For a bit of Canberra Day long weekend fun I signed up and completed a MTB race called The Willow yesterday morning. The race is named after James Williamson, an Australian MTB rider that sadly passed away a few years ago. It's a popular event, well organised, and held at the Wingello State Forrest in NSW. There were 25km, 50km, and 75km options. Given my more marathon oriented type of riding this season, I signed up for the 75km option. I had never ridden the Wingello trails, but had been told to expect lots of fire roads and less signal track riding. However, to my surprise, it was probably more 60% single track vs 40% fire road, with a combination of pine and native forest terrain which helped protect riders from the bright sun for most of the course. The 75km race consisted of x3 laps of the 25km course. Riders competing in the 75km event headed out first at 9:15AM. The start of the race was typically mad, with most folk probably burning too much energy, eager to get into a good position to avoid the single track bottlenecks that occur on the first lap. Some bigs gun turned out so from my perspective I wasn't going to bother pushing to the front. I know my spot in the field :) So how did it go? Not particularly well after the half way point due to the physical fatigue that started to kick in quiet rapidly. First the hip flexors, followed by the lower back, quads, and calves. By the third lap I was cramping enough that I had to stop several times to stretch the pain out of the body. It helped a little. There was also the mental focus required to actually finish the race, fighting the other little voice in my head that was telling me to throw in the towel. Hard bloody work! While painful, it was challenging and rewarding, and I am very glad that I turned up and gave it my best. I've spent the day relaxing but with a bit of active recovery, giving me time to reflect on the race. I've noted the following:
So overall it was a super painful day, but I still had a great time amongst a friendly bunch of fellow MTB riders (no dickhead behaviour on the day which was nice). The event was well organised, and I will definitely be back in 2019 to improve on my 56th (out of 79) position :)
I'm a 36 year old male from Carwoola, New South Wales, a small rural area situated just outside of Canberra, Australia. I'll be using this blog to share my experiences with training, dieting, and other methods to optimise overall well being. The basic idea behind all of this is to have lots of fun with the learning and experimentation process. It's worth noting that what may work well for me may not work as well for others. I also don't think there are right or wrong answers, as things are constantly changing and evolving.