looking at the entire rollercoaster series this was the race i was looking forward to the most: thredbo. firstly because i like the track and secondly because it’s the only track i know in the entire series.

we don’t have a lot of long runs around here and given the distinct lack of ski resorts also not too many places with the right infrastructure for gravity riding (i.e. lifts). i like to earn my turns but there are only so many turns you can earn in a day. e.g. on friday afternoon in the hour before the lifts closed i got 3 runs in. that would equate to riding up 1800m which on the other hand could take a little while …

i mentioned i was not happy with my speed and progress on friday. i was still half a minute away from my objective and not really getting any closer. frustratingly the front end did not give me the confidence i wanted; the forks felt really harsh, especially through the brake bumps and the tyres did not offer the amount of grip i was hoping for. time to make some changes: i reduced the low speed compression setting by 2 clicks, the rebound damping by one click and backed off the pressure in the air spring by 10 psi (i should not have done any of that and should have paid more attention to the simple settings instead but i’ll tell you why later).

i got three more runs in before the official race start at 1200h. 10:31, 10:40 (had some traffic) and finally a 10:02. i was a bit perplexed about the improvement in the last run but also encouraged that my target of a sub-10 minute time suddenly appeared within reach. maybe i could pedal some more?

this may look boring but queueing is clearly part of racing. actually it’s nice, too. the atmosphere is really great, there are always people to talk to and unsurprisingly so many common topics come up. or as others may say, only one: bikes. anyway, suits me. i made some new friends up the mountain while the girls made friends down in the valley.

i was quite happy with my first race run: no traffic and a (strava) time of 9:51. my first run under 10! there was only one problem: the chip did not register when i crossed the finish line and i did not have an official time. martin let me choose whether i wanted to head back up the mountain for a re-run or get a 10 minute flat time. my legs clearly vetoed option one and it did not take them long to convince the rest of my body to go for the estimated time. i saw i was about 30 seconds off the next guy so i figured it did not really matter.

the second race run did not feel as good. i was really getting tired and while i tried to pedal a bit on the flatter sections and out of the slower corners i was really running out of steam (clearly i need to train more).

surprisingly i was only 5 (strava) seconds slower than my first run, however, the real surprise was the race time: 9:32,69. go figure. does that mean i did a sub-9:30 time in the run? from a perspective of a final position it did not make any difference, i would still have been 10 seconds per run off the guy in front of me. still, nice to know that i’m not completely out of touch. maybe next year …

and here is another interesting thing.

max speed 47kmh, max heart rate … 189. down hill! 175 average heart rate isn’t bad either. let anyone say that is not real work.

about the forks …after the last run i was looking at the dials on the top of the fork when something caught my eye. the compression knob somehow seemed different, in the wrong position. i started playing with it and realized that the forks were set to half locked instead of fully open. i have no idea how this happened, i always set the high speed compression to ‘open’ and never ever change it. note to self: before starting to mess with the complicated setting just check the basic stuff. next time.

the next race is in canberra. i don’t know anything about the trails. should be interesting.