What is not to like about the image above?????
Is it the fact that you have started racing from the valley below with 400 other maniacs? Is it the fact that it has taken 101 of the toughest switchbacked single track turns to get to this point in the race? Is it that you are descending the hardest ‘xc downhill trail’ you have ever ridden? Is it the massive drop just off the side of these huge rockslabs? Is it that you can’t look to the right to take it all in?
The nimby 50 IS the hardest Mtb Race I have ever done. Anybody who claims its a walk in the park is lying or is on the juice. It brings Pro’s down to the mere mortal status. Last year I swore that 2014 would be my last time doing this race. After a busy month leading up to last years race I was ill prepared and not feeling good. I managed to finish in 3 hrs 11mins. Not what I wanted and I cramped up lots. For 2014 I had set a goal for redemption of 3hrs. I know its not a massive decrease but its a part of a bigger picture I am trying to achieve for the year. The pre-ride was an absolute disaster for me. I was holding up the gang and really feeling every climb. I was unsure if I could pull it off.
Come race day I tried my best to stay positive and get a good start. That is the key to getting a better time. As we hit the road for the controlled start I kept my composure until we hit the gravel. You want to go as hard as you can but you know the race is long and tough. I just made my way up past people and tried to keep a steady pace. As we dropped into the first downhill I got caught behind a slower rider. Not really a problem as it would be bottlenecking up the whole way anyway. As we popped out onto the gravel road I just pushed on at a pace to keep my spot on the trail. Next stop is the massive climb. 101 turns of techy steep single track. Again sitting in traffic the pace felt a little slow but you can’t make many passes. I used the Waco Connector trail to get the fluids and food into me. The Nimby climb was good for me. I felt strong and only dabbed once when a slower rider stopped on a corner. When I reached the top I grabbed another bottle and some banana’s for the awesome volunteers. Time to recover now and make my way to ‘Overnight Sensation’ which is a part of the Redbull Downtime race. I picked off a few riders and stayed safe. I knew if I was tense on this dh I would cramp on the next fire road.
The second half of the course is so gruelling and energy sapping. The Sphincter Rock and climb up to the crossover is one of the hardest parts. I felt tired but managed to ride most of it. A vast improvement on the pre-ride. I looked at the clock and I was at around 2.30 and had come to the conclusion that I would not make the goal. I rode the next steep climb while being heckled by Dre Heslter from behind who had punctured earlier. He wouldn’t let me give up. Sadly when he humiliated me by passing me on the steepest bit like he was out on a sunday stroll I dismounted and walked the last rock slab. On ‘No Err’ which is one of my favourite trails I took a stupid crash at the very start. I couldn’t believe it. It was a tiring mistake. After pulling myself out of the ditch I dropped the head and gave up. Back on the gravel road I shook some sense into myself and put the power into the pedals. I knew there was one last steep climb and the rest was downhill. As I crested the hill I looked at the clock…..I could do this if I really pushed.
I descended as fast as I could leaving the guys behind me. Then it hit me. The last part of the course had changed for 2014. There were two short sharp climbs in here. I cleaned the first one with speed and momentum. The second one nearly brought me to a total stop. My knee was sore from the crash and my chest was hurting for some reason. Oh yeah I had chest bumped the handlebars in the spill too. The extended part had a wicked steep downhill and joined back onto the first loop. As I dropped out I had another look at the clock 2.55. Can I do this? Nope! there was another new bit added onto the loop to bring you along a gravel road through a farm and back to the finish line. It added about another 4 km to the race. I crossed the line in exactly 3.05. I was so pissed off that I didn’t get under the 3hrs. Later in the day I calmed down a bit as the race had about 12mins more than it did the year before. So on the old course I would have been sub 3hrs. That doesn’t mean much as now I have to come back next year and real go sub 3. Wish me look.