26th January 2018
Written by Shane Goldberg
RACE REPORT - It's looong so get your Pop-Corn and drink!
OH YEAH BABY...WOW, here we are on the other side of what I can only describe as the most Epic challenge I’ve ever done or been involved in. Once I’d decided to participate in the Revolve24 event it was my goal to compete rather than just participate, but either way I knew it was going to be a huge task. GREAT event @revolve24aus David Fell and team you did it!! THANK YOU.
Firstly...there are no islands or real soloists when it comes to events like this...it’s TEAM all the way. I had the most awesome team/crew on the day Mandy, Ross and Dad (Peter) My Team were absolutely INCREDIBLE. Mandy I don’t know where to start or finish. I couldn’t have done it without you, Ross for all the help with my programming/training prep leading up to the race then the race plan for execution on the day and keeping me on track through this insane event. Dad, you were a champ, I loved getting the constant updates on where I was at throughout the race and all the ongoing encouragement throughout! (This feels so insignificant writing a few sentences about something that could really take pages to write. I normally keep my thanku’s more personal and private which I have done, but here’s a mini public version). Then there all the family, friends, training partners, my Nutritionist/Meal Planner Beanne Tong....it becomes super clear that it is a huge TEAM effort!
So race day, everything started well, I went through the regular morning routine got my gear all loaded into the car, picked up Ross Young from Tempo Systems (coach) and we drove up together to Tailem Bend from Adelaide.
The weather was super windy, we saw a few spots of rain on the way up. The wind was the main factor that we knew was going to be a challenge, more on that in a minute.
After arriving at The Bend I checked in at the Registration desk and picked up my timing chip and the other goodies for the event, then we proceeded to our Pit Garage Lucky #13 where we were based with a few other riders/teams including current World Champion Cycling Sprint Champion Matthew Glaetzer (lovely guy who I got to ride with for a while on the course - Dad’s new best friend).
Initial impressions after arriving at the Bend were it’s absolutely HUGE, still a work in progress being built etc. but very impressive. Despite the massive water leak in the ceiling of our Pit Garage (we were greeted with a wet floor!) this was fixed through the course of the day/night!
The WIND was insane, not just a little wind or a gust here or there, we’re talking gale force winds. It was apparently recorded at 65-70km/h on the Saturday. I saw one rider just in front of me get completely blown off the course and end up in the sand. I saw another rider in the pre-race warm up get off her bike and stand in the fetal position to shield herself from the sand blasting! Seriously crazy conditions. I couldn’t help but laugh and yell out at how crazy this was, I knew it was going to be a bit crazy and a huge challenge but this turned it into the Mount Everest of Cycling challenges for me and all the other participants.
At the race briefing The Race Director Stuart O’Grady (former Olympic Gold Medallist and Tour De France stage winner) announced they had made the decision to shorten the course due to the extreme weather conditions from the 7.8km to around 3.4km. A good decision especially since there was virtually no lighting on the course and getting stuck with a mechanical out there in the weather in the middle of the pitch black night would not be fun and potentially dangerous too!
I wasn’t really nervous leading into the race until it got closer, but on the day the nerves kicked in. It’s different to racing a short race. Ultra Endurance events are a whole different ball game, so much planning and preparation, you have to be very calculated in what you do and how you prepare - your well thought out meticulous checklists become your friend, I think this helps take some of the nerves or anxiety out of it. Maybe I should take this approach to my normal Crit racing.
My Pit crew was made up of three absolute champions - Mandy, Dad and Ross Young (coach and friend from Tempo Systems) who all played such a vital key role in the team and massive goal to helping me get through and across the line in one piece. I get choked up even thinking about it and can’t even really express my gratitude properly with words. Words don’t do it justice. But the love and appreciation is real and felt. If you’ve ever been involved in one of these kind of events you’ll know what I’m talking about.
So the race kicked off at 3pm Saturday with the Lemans style start where one of our crew (for me this was Ross) held our bikes on the other side of the track, we were all lined up depending on where we finished on the Grid for the Pole Position etc. I was 2nd on the Grid for the start. Then they have a count down and then you run over to your bike, get on and you’re off!
It is a HUGE day, so I had to stick to the plan with relation to my Power and HR etc. but the wind blew that away quick smart. Riding in the wind uses a lot more energy than normal, so if you’re not smart you can be in big trouble very early in the race! I was going harder than I had wanted to, but was re-assured by Ross that it was ok and not to stress etc. When you’re riding at 18-20km/h leaning sideways to stay upright and pushing out 350-400W you know it’s a tough day! Mind you the tail wind down the home straight was nice. 50km/h down the straight was refreshing after battling the wind on other parts of the course.
The plan was to draft as much as possible off other riders, particularly the teams (it was draft legal), but it wasn’t always possible or easy.
The first probably 6 hours or more it was wind, wind, wind, sand blasting, sand blasting and more exfoliating LOL if you’re not on your game mentally it can wreck you. Ross was unreal at cleaning my chain every stop for about the first 6x pit stops then as needed after that.
I planned to stop around every hour for new drink bottles and food which I had practised in training and worked well for me. It was great to check in with the crew and get the updates on where I was at overall and make sure I was fuelling enough.
I tried to stay really positive despite the conditions and things that could have been seen as negatives my crew were unreal for the whole time which made a big difference.
I had a bit of a dark moment as the sun was rising on the Sunday morning. I was super tired and feeling the fatigue and just been in the pits for food and drinks. Ross had said I should have a quick shower as they could tell I was suffering and pretty dirty. I put it off for a bit as I just wanted to keep moving, but as I left the Pits I knew I was struggling. I was having almost micro sleeps while riding. I knew then that I had to come back into the pits. I did one more lap and then came in.
I told the guys that I was not right and Ross made me have a shower then, we decided completely change my cycling kit, shoes, socks etc. and brush my teeth. I felt like new! It was amazing the difference it made. Once back out on the course I felt like I had just got out of bed or something. I was fresh and renewed! Only about 9 hours of racing to go. Yep, I know that sounds a little crazy only having 9hrs to ride!! But when you’re over that half way hump it’s a race to the end.
The physical aspect of this kind of race is as you can imagine! It’s crazy. Extremely difficult and painful. I’m in the queue for a new ass transplant!! LOL (jokes) but even bigger than the physical is the mental aspect. You win or lose in your head. I felt mentally strong and determined and clear about what I wanted to achieve in this event and I feel as though we surpassed those goals as a team. A huge part of that I feel was to do with the preparation and the training/programming leading up to the event thanks to Ross.
The final few hours of the race was epic on so many levels. The sun was shining, the wind was starting to pick up but nothing like Saturday’s gale force sand storms, The emotions started to kick in, the excitement of heading towards and then surpassing the mammoth goal of riding over 600km and knowing that the checkered flag was not far away was awesome.
As I was riding with the lead group of riders in the final hour of the race the excitement amongst the group was tangible, the feeling of being on the edge of completing something huge with the race leader about to click over 800km and close to a World Record was absolutely epic, a sea of emotions going through my mind and heart.
One of the best memorable sights as I was coming down the home straight was when I looked over at the spectators and saw my crew Mandy (& Reef), Ross (& Libby and Jackson, Maea and Noah) and Dad all cheering like crazy with other friends and family (Jason & Melissa, Zac & Ryder coming all the way from Mount Gambier), John (my Father-in-law) driving up from Adelaide, Chris (Goody), Casey & Tamara and kids and then seeing my Dad so happy & proud fist pumping after such an epic 24 hours capped off one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
Now time to reflect and recover and let the body heal. The numbness in the fingers is starting to go away, feet, legs, ass and man bits are smashed.
I've just found out that it looks as though I've qualified for the Race Across America...
If you’ve read this far well done! Now for the next adventure and epic challenge... stay tuned …Back to R24 CC
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