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Steven Hanley hackergotchi picture Steven
Hanley

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Thu, 15 Sep 2005

2005 NZ-O WSMTB 12 Hour race - 14:31
As in previous years the WSMTB 12 Hour mtb race was on and I went up to Sydney to compete. After I put our entry in Heidi decided she would be flying over to Australia to compete in the Mont Australian 24 Hour race and to focus on it a bit, thus the prospect of flying to Australia twice in less than a month was not a good one, so I had to find another team mate this year.

I eventually gave up the prospect of doing well in mixed pairs and asked Morgs (the guy between Heidi and I in that photo) to compete with me in mens pairs. Morgs is a damn fine rider, skill levels well above most of us mere mortals and a great guy to have a beer and sit around telling tall stories with too. This promised to be a good weekend. Also Morgs had never raced or even ridden around the Yarramundi course so he was in for a treat as it is a really fun mtb course.

Driving up to Sydney a bit later than intended on Friday arvo (I was held back in Canberra doing some work in preparation for the Mont 24 Hour I had to get done that week) I knew I was going to miss out on a practice lap. I caught up to Sam, Ben, Nikita and Max on the highway, the whole family was sick and it did not bode well for their race, they had been stopping often for Max to be sick on the way up. I followed them almost all the way to Richmond from there, however I saw the battery light come on in the car so had to stop at a mechanic. Annoyingly my alternator had failed, so I had enough time to drop all my kit at the accommodation and drive back to the mechanic at Londonderry. This meant I would have to get away from the race for an hour or so the next day to pick up the fixed car. Ahh well I was not getting home otherwise.

Morgs and Allan drove up in Morgs new car (S*b*r* Forester) after they were able to get away from work and arrived at the accommodation around the time I got back from the mechanic. The Canberra (and extras such as Warren) crew (Morgs, Allan, Crash, Warren, DaveS (on the left), Jim, TerryE, AlanV, DaveE and Garrett) headed out for dinner in Richmond and afterwards tucked in for a good sleep in preparation for the race.

I decided to dress up for the first lap of the race (including the run) as Marea had fixed the top from our 2004 Polaris outfit on Thursday. Pictured here in its full glory. :)

shiny Steve having fun on the first lap
Having fun on my first lap (photo by John Hardwick of Mountain Bike Australia Magazine) (full size)

There is a slight drawback to this outfit though, and the reason I was actually quite happy it rained for most of the duration of the 2004 Polaris, this outfit does not breathe well and is far too hot to be worn in hot weather. I survived through the heat on the first lap and changed to cooler clothes quickly. Morgs headed out for one lap and on his return I went out for a double. We settled in to doubles until around 4pm when we decided the laps for the rest of the day would be singles again.

On my second and third laps I had some cramping problems, obviously I had not been drinking enough, with the temperature heading for 31 Celsius on the day there was a possibility of a repeat of serious dehydration as I had at the 2003 Gravity 12 Hour, keen to avoid this I started drinking lots, getting through 1.2 litres of sports drink, and 1.5 litres of water before heading out for my next double. I had driven across to pay for the new alternator in the car and get my car keys between my first and second double, I was worried Morgs would have gone through already by the time I got back. Unluckily for Morgs he had a flat that he had to repair with glue on a lap then so I had some time to prepare for my next double lap.

In keeping with the drinking lots theme I went through 2 litres of water in my camelback and a 750ml bottle of sports drink in the following 1h25m of the double lap I did at this point. As it got cooler when evening came on my drink lots practice paid dividends as I headed out for the dusk into darkness lap and felt fantastic, I was able to start going fast again and really got to enjoy it a lot. When I got back from that lap Morgs said he was stuffed and it would be his last lap he was heading out for. I was not sure if I wanted to do more laps myself or not at that point. I was keen to wear the silver outfit again now it was cool, but I had suffered in the heat and was not sure if I would. In the end I decided not to, so did the other Canberra crew people we were hanging out with, thus before the race had even finished, in an attempt to avoid the traffic mess leaving post race we had packed up and returned to the accommodation and were sitting around drinking beers and telling stories of the day.

Almost everyone at the race was hit hard by the heat, I know for a fact the Canberrans had difficulty, going from our morning rides in 1 or 2 degrees, or day time rides in 15 or 20 degrees to racing in a humid 31 degrees was not easy. Cara Smith, racing solo said she cramped up for the first time in her life during this race, I saw a lot of people looking like they were going through hell with grimaces on their faces out there on the course. However irrelevant of that I suspect everyone had fun, I know I did and will be back next time.

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