It was due to be an interesting race this year after coming back from the World Championships, having won the bronze medal, I have been a little flat and not really punching out the sorts of numbers/watts that I had been for most of the season. I had a week off after being sick at the UCI World Cup race at Mount Stromlo and have gradually begun the training build up for the 2008/2009 season. So going into the Scott 24 I only really had 3 solid weeks of training behind me, whereas in previous years, I had 3-4 months and a couple of more recent 12 hour races. This lack of fitness and lack of racing I knew was going to make the Scott 24 hurt a lot.
As the Scott is no longer the National 24 hour solo champs, for the past 2 seasons I have decided to ride it in the marathon pair’s category, with my good mate and gun rider Sam Bach, from the Total Rush team. We won last year by four laps and so were defending champions this year, however, this year the competition was looking to be much, much hotter! John Claxton was in the Giant pair and I had been informed by Andrew Bell that he was going very strong. There was also the BMC pair of Troy and Joel, both fresh from great results overseas at the Worlds. Add to this the unknown entities that always show up for big events and it was going to be a tough ride.
Little was I to know it was going to be even tougher as during the prologue dash for cash I crashed heavily, smashing up and skinning most of my left side and limping into the finish. This led to Sam going out on the first red lap and for the first four laps we swapped lap for lap red/blue/red/blue. This strategy was to go out hard, try to establish a lead and then settle into double laps until midnight where we switched to a four lap three hour stint from 12-3 and 3-6am and finally reverting back to a single lap strategy in the morning.
The plan worked out well and we established an early lead over Giant of around ten minutes, this lead however, was kept at approximately ten minutes for a large portion of the first half of the race. BMC, who had been challenging the Giant pair, had a mechanical which damaged their chances considerably. It was only in the morning session that we started to put in really solid laps and managed to pull a lap on the Giant pair. Throughout the night Sammy Bach was amazing, consistently lapping faster than me and inspiring me to dig deep and push through the hard spell, which inevitably ended with some great last laps.
So in the end we retained our 24 Hour Pairs title with a solid victory.
I would like to thank my lovely wife, Sally, for again looking after the two boys in pink and putting up with the moody moments and hypoglycaemic husband in the early hours of the morning, darling you are a star!
I would like to thank Total Rush and the awesome Specialized Epics, High5 Nutrition for keeping me going even when I don’t feel like it, to Daniel at HID technologies – the new QUAD LED is simply superb and by far and away the best light on the market and a special thanks to Skins, as without a doubt the Skins technology helps reduce muscular fatigue and keeps me on the bike. The new cycling range is the most comfortable cycling short I have ever worn. Lastly, thanks to Oz Riders for your support and fantastic product.