Mario Races Bicycles

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31st Oct 2015 - Peaks Challenge - Cradle Mountain

The peaks challenge in Tasmania is 235km long and has around 4000m of climbing along the way. My aim for the event was to safely get to the end in 10 hours or less. I had a few friends in the event as well who were all targeting around 10 hours or so. I started the race with one of them, Jude.

At the start of the race they organised the bunch into target finish times, there was an 8 hour and 9 hour group before our 10 hour target time group. We set off with the quicker group while the 11, 12 and 13 hour groups went away afterwards. This turned out to be very good because the first 20km or so was dead flat and we were going a good speed in the bunch. Jude and I ended up being a bit too far back and our group lost touch with the front of the pack. We decided to push on and were able to regroup with the first group.

Once the climbing started around the 20k mark I started slowly pushing forward and I lost touch with Jude there. After a few kms by myself of pushing forward I found a group which was going at a similar pace to me so I joined in. We stayed together for the next 30kms or so.

At the first major decent around the 55k mark I lost traction on the rear wheel on what didn’t seem to be a challenging corner, It was wet but I wasn’t banking hard but rather fairly upright. The back wheel tucked under and I started to slide along the ground with the bike attached. Thankfully the crash wasn’t too bad, I was going fairly quickly when it happened, around 40-50km/h so it could have been much worse. Damage to the bike didn’t seem to be much more than some cosmetic damage and I didn’t have much more than some gravel rash; Later I found out that that corner seemed to trouble a fair few of the riders, some people told me they got a bit of a wobble on through there and others went down as well.

I pushed on as the bike was fine and my injuries seemed minimal. Around the 65k mark I checked in at the rest station to wash out and get some patches over my wounds, I wouldn’t have done it otherwise as I felt fine. I ended up a losing a good amount of time here. While I stopped Jude arrived, he told me that the 10 hour marker rider was a few mins down the road so we were making good pace. Although because I had to spend so long here (maybe 10 mins) I took off after the 10 hour marker man, this was annoying as it was my goal time.

I spent the next 50 kilometres expending a huge amount of energy trying to catch Jude and the marker, I pushed really hard until the next rest stop around 110km along the ride. When I arrived Jude was there and he told me that the marker man had dropped behind and he wasn’t there yet, so I had actually overtaken him on the road but didn’t notice. This was good because I was in front of the target time but bad because i had tired myself out greatly.

I was also VERY nervous descending after the accident, as soon as I got any speed on I was on the brakes, this was super annoying as I would pass riders up the hill (which isn’t my strong suite anyways) just to watch them pass me on the descent.

We left the 110km rest stop about 5 minutes ahead of when the 10 hour market man would set off, we went with a reasonable pace but allowed the marker to catch us. We followed him and the group trailing most of the way to cradle mountain, I lost touch with the group however. On the climb up cradle mountain I bumped into Jude and we both caught the marker at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately we couldn’t rest long as he set out after a couple of minutes.

The descent down Cradle mountain was VERY quick in some places; because I didn’t want to go that fast I found myself using up all of my energy to catch our group when they slowed back down. This mean that after a short while, maybe 5-10kms I lost touch with the 10 hour group.

I soloed mostly until the 170km rest stop, I had to stop as I felt a bit sick in my stomach. I suppose 7 hours worth of cycling food does that. At the stop I found Jude and the marker group but they set off almost immediately. I had to take some time to eat so I set off maybe 10 minutes after.

I was able to push fairly hard for the last section, hoping to hit the 10 hour mark. I figured I had to average a bit under 30km/h and we didn’t have much climbing to do and were around 400m above sea level and the start was at the ocean. There were some fast little descents, which was good although they never lasted very long. When I got to Spellmans Road I lost a huge amount of time. Several riders past me up that section and I had to zig zag just to make it up.

With a few hills towards the end I didn’t end up making my target time. In the end I rolled over the line in 10 hours and 22 minutes. I’m pretty happy with the result in the end considering I came off the bike and was able to finish in the end.

Moving Time: 09:38:20
Distance: 238.68 km
Average Speed: 24.76 km/h
Climbed: 4182 metres