With only days till the Real Insurance XCM Marathon Series kicks off for 2012, there’s a definite buzz around the trails of NSW in anticipation of the country’s biggest collection of marathons. Those looking to compete in each event will soon be treated to three marathons, in three different states, in 13 days, thanks to the Canberra weather gods rescheduling the state’s Capital Punishment. Beating your mates will not only be a test of performance on the day, but also how well one can recover before the next hit-out.
First up is the Wombat 100 in Woodend Victoria. This will be my first attempt at the race and so there is comfort in the unknown. Rider’s assessments from previous years indicate copious amounts of singletrack through pine forests, and not as hilly as the Kona Odyssey. Current track conditions are reported to be good. There are some bog holes, but the track is the driest it has been it two years with only 8mm of rain this month. Keep a close eye on the weather though as the track tends not to drain so well after a dump. At the moment, I am happy to have the Maxxis Ikons wrapped around the wagon wheels, and the Beavers safely tucked away in the cupboard.
The following weekend see riders head to the familiar trails of Canberra’s best mountain bike parks. I am looking forward to this one, mainly due to the untimed rest section all riders are given as they traverse across the city on sealed roads. This aspect transforms the race dynamics up the front, and allows struggling riders a welcome rest period to take stock on energy levels and feed up. I regard it as a 50km race, 45minute break, and finishing with a 40km dash to Stromlo. If there were a race I would recommend to someone making the jump from the 50km distance to the more challenging 100km, it would be this one. It’s fun, not too hilly, and you can arrange to meet the family halfway for a much needed morale boost.
In preparation for this monster race block, I’ve done most of my cramming on the home of the Convict 100, the Great North Road. This will be the third race in this batch, and will be taxing on the body especially for those not accustomed to the pounding dished out by the rocky trail. A good video wrap-up from last year provided by Cyclenation – unfortunately, I havent had a chance to practice my canoe bridge river crossings since then!
Alas my cruisey run post Kona Odyssey has come to an end. It’s time to kick start the legs and lungs, here comes the 2012 marathon season!