Of the races on my 2012 calendar, the Convict 100 was the one I was looking forward to most. A good part of my mtb specific training is done on the old convict trail and being familiar with the course is worth plenty. The single loop nature of the course makes it virtually impossible to take a wrong turn and the minimalistic amount of singletrack frees up the mind and body for creating the biggest box you possibly can.
For the third week running, I was preparing myself for the packing. Having never done as many marathons in such a short time frame, I was conscious that three in a row may take its toll. Surprisingly, the body was happy to play in Canberra, and so going into St Albans I was hopeful of doing well.
Despite setting a PB up the Wright’s Creek Climb, I was disappointed to see that I was cresting the top outside of the top 15. At the time I thought that this is a showing of the depth of riders turning up to these events and placing well is getting harder every year. The optimistic part of me thought that half of them will blow up and I’ll catch them on the Webb’s Creek Climb.
An hour into my favourite marathon, the dark clouds seemed to settle directly above and I had realised I had left my legs on the Mt Stromlo ascent seven days prior. By the time I reached the Great North Road proper, I had been popped by every rider in sight and all I could see were boxes lining the side of the trail.
Admitting defeat, I eased off the juice and took in the scenery from the compounds of my cardboard surroundings. Cruising along the trail forged by our ancestors, I could see that a ball and chain had managed to latch onto my ankle. Every climb felt walking pace, and the fast sections were a far cry from my training rides. I was convinced I was the last elite rider on course.
By the halfway point, I hadn’t been caught by the first wave of non-elite riders and my time was 6 minutes quicker than my previous PB. Despite how much it hurt, I pushed on and fumbled my way towards the canoes.
The canoe crossing had been playing on my mind since I had almost catastrophically cocked it up in 2011. Luckily the plan of looking ahead worked a treat and I cruised over without a hitch.
A quick refuel on the road section and I could see the shackles breaking free. The Womerah Range has always been a favourite of mine – a long drawn out road climb, just the way I like it. On the way up I busted out of my box like Marilyn Monroe out of JFK’s birthday cake. I managed to pick up a few places and salvage an otherwise disastrous race to finish in 4h24m.
Less than 36 hours after the race, I am already looking forward to 2013 and hitting my home ground with fresh legs.