last raced.
I rolled up for race start and was quite surprised to see there were only two people taking the front row, so I took a position up front. After what seemed forever the count down to the start began. The gun went and I stuck to my plan, rolling up the first few km of fire road at the front of the pack. To my surprise, not even a team rider rolled around on me. Coming into the first descent, one of the solo riders I was concerned about (Andrew Mallet) took the lead and bombed the descent. Watching this, it became very clear that this race wasn’t going to be won on who could descend the quickest but on who could keep their bodies in one piece for the whole 24hrs! Coming up to the next hill, Mallet sat up and looked like he wasn’t keen to put in on the hills, so I took the lead again and went on to work hard on all the hills. My plan was to try to open a gap on the field. By the end of the 2nd lap my crew told me that I had opened up roughly a 2min lead. Everything pretty much continued like this for the next few hours until dark.
My race was progressing really well, hydration and eating were going to plan and my Trek Superfly100 was railing. At this stage of the game I had a 15min lead and things were looking good to keep increasing this lead.
The night laps ticked out and my crew had me sorted for batteries etc every lap. Things went well until 4am, when I started having trouble holding food down. At this stage my pits started getting a little longer, but Kiri told me I was clearing each lap a few minutes quicker than 2nd and so retaining my lead. By 7am I lapped 2nd place, and after a having a chat with him it was clear he was riding to finish. For me it was time to play the rest of the race safe.
The overall field was pushing right to the end, which kept Gavin and I riding right until the end to hold our places. Despite this, I rolled the last few laps with no hassle, and by 23hr 40min mark I had secured 1st overall solo, and could finally get off my bike.
Absolutely stoked with the result, especially after backing up from a 12hr the weekend before! A big thanks to all to the TargetTrek racing team for their support, and to Rubena for my tyres.