Tuesday, 16 April 2013


It’s by far the most dreaded race day morning of the year when the Wombat100 rolls around. Although the race venue in Cammeray Waters, just outside Woodend, is only an hour away from Bendigo, it’s the 4.30am alarm that really upsets the body clock and mental state, especially this year on the back of a cousin’s wedding…ouch!

Jarrod and I slept past the snooze and contemplated sleeping longer, and once on the road debated turning around before the halfway mark. A long pause in the car upon parking and even further discussion after entry still didn’t have us convinced that we were racing. At 6.40am we finally got dressed for an unwelcoming 7am start, but this still didn’t mean that I was committed to racing the whole 100kms…

Early on with Row and Tory in tow..

When the gun went off it was obvious that I had only warmed up the 300m from the car park. The men were out of sight immediately (which isn’t the norm for me in a mass start marathon race) but I wasn’t concerned because as my first effort since Cape Epic, I knew I had to let my body settle back into it. Newly signed Target Trek rider Tory Thomas was happy with my initial pace, and followed me through the field, passing Naomi Hansen and eventually catching Row Fry. Row put some men into trouble on the techy sections (that girl is quick) before a surge on fire-road saw her lose contact.

I can’t remember the exact time we lost Row, but it seemed to coincide with the catching of Jenny Fay who was struggling through the single track. It was 18kms in, our bunch had now swollen to 9 and I was feeling great! So great that I went to step out around one of the guys, and as I did I hit a rut and ran off the road into a prickle bush…amateur! I think it took me longer to calm the anger and compose myself then it did to pull the prickles out of my gloves. I quit…

A distorted photo of the damage from that damn prickle bush!

I couldn’t have crashed at a worse time as the majority of the next 10km was fire-trail and I knew the girls would be paced in the bunch. I tried to tempo through to get a solid 50k in the legs and felt good as the road started to climb, and then as I was cursing profanities at god (out loud of course) for making me look like a Gumby in a prickle bush, the figure of Tory was suddenly in the distance. This intense motivation came over me and the chase was on!

I timed the gap at 1:20mins and before the first feed ?kms I had made contact. Tory stopped for a bottle as I rode straight through in pursuit of Jenny who was only 30seconds up the road now. I caught her before the next single-track section but made no efforts to pass. My motivated had now been tamed and I was looking for an easy race ahead of the Australian Marathon Championships in Atherton next weekend. It didn’t take long for a chasing Tory to catch us and suddenly, just 30kms in, this was hotting up to be a good showdown!

Loving the manicured trails and bridges in Woodend

Jenny rode a leisurely speed and we even had a short chat before Tory dared me to do a ‘World Cup overtaking maneuver’. I had crashed once already and didn’t have the balls, so I let Tory pass and the pressure she placed on Jenny was ridiculous(ly good to watch)! After a few tyre rubs and inside skids by Tory, I noticed that Jenny was having problems with her cleats, and a mistake on a log jump saw us sweep past her and out of sight, feeling very at home on single-track :)  Tory pushed the pace and I was glad to follow, and when we hit the fire-trail we were lucky to have some male company to carry us along to the mid-way feed.

It was dejavu. Tory and I had come through Cammeray Waters last year in a battle for second place except this time I had a feeder in Keith Hamilton, and as her husband Tim has his hands full with a baby, she was forced to stop and grab her bottle from the table. This was the decisive point in the race. It gave me a 10-second gap that Tory couldn’t seem to pull back so I capitalised on this and put the pressure on through the fire-trail sections. I rode solid tempo until the main climb of the day and then Mr. Motivation came running back!

My motivated face :) courtesy of MarathonMTB

I smacked it over the long climb to the final feed station and caught a few guys that had passed me earlier. I was bombing if I do say so myself lol A brief bottle stop and a solid tempo for the final 30kms (in great company on course with a newly formed friend in Chris Palmer-thanks for a great day Chris!) and the race was over. It was all sort of a blur. But I had won. In my fourth attempt I had finally broken through for victory at the Wombat100 marking four years of racing on the MTB.

Fellow Target Trek rider Tory Thomas finished in second five minutes in arrears, with a popular Mel Anset claiming third. I later found out that Jenny Fay had pulled out not long after we’d passed her, and that Row Fry suffered a double puncture to come home in fourth (gutsy to finish). Naomi Hansen was also forced to withdraw with an eye injury, and Jenni King had been a DNS. It was a shame that such a great caliber women’s field had dwindled so quickly!

Elite Women's Podium: Tory, me and Mel Ansett courtesy of MarathonMTB

I took some great things from the race. I was nervous before-hand that maybe it was the wrong decision to compete off the back of Cape Epic, but instead it’s given me confidence for the Australian Championships this weekend. I felt well recovered and strong on the climbs and was especially glad to be back on Australian single-track. Thanks to Maximum Adventure for awesome trails once again, and to TREK for designing the Superfly 100 SL…it’s like cheating…

Jarrod was in a sprint for 4th place but finished in 7th after some awesome ‘cramp dance moves’ in the final straight, and a special mention to Target Trek rider Chris Hamilton who was 9th, not bad for his first ever marathon race at age 17!