Done & Dusted!!
What a whirlwind weekend that somehow managed to fly by….
The Melrose 18hr event, as was last year, is a pleasure to be involved in.
Great place, great people, great atmosphere, and unbelievably great single track to ride J
To top it all off I managed to come away with the win!! Wooooooo hoooooo
22 laps (205kms, with 5250M of climbing)
Some parts are a little blurry, but the race went along something like this….
Around 11pm all riders gather for a pre-race brief on what to expect
As always, a start line at a Melrose race is never the norm….
This year was to be no different, as all bikes where laid out across the road we were handed an egg & spoon. Ekkkk
As Mid-night approach a big arse tractor was fired up and one of the OTE guys, Al, was lifted up in the bucket, rifle at the ready haha
The tick of midnight was soon bellowed out by the crack of the rifle & we were away!
A 50 meter shuffle while shivering & not trying to drop the egg began to fits of laugher from the crowd
After that it was back in to the routine of riding, ahhh much more comfortable!
Like most endurance events, a good start is key & managed to jump up near the front with a few of the team riders
Any one that has ridden in Melrose know it has some of the most fun & flowing single track this state has to offer
The course that we rode was one that would not disappoint
First half flowed through creek beds, we then had a nice long climb up a fire road before climbing again to the highest point of the track
Second half to the track was along one of my favourite trails Melrose has, Dodging Bullets
This track makes you work on the climbs but you are rewarded for every climb with a grin winning decent that makes the hurt disappear in an instance
But ride this loop enough times and it beats the body up pretty bad!!
I managed to ride thought the night quite comfortably, to the welcoming news that most other competitors had taken the refuse of sleep before dawn
So I was able to enjoy a bacon sambo for breaky with the comfort of knowing I had worked up a 5 lap lead by 7am
I have to make mention of the unbelievable importance of my support crew that kept me & my bike running so well over the entire event (plus who doesn’t love bacon sambos cooked for them in the morning huh!!)
I took another stop around 10am to change clothes, and this is where everything began to hurt for me
Basically 10am-2pm is missing from my memory, things have never hurt so bad nor have I felt so emotionally drained
My legs funnily enough never really felt too bad, its more once your heads not right, simple things are a little hard to comprehend
My Saviour!!!! At midday another quirk that is Melrose racing began, the Beer short cut, god bless you!!
On the back side of the course was the Cooper & TORQ shortcut (had to eat a TORQ energy bar & knock back a beer)
The added bonus of this was you managed to miss the 2 leg sapping climbs that were demoralising after 14hrs on the bike (so I held out on the short cut till 2pm)
Each racer was allowed to have 2 short cuts, I can safely say that a beer has never tasted soooooooo good (only went the light as I could see myself getting loose otherwise haha)
Might point out now that for me, time wise, this was not shorter, haha, I took my time and toughly enjoyed the company of the wonderful friendly volunteers running the tent knowing I was missing the 2 climbs J
At 3pm I had realised I had enough of a lead to not be beaten and started to enjoy being out there again, somewhat…..
Last year I managed to win with 20 laps, so with the help of 2 6hr racers who rode the last 2 laps with me we decided to beat last years effort
Massive thankyou to Jason & Aurelia for pushing me to the end!! They were donating $$ per lap as well so another big thanks
I crossed the finish line at 5.20pm feeling an over whelming rush of emotion, I was truly glad I was done!
I had won by 6 laps in the end
I have to once again thank Nic, Mic & Gemma from Upfront Bikes, being support crew for riders is a thankless task which is no easy feat & I can’t extend my gratitude enough
To Dave & Billy as well for bringing their A game drinking on Friday night to make the entertainment value rise (must add that Billy took out the 6hr race Sat with a nice hangover!!)
Over the Edge & Southern Flinders Rough riders groups for putting on a fantastic event
To my awesome Wife & 3 beautiful boys for putting up with the stupidity that I put my body through & the hours of training they let me get out for
But most of all, to each & everyone that donated to the cause that was the main reason I returned early to racing
It has be an extremely humbling experience again to see how much people have jumped on board & supported this wonderful foundation
So from the bottom of my heart, thankyou all!
The webpage is still open if you would like to still donate
I hope to have some picture in the new week to send out for you all