Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Countdown to Terra Australis: One Week to Go

3

By Jess Douglas and Brad Davies

A week to go and the pair of us have been getting some last minute high elevation training in. Jess has spent five of the past six weeks in the high country, including a second place overall at the Mount Buller Mountain Bike Festival. Brad had a very wet 5 days in Rotorua and also did a reccy ride of the Goldie Spur – the biggest climb of the Terra Australis. The verdict: brutal. Goldie Spur climbs 1000m in 10kms and kicks up to 20% in places. There are a few loose sections that could force riders off their bikes if they don’t concentrate. To make matters worse the climb occurs halfway into a 120km stage and on day 5! The Bright Brewery will be a welcome sight at the end of that particular day…
The preparation continues to progress well and both of us are looking forward to getting the race underway. To a couple of busy people like us Terra Australis is a real indulgence: a chance to leave behind families, work, stress and other responsibilities and ride our bikes. When we aren’t riding our bikes we will be no doubt talking a lot about riding bikes. The gear checklist has been finalised and the bus from Beechworth to Falls Creek has been booked. As of Saturday afternoon we will be in the hands of the Terra organisers and the weather gods.
From a bike perspective, because the race is supported we can only take one bike. Jess will be on the 2010 Anthem X Advanced SL O with 3 x10-speed 2011 XTR, as well as some new XTR wheels that are only 3 weeks old! Brad will be riding the 2010 Anthem SL0 with SRAM XX. The only modifications to that bike are Ergon Grips – otherwise it’s straight out of the showroom. Brad managed to ride Goldie Spur without the granny gear and hoping that Day 5 with 500kms in the legs he will still be able to!
A few decisions remain for the pair of us, including nutrition and tyre selection. Jess and Brad both run Schwalbe (Brad occasionally runs a Crossmark), but given the predominance of fire road and a bit of bitumen there is a big penalty for a tyre that doesn’t roll well. We will be canvassing suggestions this week from experienced campaigners before making a decision. One thing we won’t be skimping on is tyre wall thickness and sealant. The roads in this area are notorious for shredding rubber. On the nutrition front the big decision is whether to run self-sufficient or to rely on the neutral support. Both of us like to be in control so our leaning is towards self-sufficiency, but again we will ask the experts this week about the best strategy.
The week ahead will involve a lot of cramming at work and home to make sure we hit the start line without leaving a trail of destruction in our wake.

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