Earlier this year I entered a couple of the cross country races in Western Australia to challenge and also skill up on the mountain bike. Well, I had ‘way too much’ fun along those enduring rides which is why I ended up sticking around completing the season of the WA XCM State Series. In hindsight it was a fairly epic year on the mountain bike, 7 months and six events through some wonderful West Australian landscape, discovering new trails to ride and a pub in every town. The series bought together a number of unique long distance races. Meeting other people who were just as bike crazy for enjoying those long rides was probably the stand out aspect of the season, behind actually being able to conquer a 70 km ride by the end of the season. Happy times!
The great thing I thought about the WA XCM State Series was it could be a competitive race or simply an adventure in bush and forest with mates or even a solo effort – your choice. During the rounds there were all sorts of antics; instances of hiking the bike up a steep hill whilst singing ACDC’s ‘it’s a long way to the top’, having a hands off the handle bar game with another rider, laughing at the sight of yet another hill with more riders and hatching a plan with a group and sticking together to the finish line, fist bumping at the end. After the races at event village, tales were told. Descents on fast trails were described and that one big hill never forgotten.
The layout and schedule of the rounds welcoming for all riders and their supporting families. My partner who didn’t ride this year gave some positive feedback on hanging out at event village waiting for me to come through.
So if I had to sum up the season in three words it would be – exhilarating, freedom and tough.
Personal round recounts and preparation
This was my first race season and writing up a little recap of the race courses (links below) was a way of learning from the experience, no doubt my experience quite different from the next rider. Half way through the year I wanted to attempt longer distances that I had never done before and so preparation for the distances was cycle path rides in the city and one mountain bike ride on the weekend, or every other weekend if plans changed. It was also a way to unwind and relax. I did experience one set back in that I was not adequately increasing the food intake for the frequent longer kilometres I was doing on the bike, and by October I was feeling physically tired all over. Balancing work, personal commitments and riding in between the rounds there was obviously less time for food preparation, but once I figured out that I needed to eat more (rookie error), I made more of a conscientious effort and all was fantastic again. I also borrowed a book from the library called Cycling chef, written by cyclist and Michelin-starred chef Alan Murchison which gave me some good quick nutrient dense recipes.
Having fun and letting loose, getting fit and supporting local WA towns and businesses. This was all part of the series.
If you are reading this post and cycle in marathon events, what are your tips and experiences for newbies, leave a comment in the post! What did you enjoy about your marathon ride?