Time again for what has been 1st race of the season for me for the last 3 years, LunarC 8hr. The unique thing about this race is that it starts at Midnight. Perfect for its scheduled time of late summer. This years event was scheduled for 24th/25th of February but was cancelled due to high rainfall. The race was eventually held on 30th/31st of March after a week of almost perfect weather. With the rescheduled dates, it was almost 5 months since my last MTB race.
This was my 3rd LunarC event, with the first one in 2010 at Slickers my first ever Single Speed event, and I was entered in the SS category again. Last year's event was moved to Murrenbong and great for me and I loved the track. This year was a slightly modified version of last years track, so I decided to go with similar gearing of 34/20 on my Superfly SS. With my back up On-One Inbred setup with lower gearing of 33/21.
This year I decided not to get to the event too early' learning from the last 2 years that midnight seems to take a long time to roll around. Leaving home, I was not very keen at all to go race, and wondered why I do these enduro events. I got to Murrenbong about 8:30, and the dirt road in to HQ was like a little adventure in itself, but I eventually dropped off my gear at the gear drop and parked the car. I'd also learnt from last years event to pack light, and this year all I had was my food, a box of tricks and my bikes and no Gazebo. At sign in, the SS entry list looked pretty slim and as it turned out of that list a number had changed to teams or age group category, leaving only 5 riders in SS make category. By about 9:15 I'd found a place to set up. I made my way around the transition area catching up with everyone I've come to know over the last couple of years racing.
Race briefing rolled around and we were told to line up with solo riders on the left and team riders to the right. Cue, dramatic music as a devil masked character rolled down the hill with a burning torch befitting the Darkside LunarC theme. The race eventually started and with a slight uphill, it suits strong SS riders, because the fast geared bike get out of the way leaving a bit of space when we get to single track. I knew most of the track from last year, then we hit the new stuff, which was too steep for me to ride, even on lap 1....I knew I was up for a looong night. I briefly considered changing to my spare bike with lower gearing, but think I may even have struggle to ride it on a geared bike, so slightly lower gearing would not have helped. The course as a whole was in great shape, but was muddier in placed than I would have expected. Most notably in 2 spots. One, a soft muddy climb that deteriorated through out the night so that I sunk deeper and deeper each lap and it just sapped the energy. The second was first grassy climb under the power lines which last year was my favourite climb, but this year was a wheel spinning affair that actually found me heading in the grass to get traction.
In some ways the first 3 hours of the race were the hardest. I hated not being able to ride the whole track, I had some knee pain and I realised my pre-race meal which included some beautiful salmon was not ideal. Once my stomach got settled again and the pain in my knee went away, I got in to a nice rhythm and the laps just kept on ticking over. I even knew when was the best place to unclip on the bit I had to walk, when to get back on the bike. All in all I had quite an uneventful race, I had one soft fall at the top of the afore mentioned soft muddy climb when my mud clogged tyre slipped on a diagonal log. I almost had an OTB in a muddy G-out that had developed a deep groove that gobbled the front tyre. I had a couple of closed calls when slower riders in front had moments in various tricky parts, but I managed to sneak past. I had to stop and tighten my rear quick release at about the 6hr mark. Through out the race, I had no idea where I was, I didn't see many SS riders or anyone really, so it really was a matter of ride for 8 hours and see where I was. I finished the race in 8hr16mins and according to my GPS I was only stopped for 3mins. I really think these 8 and 12 hour races are the right length for me. My last lap was only 30s slower than my first and fastest lap. That was partly due to me pushing hard and the fact that it was day light and the track was much clearer than on all other laps. When I check the result listing at the end of the race I still had no idea where I had finished, because the results were from 6am(This was my only complaint of the whole event, I'm not sure what has happened to the electronic timing that I2A usually have), and riders I expected to see were not even listed. So I was not sure of the final result until the presentations. In the end I managed 14laps(117K) which was enough for 1st in SS and 2nd overall, and according to posted results, only 1m28s down on first over all.
All in all passing was not a problem and the track is quite good because there are regular fire trail sections that allow for passing. The track was definitely tougher and therefore slower than last year, I did 2 less laps, mainly due to amount I had to walk.
Thanks again In2Adventure, the Marshals, to everyone that rocked up to support, to all the riders first timers and veterans alike.
My Superfly SS was flawless and AyUps lights were fantastic as always.
Detailed results here.
Hopefully I'll get some pics to post soon.