Monday, November 30, 2009

Kona 22:03 Hour

Reality is, I don't know where to start. It was a huge weekend. Involved everything from planes, car breakdown, supermarkets, pet dogs, Frisbee to the back of the head, late night hot dogs, mud, rain, pain and being awake for 39 hours

I will start with the arrival at the race-site in Forrest, home of the Kona 24 hour. We got there at lunchtime on Friday, and I quickly found Ben ready to set up our home. We quickly constructed out 'fort' and went for a practice lap. The course was a solid mix of fantastic single-track, with painless fire-road climbs. At this point it was hot with a dry course, perfect for a QLD Lad.
We went back to camp, showered, had some dinner and settled in with some beers. Then the rain came, then the storm and then the torrential thunderstorm that ruined a good few campsites.
Everything pointed to a very wet and muddy 24 Hour race.
Our plan was simple and aggressive. Smash out fast laps till we are a lap up, then smash out quick night laps to get a lap up, and if it rains we were to ride faster/harder to get more time up. Fun as going to be interpretation as 'hurt yourself badly'.

H-Ball (AyUp/Yeti Australia Manager) was set to look after us in his 'no bulls*£t and ride faster' management technique. He would look after us, give us time checks, make sure we ate, were warm and was the critical link in exchanging communication between Ben and Myself. Take very careful note of his last task.

Ben drew the short straw (not that there were straws) for the first lap. He donned his mega-fast YETI skinsuit for the first lap, and was keen to put distance into our competition early. He went hard, and we were in 6th place overall for the first lap. I took over for the second lap (we were going to alternate each lap, no doubles) and we got into 5th place.

Next lap Ben went out and we were up to 4th, and with my next lap we got in 3rd place Overall. We were having fun, despite the mud. At this point of time I had changed my clothes twice and had a shower. I only had 5 complete kits with me, and if it rained more I was going to be in for a long cold night.

Nighttime kicked in, and with 8 hours into our legs we settled into the race. With night meant we could bring out something special. AyUp had given us some of the latest lights, with upgraded technology. We both ran with a narrow on the helmet, and a medium on the bars. It was during the dark, when we stepped back into race mode. We punched out sub-48minute laps for the next 10 during the dark.
10 fast laps was enough to help secure our lead.
Sure we were cold, we were getting hungry and trying to keep on fluids was getting difficult. With the communication link between Ben and I handled by H-Ball, he was able to keep our spirits high. My stomach was killing me, so H-Ball would tell Ben I was still happy going lap for lap. Ben's knee were giving him trouble, so Dad would tell me Ben was looking good. It was this 'management technique' that kept our heads level, and our legs turning the pedals.

At Daybreak, we started to crunch the numbers. We were roughly 2.5 laps up on second place, but as we had not yet ridden the new 'Day Course 2' we didn't know how long those laps we going to take. We started the new laps and did 2 each at a solid pace. I finished my last lap at 9:10 and the 'team' sent out Ben for his final lap.

It would be the teams last one, despite Ben's desire for me to go out for another to 'even out the number of laps'. With that at 10:03am, Ben returned to the tent, and we had sealed up the race.
We sat looking like death, I had bloodshot eyes, and Ben could hardly stand. Still, we found the strength to find 2 beers, crack them open and enjoy the victory.

In the end we won the Mens Pairs with 27 laps in 22:03 hours, and as the race neared the 24-Hour mark we remained a lap clear over 2nd place. In good hands, we had done what we setout to do.

The Yeti’s (I was on my ASR Alloy, and Ben on his ASR-c) ran flawlessly. They were fantastic, and for the entire race we a great combination of comfort and speed. Out AyUp lights helped us win, simple as that. Our lap times at night were fast and consistent, as a result of a fantastic product.

Lastly, while Ben and I stood on the podium, the real champion was H-Ball. He orchestrated the chaos, and made the actual riding the easy bit.

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