The blog of Eric Sibly; focusing on mountain biking, .NET development for the Desktop, Smartphone and PocketPC.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Merida 24hr Race

On the weekend of April 21/22 Fabian and I once again did the Merida 24hr Race at the Kooralbyn Resort; again it was a well run event that was largely a lot of fun.

We (Ange, boys and me) arrived on Friday just after lunch to give us the opportunity to set up camp the night before to make the morning before race start a bit easy than last year. We checked into our room at the resort, it was ok although the place is starting to look and feel really tired. We then went down to the track and set up our tent, keeping all our gear in the car as you are not allowed to camp overnight except on the night of the race proper. At around 4pm-ish we went over to the resort facilities near race start/finish just before one of the worst storms I have ever seen hit. Over the next 30 odd minutes we had some brutal winds, thunder and lightning, torrential rain, and hail stones about half the size of golf balls. The amount of water that fell in such a short period of time was unbelievable. Once it stopped I went over to check out the tent to make sure it was alright, only to discover that a new river had been created and was flowing quite happily past and through the back end of the tent. It ended up collapsing the back end, breaking one of the poles and leaving us with a couple of inches of water down one end. The next hour of so was then spent cleaning out, fixing and re-setting the tent before we headed off to dinner and sleep.

The next morning was magnificent sunshine but brutally humid because of the previous days storm. We finished unpacking the car and setting up camp before race start. Even though I had kept my fluids up I ended up being pretty dehydrated with a head ache that lasted the remainder of the day regardless of the number of drinks and Panadol I consumed. We started off doing two laps a piece, and after 3 sets I needed to rest as I was exhausted and the head ache would not stop – needed to have a sleep to try and recover. So at 12:30am I went to sleep whilst Fabian went out and did his next two. When he got back he tried to wake me for my turn but I was out to it and not ready to go again, so he choose to sleep as well. He got up at 5:00am to do another couple, at which point I was up minus the headache to start circulating again. After my next two laps I was feeling better but with the heat coming and still feeling pretty exhausted we switched to single laps. This was a good move as I found my next two single laps the most enjoyable as the timing was such I could go quite hard and it gave me enough time to recover before the next.

In the end we completed 24 laps, with twelve each, and came a respectable 8th in the 2 Person Open category – we were pretty happy with that result.

In summary, here are my thoughts of the race. The track was largely the same length as the previous year, although the changes resulted in more climbing and more challenging downhill section towards the end which resulted in lap times around ten minutes longer than last year. The extra climbing was ok, the downhill just after was not rewarding at all – it was very rocky with nasty off-camber switchbacks – it would have been much better if it was a much faster more flowing ride back into camp. There was also this silly little section added to the start across a grassy area that didn’t really fit into the feel of the rest of the track that they should look to get rid off for next time.

The race for me was reasonably uneventful, in that I had a couple of minor tumbles resulting in a few little bruises and scrapes. In fact it was Caleb who had the worst injury of the family after running into a pole playing tag. Apparently, he hit it and flew backwards onto the ground and amazingly did not cry – he is one tough little bugger. Rumours are circulating it was because I hit him – it’s not true :-)

Finally, thanks again for Ange and the boys for being there and supporting me through the highs and lows - cheers guys!


Blogger Andy said...

Very impressive! . . . the storm, the flood,the ride, and the bruise! Your description of the ride makes me tired just to read it! Great work! A wonderful family event!

1:30 pm


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