So the 2nd marathon of the year, after the performance at Willo, I had big expectations on this race and was looking at going sub 5 hours for the 100km race. Capital Punishment is a great race and it takes in the best Canberra has to offer mountain biking in brilliant singletrack. Last year the race had been very wet and it had turned into a war of attrition so a lot of riders were hoping to avoid the rain.
I drove down on the Friday afternoon, staying with my friends Mel and Brett. Mel had agreed to drive me to the drop of point on the morning of the race as well as do my bottles for me at the 50km feed stage as well, I cant thank her enough for doing this as it made my race a lot easier.
Race morning came and it was a little chilly in Canberra, however nothing to worry about to much, I had opted for the top 10-20% start field, so saw the elites head off in the first wave and then I followed shortly after. As usual a lot of jockeying for positions before the start of the first singletrack. The first part of the race was through Kowen forest on new singletrack track, maybe it was me or the trail however I certainly didnt feel in the groove for the first 10-15kms with my tyres sliding a little and the trail not bedding in that well as it was fairly fresh. However I settled into a decent pace and started to work my way through the field picking off places here and there. The road section before the paddock sections I worked with a few guys to do some turns on the front and hit the 1st feed at the 34km mark at about the hour and half through I think.
Next up was the paddocks around the back of the airport, this was for the most part mentally and energy sapping, grassy fields with ruts, I knew a lot of people would be hurting both mentally and physically during this stage so looked to try and exploit that situation and put the hammer down, I would of passed about 10-15 riders during this section and they didnt pass me again, the KOM soon approached which was pretty steep, however I cleared that and made my way towards the 2nd feed station. Mel was waiting with two fresh bottles, pulled in and then a quick exchange and I was on my way again, a 10 second pit stop max. Cheers Mel you did great.
Within the first 4km after the 2nd feed station a bottle came out of its cage and went under my back wheel, I went back to get it and drank what was left in one hit. I now only had 1 bottle to get me to the end + whatever the final feed station had available which wasnt ideal but would do. Got through the untimed road section and used that to take stock, get fluids on board before heading off. Saw Gav (SupaGav) at the end of the untimed section and followed him into the bush. The next part of the race was mainly undulating fire road climbs before hitting the cycle paths to take you to Stromlo.
The climb up Stromlo felt like it went on forever and my legs were hurting by this stage, I took the opportunity to take on two GU bars on the approach to the climb, however I felt pretty flat on the climb up to the top. However what can be said about the descent, it seemed I came good, maybe it was the 10km to go sign or the two GU’s but I was flying.
During the climb up, I had been racing with a guy that I had raced with at Willo the week before, we were both very evenly matched, he managed to put a gap into me on the climb as I was in the box, however I took advantage of a mistake by him and passed him on one of the descent, we were both pushing pretty hard, me trying to hold or increase the gap and him trying to get back on my wheel, however as I mentioned I came good and really worked hard to put in a significant gap during the undulations of the descent as well opening it up on the descent when I could. I got a clear view of the gap which I had pulled out at one point and I would of said I was 20 seconds or more up. I held this to the end of the race and put in a big effort to cross the line.
I finished in 4h 43m 07s if you take out the untimed section, my Garmin file shows a time of 5h 13m 20s which is a better reflection of my race, however I was still happy with my performance. Once again I struggled from not being in a quicker group at the start and got held up, which would of cost me some minutes. I really need to get near the front in the future. I guess you could call it a sub 100k time, since everyone else is being measured off the same.
Garmin File: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/73964721