Location: Dargle Farm, Lower Portland, somewhere between Sackville & Wiseman's Ferry.
Despite my protests of being as sick as a dog, or well on my way to it, rode the 12 hours of daylight for the sydney24hr, in a 4 person team.
Got up disgustingly early to pick up one mad guy, who was signed up to do the full 24hrs solo (Mad, mad, I tell you!), then to pick up 3rd member of team, before proceeding in a conga line to Dargle Farm. Just beat the early morning queue in, set up tent, I snoozed until 11am, where I had dibs on the first lap.
The track had four sections, the first bit of singletrack; a generally flat dirt road section to the end of the valley, the jumps (burrums? & table top) and then the second bit of singletrack.
The first bit was quite dusty, with the initial hill out of the transition area very steep and sandy. There was a choice of left line (rocky, but not continuous), or right line (sandy as) to take. I walked it every single time. Then the bit of single track was okay, a couple of switchbacks and grids to get past, one downhill section that got progressively harder as the erosion got worse. If you took to wrong line, you were pretty much certain to fall off. Past the second grid, there was a tight left-right turn combo, with a couple of boulders in the way. I also walked this bit. But then you were out onto the dirt road. Good time to be made here, but also the most annoying headwind. Cuts your speed right back. Having some sucker to draft you is the way to go here.
First lap was the best lap. I was pretty much at the end of the pack, and no one had had time to finish the course & start overtaking me. So I did it pretty cruisy, and I didn't have to worry about silly people behind me trying to overtake at bad places.
Second lap had more people out on the track so I kept getting overtaken. It was okay... except that I fell in the first section of the lap, grazed my knee, and then while I was standing by the side of the track, another guy tried to take the same line as I had, didn't make it, so I got two bikes and a 70kg guy landing on top of the dent I had just made in myself. Ow, ow, ow. And I got blood on my pedal. It congealed straight away (cause the track was really dusty), and I kept going. (Visited the first aid guy to get a patch on it, got accused of being a wuss cause I kept making noises when he was scraping the congealed stuff off with a gauze).
Third lap was the last one for us for the day. I took my (pathetic) lights as a just in case I was still on the track at night fall. Already in the 5.5 hours from my first ride of the track to this one, I could see that it had deteriorated quite a lot. The dusty/sandy places where a lot deeper, there were a lot more obvious lines where people had gone, the jumps/erosion past the boulders were deeper & more dangerous. And I came off! A tight left hand turn, I meant to stop to let some people over take, and I fell over in a very ungainly fashion. I was very much not a happy camper, and wanted to bail right then & then. I continued riding on though, but was a lot more careful in the places I chose to stop to let people past.
Dinner was lasagne, and then I went to bed at 930. Didn't sleep very well cause there was loud music, cheers as people rode down the finish chute, and generators going. (Plus the aches and pains). Got up to go to the amenities at 3am, and it was fricken freezing!
Despite a 'quiet time' in the schedule, some team had set up a really noisy generator & it was going like the blazes. It was very pretty in the valley though, with smoke from the bonfire further up the valley drifting (it was to keep the night riders warm), and the twinkle of lights in the trees on either side as the total mad people kept going! I would've thought that they would've slowed down a bit riding at night time, and it being so cold, but no, they were still going at the same speed as they had been when I went to bed earlier.
Awoke on the Sunday morning feeling like death & hearing the cattle call "5 mins until the 12 hours of daylight race resumes! Riders assemble!". *groan*. Lucky for me, I had ridden the last lap of the night before, so no call for me to get up yet. Boy did it instead, thank goodnes.. I hate my team mates, none of them ache like I do. Why oh why did I feel so crap? Yep, as I worked out later, it was the lurgy exacting bitter revenge.
Didn't make the 2nd or third laps later. Struggled with breakfast (large mocha, bacon & egg roll, some token cereal - all the elements of a pre-race go-getter), and then made my one and only lap appearance aroun 930. Slowest lap ever. Even deducting the time I took to go to the bathroom before I hopped on the bike (& while the clock was ticking), I still managed only 1 hour 10 minutes for it.
Lucky me though. Third teammate, possibly in a gungho 'nothing's gonna happen to me' attititude took the exit chute on his second Sunday lap a little too fast. And he ate dirt. Really badly. The front wheel of his bike is now tacoed. Someone at the transition area saw him come off, ran over & helped him carry the bike over to the transition area. He thought he was okay, but it hurt to lift his left shoulder. Then he went to the first aid guy who said he had a broken collarbone & strapped him up.
*After* he had helped us one-handed to pack up the campsite, and *after* we had driven him back to Sydney (2xjelly cups, 1x pineapple juice, 1x bottle of water, totolly sugared out), mentioned that his other wrist hurt.
Ze collar bone, broken. Ze wrist, she is broken.
Phone call 3 days later. Ze other wrist, she is broken.
One broken bone per teammate, all on one poor guy's body. I feel so bad!!