The convict 100 started in an interesting way as I was playing ‘taxi driving’ for Jason English, collecting him from Sydney airport right in the middle of Sydney peak hour! His flight landed at 6pm and I left home at 4:30pm, I only live 9km away from Sydney airport, and I was still late, ‘god damn’ Sydney traffic!!! We finally got on the road to battle the Sydney traffic out of the airport, I put Jason on navigation duties along with Google maps, which was a mistake, we finally found the M1 and we were away…until we hit the centre of Sydney and the stupid GPS missed a turn and we soon found ourselves doing laps around the law courts and Martin place! It was now 7pm and we only had done 12km not happy, at least I took Jason on a sightseeing tour around Sydney, after all that I finally found the sign to the Harbor bridge and we are away to St Albans; the home on a century of dirt the convict 100.
We arrived at St Albans the doors to the back country. No phone reception, no work calls, no Facebook, no nothing, worry free weekend how good is that, just a weekend of riding bikes good people more could I ask for? Now it was time to find Jason’s bike and tent as that came down with Jamie Vogele (another port Macquarie local), all we had to find it was a really bad and not very bright rear light. We must have spent a good hour walking up and down rows of parked cars and tents trying to find Jamie , and of course he decided to park the furthest place possible from me.
The smell of bacon and egg rolls filled the air as the sun rises and breaks the foggy, overcast morning; so tempting – not the best race food in anyone’s books, unless it’s a 24hr then anything goes. Luckily the awesome team form Way2Live were there to fill me up with their brown rice porridge. While I was stuffing my face with their great food, I watched the start of the race begin for the elites, 100km, and the 68km begin. As this was my first real race after coming back from the world 24hr champs in NZ earlier in the year I selected the 48km option – didn’t want to jump into the deep end straight away. 10am rolls around and it was time for the start of the 48km race. Bang!! The gun goes off and somehow I end up at the front of the field and in control of the race (first time for everything right??) for the first 8km of the race it was superfast rolling roads
I was able to tell who the roadies were within the bunch and the people to watch out for.After the road slog and the creek crossing we hit the first and only hill of the day, this hill is insanely steep and loose with ‘baby head’ rocks everywhere. Half way up this hill there was a crash and I was caught up in the spill everyone was ok but I was not happy as the guy that crashed used me to stop him falling off the cliff, although there was trees every to grab onto. As I headed across the ridge line to enjoy the spectacular views below I was in between the lead group and the group that crashed I was able step up the pace again as there were no big climbs to tackle. Riding solo is what I am best at as I can pace myself and look at my numbers from the power meter and grind it out. Off in the distance I spot a familiar rider and friend, Charlotte. Charlotte and I team up to get back on the lead group, yet again the pace picks up again and its full steam again, with a bit of team work we are now sitting in 3rd and 4th place outright, at this point I could see that she was exhausted, but I was determined to bring her back with a smile from here it was all downhill, the last 5km were a blast on my pivot 429sl, the bike was able to eat up the wash board road surface and power along, it really is the ultimate marathon bike, even with Charlotte in tow. The final 1km sign was ahead and I went all out to take out 3rd place with an awesome sprint finish as 2nd was just ahead. I crossed the line with a respectable time of 1hour and 52 minutes, in 3rd place.
The convict is truly a great race in every way, form the people you meet, to the location, and even and the story’s you ride away with. I will defiantly be back next year to race the full 100km race as I will be in full training mode for the world 24hr champs in Finale Italy.