Two weekends ago Craig “Fav” Favaloro embarked on his maiden 24Solo at the Scott24 on a fully ridgid single speed. Some of you would have read Part1 of his lead up and probably thought what most people would have thought…”this Fav bloke has no experience and is going to hurt like hell, good luck knackers”…well knowing Craig as we do (as a hugely talented athlete) we were quietly thinking that he could give the best of the best elites a shake even at the age of 45 in his first ever 24Solo. Well…here is his wrap.
By: Craig Favaloro
24 HOUR SOLO RACING IS EASY! At least that’s what my good friends Ross Burrage and Adam Kellsell would have had me believe before I entered my first ever 24 hour race. Did I believe them? No! Were they right? A little bit… Did it make me nervous? Hell yeah! those guys could hardly contain their evil grins, I knew something was up.
Having now completed my first 24 hour I can say it was not easy, but, it wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be either. It is very achievable! Of course it helps to get your nutrition right, have a bit of luck on your side, stay on your bike, and avoid the dreaded punctures or other mechanicals.
My experience of the Scott was nothing short of amazing. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of the event, without exception. No one is more shocked by that statement than me as I was fearful of what the 24 would present! Let me explain.
The race far exceeded any expectations I went in with. The atmosphere in the village and on the track was really positive. Riders were really supportive and even the serious team riders were polite and supportive, at least for the most part. My support crew were amazing, and contrary to some of the reports getting about, the weather and track conditions were pretty good. But most surprising of all I was having fun! lots and lots of fun!
I had never ridden in Canberra before and on the day we arrived it was pretty cool. The local radio station proudly announced that they had just had the coldest October day in 40 years and snow had fallen on the hills! This was clearly visible driving towards canberra, and having no idea where Stromlo was I feared the worst. Great I thought, forgot to pack the snow tires… this was getting scary!
We arrived at Stromlo, got registered, set up the tents. Time to check the trails. Went out and did a pretty slow reccie of the course to settle the nerves. No snow so things were looking up!
First impression of the trails is this place is amazing. Perfect for the single speed. Nice flowing single track with long switchback climbs and equally long downhills. There was something between the two laps (red / blue) for everyone to enjoy, smooth flowing track, technical rock gardens, tight berms, jumps, mud patches and even some super smooth bitchumen in the pits to keep the roadies happy! I was in heaven. I knew I could enjoy this race, although I was questioning my decision to ride rigid forks with all the rocks on the Blue lap! Oh well, it was my choice so no use complaining now. Time to harden up sunshine.
The night seemed to come round early and after a 3am start for our road trip we were pretty tired. I crashed out by around 8 sleeping soundly through the live band and setting up of other camps mere meters away. Wanted to sleep in but couldn’t. Race day was here, surprisingly I wasn’t nervous, I just wanted to start! Its cruel that they make you wait until 11:55am to start, and even crueler the next day riding until lunch time to finish!
The start was the usual jostling for position at the front. Mid way back a group of crazed single speeders, myself included, were spinning down the road like a group of school kids on their way to get up to no good. It didn’t take long for the field to spread out as we hit the single track on the red lap and the start of a very long climb up Mt Stromlo.
The solo riders had a 5 minutes head start on the teams, who were split into two groups. One group started on the red lap behind us, the other on the blue lap. This effectively halved the riders on each lap at any one time and worked really well.
It didn’t take long to settle into a rhythm. I planned to ride the first 6 hours without really stopping, rolling through transition to change drink bottles and eat my vegemite sangas. With the help of my support crew this went to plan. I’d roll in grinning from all the fun I’d had on the previous lap and roll out again doing my best impression of Jeff Fenech, squashing my nose flat whilst screaming “I love youse allll”. I was having a blast!
I knew I had to stop around 5:30 to fit my lights so we’d planned dinner as well, a big juicy hamburger! I’d been looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint. I think it took about 10 minutes to eat fit lights and change my kit. Not exactly sure, but my support guys were awesome! They got me fed, changed, bike serviced, and pointed me in the right direction from start to finish.
I was really looking forward to the night laps. This is something that I really enjoy and do as often as I can. Riding at night feels heaps faster and when the sun goes down its like a whole new playground bringing new lines to the trails you thought you knew. I was happy that I had done so much night riding in my preparation, as it was pretty obvious those riders who hadn’t and were now struggling or slowing right down.
I spent most of the night riding by myself, something I really enjoyed. I would catch a rider have a quick chat as I passed, or be passed by another rider who’d do the same to me. The vibe on the course was really good, lots of support, especially for the solo’s. I lost count of how many times the team guys would give a mental boost as they passed with comments of “looking strong, nearly there, keep it up, your a crazy #!@## on that single speed where’s your #@!!### suspension you freak”… I loved it! I was just glad that I had done a lot of solo night riding in my preparation. I didn’t get lonely or bored, I just felt really lucky to be out there. Really lucky to have such an amazing family and group of friends to get me to this point.
Apparently it started to rain some time into the night. I say apparently because there was a fair bit of mud in patches and there was some complaining to be heard. I really didn’t notice the rain. I put this down to two things. Firstly I ride a rigid single speed so obviously I’m not that bright, and secondly compared to the wet weather training rides I’d been doing, it hadn’t even started to rain yet. As part of my preparation I had developed a “winter loop” that wouldn’t destroy our local trails but let me ride in the wet.
I’d spent hours and hours riding that in the rain, one time with my good mate Dan in torrential rain, who I’m sure now thinks I’m completely insane! But ultimately I wanted to be ready. I didn’t want a bit of rain to stop me from completing my 24. When it came there was no surprise, I knew my gear worked, I could stay warm and dry enough, I knew my support crew weren’t going to pack up and go home, so I better keep pedaling and enjoy it. So I did. I actually found the bog patches pretty funny. It was like quick sand, one minute you’d be riding through mud with a hard base underneath, then without warning half your wheel would disappear with no option but to walk. These sections were pretty short and my only real concern was the damage to the trails.
In order to preserve the trails the officials put in a couple of diversions onto fire roads. A good move. But seriously the trails held up really well. the drainage was great and for the majority of the course you couldn’t even tell it was wet. There were a lot of people complaining. I didn’t see the point, I was still having fun, I was however getting a little concerned about my brakes and whether they were going to last the distance. I had spare pads just didn’t want to stop to change them out. This was discussed in transition and we decide to run them for a couple more laps.
Before I knew it the night was gone. From the top of Mt Stromlo, the bright orange glow of first light was shining from behind the distant ranges, with the lights of canberra city in the foreground. This image is burnt into my mind and was a pretty special moment in my race. It sounds really corny but I felt really thankful to be there. I had not experienced any of the dark times I had expected, I felt both physically and mentally strong, I had an inspirational support crew who were giving up their time and sleep just for me, I was getting messages from my own virtual cheer squad back home, I knew I was going to finish, and I was having the best time! It’s about then that I decided to race.
Next lap out I pushed my hardest lap on the Blue course. It was twilight now and this was my last lap under lights! I had so much fun, found new lines, and knew the finish was at hand. Only 6 hours to go, shorter than a training ride, easy!
I had given my crew instructions that I didn’t want to know anything about my race. Times, placings, number of laps, none of that was important. I was doing this as a personal challenge and I had been happy with how that was going. Unbeknown to me there had been a night long debate in the pits as to whether or not this was the right thing to do.
I have no idea how it happened but sometime during the race I had gone from 5th to 4th, to 3rd, 2nd, and now back to 3rd again. As far as I was concerned I would of guessed mid fieldish! At about 10 am my crew had decided it was time to tell me. “your going to podium” they said, “fourth can’t catch you now… go chase down second”! “Bullshit” I replied, “that wasn’t supposed to happen”.
So with that my race began. I put my race face on and pushed my last two laps as fast as I could. I had no idea of how far in front second was so I rode like he was round the next bend. As it turned out The lead was too great but my charge did force an extra lap out of both first and second place. My congratulations go out to both Olliver Whalley (1st) and Geoff Kelly (2nd) both of whom are amazingly strong riders.
I had finished my first 24 hr solo on my fully rigid single speed Kkkken. Not only had I achieved my goal I had found myself on the podium 3rd in single speed and 12th overall solo. Best of all I had heaps of fun times along the way.
My thanks goes out to everyone who helped get me to the start line. You know who you are. I really have to thank my support crew, Kel, Alex, Georgie, Adz, and Kylie. I could not have done this without you guys. Also my virtual cheer squad who kept up to date on twitter, facebook, and text messages, gave me a huge boost throughout the race.
Special thanks to the current world 24 hour solo champ Jessica Douglas for her pre event words of encouragement and advice, and past world 24 champion Troy Bailey who was tinkering with my bike in pit lane to help keep me running. I think this sums up the 24 hour race scene when some first time, middle aged, fully rigid single speed rider is getting generous support from world champions both past and present. I don’t know of too many sports where this would happen!
The last thing I want to say is that “you can do any thing you train for”. Have a go! It may surprise you what you can achieve as it has me.
Craig Favaloro: Scott24Solo Single Speed Part1
This weekend the Scott 24hr Mountain Bike Race will be held in Canberra. It’s huge event on amazing trails that will have competitors frothing. Jan Juc’s Fav originally put his name down for the Surfcoast 24hr and as soon as that was cancelled jumped into the Scott. Fav loves a challenge and will be competing in his debut 24Solo on a fully rigid single speed. This is Part 1 of his story, Part 2 will be all about his post race summary so stay tuned.
The warm up questions……..
Adz: Where do you live?
Fav: Jan Juc. I feel so lucky to live on the surfcoast. Beaches, bushland, great friends, good food, and awesome coffee. What more could you want?
Fav: They are my Rock! I have the most amazing supportive wife, Kelly, and 2 beautiful daughters. They keep me grounded, give me motivation, direction, and inspire me to become a better man.
Adz: Time you get up?
Fav: Depends on life’s demands really. If I had my way I would never rise before 9! Reality sees anything from 5 – 8. I must admit that I rarely regret an early start once I’m out of bed!
Adz: Time you go to sleep?
Fav: Not Early enough! Seldom before midnight although I’m trying to change that.
Adz: Time u spend trawling the inter webs for cheap socks, gels, carbon forks?
Fav: You know I’m a sucker for a bargain Adz and research is the key! In the interest of keeping my internet privileges at home it may be best to avoid applying some arbitrary figure of time.
Adz: Hours of beats in your iTunes?
Fav: Have no idea so I thought I’d channel my inner nerd and check my podcast collection. 71.2 days of continuous beats!! Now that’s scary!!
Adz: Coffee’s per day?
Fav: Try to limit myself to 2.
Adz: Describe yourself pre coffee?
Fav: Clark Kent
Adz: Describe yourself post coffee?
Adz: Day Job?
Fav: I’m self employed as a specialist Underpinner. We repair failed foundations under brick walls, factory tilt slabs etc. (shameless plug www.construk.com.au). Basically I dig holes and fill them with concrete. Keeps me fit and pays the bills.
Adz: Favourite couch?
Fav: We’ve got a little couch tucked under the window in our back room. It catches the afternoon sun and is the perfect spot to relax (sleep) after a hard ride.
Adz: Favourite enlightenment philosopher?
Fav: Diogenes of Sinope – Remember reading about him when I was about 19. He had some pretty crazy ideas, lived in an old barrel, and was a bit of a rebel.
Adz: Ever Puncture?
Fav: I never had a problem with punctures until I took a little too much pleasure in the puncturing misfortune of others. Namely you Adz!! Karma has dealt swift justice and I have now been on a bit of a run. Most recent was on yesterdays road ride and there have been a few multi-puncture rides as well. I promise never to laugh again at someone else’s punctures…. or at least I’ll try not to.
Adz: Ever Crash?
Fav: For a long time- it was more of a novelty if I stayed on!! In fact there are many stories of losing count of my crashes in a single ride!! For the most part I survived uninjured, and very slowly my skills improved and the crashes have decreased in regularity.
Funny thing is, every time I get a bit cocky and revel in my new found riding skills, off I come, and I get my arse handed to me on a platter!! Good leveller really and great entertainment for my mates.
Fav: Fav, Favvy, Favlina, Flips, Floppa, Flounda, and a few other “F” words from friends and others I don’t always recognise.
Fav: Apparently I always preface discussions with my kids with “here’s the deal” followed by a piece of fatherly wisdom. Although I do like “you don’t know their circumstances”, “persistence beats resistance”, “if you line up…you’ve already won”, “like a great man once said…I love youse all”.
Adz: Place’s to ride?
Fav: I haven’t been riding for that long and really love travelling to new ride spots. Forrest, Blores Hill, and the Youies are among my favourites. If I have to choose I’d say the local surfcoast riding is it. You can’t beat walking out your front door, blasting along the cliff-tops and riding the local trails. I always come home feeling so lucky to live here! Having such great riding buddies to share it with doesn’t detract in any way either!
Adz: Post ride nutrition?
Fav: I love my food! If I’d known how much you can eat after riding I would have taken it up years ago. Depends on time of day but anything from bacon eggs breakie, to pasta or a hamburger. A coffee or Coopers pale never go astray either.
Adz: In your life you have done about a million sports…
Fav: I’ve had a go at many sports apart from riding, some of which include: Swimming, Surfing, kite surfing, climbing, running, kayaking, Silat (martial arts), boxing, grappling, and the usual school sports: hockey, footy, cricket, etc. I don’t think I can give you a favorite.
The sports I enjoy most offer a certain amount of adrenaline, require ongoing discipline and commitment to progress your skills, and are the ones that I have had to work hardest at to become proficient. It is always a bonus if they take you to great places and can be shared with your mates.
Adz: After all these sports and your day job how would you describe the condition of your body?
Fav: At the moment I feel in better shape than in my 30’s. I don’t want to sound like a wanker here, but I am truly thankful to feel fit, strong, and healthy in my mid 40’s. So long as I stay active my body feels pretty good. It’s when I stop that everything starts to hurt!!
Regular massage, and some Osteo and Physio work has also been amazing for managing training and injuries (old and new).
Adz: Tell us about your bikes?
Fav: Yes, They have names! That’s normal isn’t it?
Rusty: Graecross, “PRO 10” so he must be good, they wouldn’t put “PRO” on just anything. Rusty refused to disclose his age but says he can still “teach those flashy carbon fliberty jibbets a thing or two”. Rusty was acquired “FREE TO GOOD HOME” from the nature strip just up the road (and yes he had a sign on him, I didn’t just wait till my neighbour parked his bike and went inside). He’s carbon black with generously applied rust coloured highlights. He has 10 speeds, of which only the top gear is working. Rusty sports an ever practical pack rack on the rear so can be used for work as well as pleasure. He came with original pedals, toe clips and courtesy bell for passing.
Upgrades since acquisition include: non perished tyres and tubes and some mountain bike SPD pedals. I have also oiled the chain! For the weight weenies: Rusty weighs in at a very respectable 16kg+ (without pedals but including pack rack). Rustys adventures include: Great Ocean Road rides to Wye River and back, Mt. Benwerren Hill repeats, and scenic rides around the coastal Torquay township.
Sadly I must report that it looks like Rustys days as an elite road racing machine may be nearing their end. A series of mechanical breakdowns on recent rides seem to pointing toward a well earned rest for this trusty steed. There has been talk that a small fortune may be available at the scrap metal yard from some members of my household, a fate not worthy of such a quality ride!
Kkkken: 2010 Kona Unit 29er fully rigid single speed. Kkkken is by far my favorite ride. He’s not flashy, is quietly spoken, and would rather let his actions speak for him (He may just be my alter ego). On the single track he is nimble and exudes enthusiasm. His no-nonsense workmanlike approach makes riding him a joy.
Riding Kkkken you forget about the bike, its just about the trails, about finding the smoothest most efficient lines and going with the flow…Oh Yeah Baby! If I could only have one bike I’d choose Kkkken every time.
Upgrades include: XT brakes, XT-pedals, XT 29er Wheelset, Niner carbon forks, Ritchie stem, Raceface bars, and tubeless Raceking (rear) Xking (front) tyres. Thanks again for the generous donations Adza! For the weight weenies: Kkkken weighs in at 9.9kg with pedals. I credit Kkkkens tough love approach with helping me improve my singletrack approach. Thanks Kkkken.
Sugar Ray: 2011 Giant Anthem X1. Sugar Ray, named after the legendary boxer,,.or Rayleen as she now likes to be called, is an awesome bike. She has taken me on so many adventures that I’ve lost track. She’s a joy to ride, smooth, accelerates well, and given the right rider input responds well. Unfortunately for Rayleen she has been on the receiving end of more than her fair share of bad rider input and spent a little too much time taking the road less travelled off the trails and into the bush. Like the lady she is she never complains and just gets back up and continues on. Unlike Kkkken she doesn’t teach through tough love, instead using all of her ample travel, she will absorb the punishment associated with bad line choice, and prefers to do her teaching through smooth repetition.
Rayleen has no upgrades, a real lady doesn’t need them, but instead does the best with what she’s got and always looks amazingly hot. For the weight weenies: A lady doesn’t discuss her weight, lets just say around 12kg and still fits an M sizing!
No for the more serious riding stuff……
Adz: Tell us about your first crack at the Otway Odyssey?
Fav: Thanks to our good friend, Eliza Jenkins (exercise physiologist, massage therapist, and all round inspirational sportswoman) I had returned to mountain biking at the ripe old age of 42.
We had been riding regularly for about 3 months, with a great group of riding buddies, and decided we should enter a race together. We discussed doing the 50 and although we thought it would be a struggle, thought we’d have a crack. Anyway by the time we went to enter the 50 was sold out! Still room in the 100km though!
I don’t know how she does it, but, Eliza has a way of making you believe that you can do anything. In fact she tells us “that you can do anything you train for”, she’s proved it, and I believe her. So with much trepidation Eliza and I made a pact to enter the 100km and ride together. Hell, we had already notched up nearly 30km once before, how hard could it be? So Eliza worked us out a program that would get us up to the 100km mark with lots of emphasis on nutrition, and we got to practicing eating! This was sounding good to me!!!!
The training leading up was so much fun. It gave us reason to head off with our mates. The whole family would join us for rides at Forrest or Anglesea, and the experience was awesome. The support from my family was amazing and I couldn’t have even have gotten to the starting line without them.
The Race itself was a bit of a shock to say the least! Eliza and I went out really slowly, last to start and cruised our way up the first climb. “This is easier than our Tuesday Night social Ride” I proclaimed.
There had been heaps of rain and once we left the bitumen everything changed. I had never seen so much mud. Hills and Mud, pretty much sums up the day! So much mud that we spent more time scraping our wheels clean with sticks or carrying our bikes than riding. I remember standing on a massive hill in the middle of nowhere thinking we’re screwed! It had taken us about an hour to get maybe 500-meters. Luckily we were not alone and shared stories with others in the same boat, we were all still laughing, even if only nervously.
Somehow we ended up being sent down the wrong trail “dry weather route” only to be told by an official at the river crossing that we should have missed that section. Again we laughed, threw our bikes in the river to wash off all the mud and continued on. For a while we got a little despondent but we were never going to give up.
Once we hit the single track in Forrest we were energised again. We even got told off by another competitor for having too much fun and saying “wheee” on the trails.
My wife Kel, was doing support for us and was patiently sitting on our esky in Forrest with home cooked lasagne for our arrival. Patiently she waited, friends saying, “you must have missed them”. “No way” she said, “no way I missed them, haven’t moved and I’ve got their food!” Eventually we arrived, hours behind schedule and just beating the official cut-off time. This continued for the rest of the race. We scooted around the single track, hooting and hollering, having a blast at our less than warp speed pace, to just beat the cut-off and head out to the next section.
We were tired but in good spirits, meeting some great people as we rode, and getting closer to the finish with each carry of the bike or pedal stroke. The problem with being at the back of the field in these conditions is that the track has been chopped up by everyone in front of you. So sections that may have been rideable hours earlier were now impassable. This was especially the case with the dreaded “Sledgehammer”.
For those that don’t know the sledgehammer is a ridiculous climb to put at the end of a 100km race. Whoever is responsible is a very sick person indeed! After this much rain and traffic it was nearly our undoing. There is a point half way up the sledgehammer that I clearly remember. It is the only point in the ride where I thought we would not finish! Traction was zero, neither Eliza nor I could get over the next little pinch with our bikes, and the conditions were making it close to impossible for us to even help each other. We dug deep, pushed on and made it up that bloody hill! From then on it was easy, relatively speaking.
I remember when we were heading down the final dirt road towards the oval and finish line seeing race organiser, John Jacoby give us a big grin and thumbs up out of his 4wd. Then as we entered the finish area on the nearly deserted oval I remember how proud I felt of our effort. It had only taken us 10hrs and 49 minutes but we had made it! So what if they had taken down the timing clock, packed up the showers, toilets and food. A few hearty supporters were waiting anxiously for their loved ones, exhausted from a long, looooong day of supporting their crew (my lovely Kel included). We had completed a 100km mountain bike ride, we were real mountain bikers now! I reckon we had earnt a beer at the brewery!
I was so lucky during this time to be introduced to so many wonderful people who were encouraging and generous with their time and knowledge. Many of whom I now count among my closest friends. The support from Kel and the girls was amazing! I could not have done it without them! Thank you so much!
Adz: Now you have decided to have a crack at the Scott 24hr?
Fav: Yes, Something I said I’d never do!
Fav: Good Question! One I regularly ask myself. A solo 24 is something I NEVER thought I would even consider doing, let alone sign up for and be eager to start! This transition from a “no way” position to “actually entering” is a somewhat fluid process. I’m still trying to work out how such a vile idea has taken root in my mind.
Initially when introduced to people (now friends) who had completed solo 24hrs I tended to take a wide birth. If not physically, at least mentally! I thought these people were all crazy freaks! Not in a good way either! They made me cringe and feel physically ill. There was no way I would ever even consider doing that! Such ideas are dangerous, and these freaks were not to associate with my children!
My perspective may have changed, but the idea of riding 24 solo still sounds crazy to me! My personal reasons “why” have evolved since I first seriously decided that this is something I wanted to do: Initially it was about peer group pressure and the challenge, doing something outside my comfort zone. Way, way outside my comfort zone!and ultimate bragging rights!
This challenge is still at the core of my solo 24hr ride. However over the course of my training rides I’ve been able to think a lot and refine this somewhat. The bragging rights seem less important, but the challenges have taken on a little more significance.
As a parent: it is about putting into action that which we request of our children: Move outside your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to just have a go, try new things, “you can do anything you train for,” in short, you only get out of life what you put in! Don’t be scared of failure, its all about having a go and learning from your mistakes! I have said these things many times, but have my kids ever seen me do it?
As a husband: its about respecting the support and encouragement I’ve been given to follow my dream, however crazy, and using that support as my driving force. I appreciate the time and sacrifice from my whole family. This is something I was blissfully unaware of when I first “signed up”. I still thought that a 24hr solo was an individual event. In fact it seems to be anything but solo! If you can’t turn that into a reason to do your best you’re a knob! At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Personally: it is about testing myself, both physically and mentally! For me it is purely personal. I am not competing against anyone else on the course, but I am fiercely competitive! I have no interest in my overall placing, times, laps or any other tangible measure of performance. I will however be my harshest judge and will not tolerate anything but my best on the day!
I expect to finish!, I expect it will hurt, I expect to want to quit, I expect to keep riding, I expect to never want to ride again, but I expect to be in control and for this 24 hours to pass like any other does, It’s just going to feel longer.
I can’t wait for that feeling to have done something that I know can’t be done.
It is amazing how many things “we know to be true” turn out to be wrong when we actually test them. As I’ve already said I’ve been blessed to have an amazing group of inspirational friends to train with. Many are everyday people like myself, others are elite athletes. The one thing they all have in common is a love of life. If you hang around with these type of people long enough you start to believe that these crazy things are possible. The hardest thing is to line up at the start and trust you’ve done enough.
Adz: Whose in your support corner and why did you choose them?
Fav: I am honoured by everyone who has offered their assistance with support. For me this is an unknown event, I am lucky to have access to some very experienced riders/pit crew, and am really blessed by offers of support, all of which I expect to take advantage of at some point in the race.
My gorgeous wife Kel will be head of support and my daughters Alex and Georgie have also offered their generous support. This 24hr is anything but solo, and there is no-one I would rather share this journey with than Kel and the girls.
Kel can dish out the tough love, and hopefully vegemite sanga’s, when required. She knows what I need to keep me going and how my weak man mind works, so I know I’m in good hands when I really pack up.
If all goes to plan Kel will be supported by a myriad of more experienced pit crew, including our fave interviewer, Adz and his girl Ky who will provide much appreciated 24hr experience.
Thank You so much Guys…. in case I can’t speak after the race, or worse still, forget my manners.
Adz: Do you know to do a 24hr you have to ride your bike for 24hrs?
Fav: You talking crazy shit here Adz! Funny thing is, I checked it out, can sleep for 23 hours and ride for 1 hour if I want! Easiest race I ever heard of.
Adz: What’s the longest ride you have done so far?
Fav: So far the longest training ride (in hours) has been 8hrs on the single speed. Rode for 8:20, peddled for 8. Did this one solo without any music, etc. Good opportunity to get the nutrition down. Felt pretty good when I finished, said to myself only gotta do that another two times. Somehow I didn’t find that comforting?
Adz: You put together a pretty comprehensive training plan…tell us about it?
Fav: I have a tendency to really “focus” on events. Some may say obsess, fixate etc, but I prefer the more positive term “focus”.
Having got that off my chest, the main purpose of my program was to stop me getting carried away and overtraining. This was doubly important given that the 24hour was so far outside my comfort zone and I have been at least a little fearful, or at times terrified. If I had not had a training plan there is NO Doubt I would now be injured from overtraining… if through fear alone!
I was lucky to come into my training with a good fitness base and have been able to build from there following my program. Basically I have set a program in 4 weeks blocks, that has come from an emphasis on strength (hills: 1st block) to endurance . Each 4 week block builds based on time and has a rest/recovery week built in on the 5th week. The rest week still gets me out training but nowhere near the same intensity. This is where you make the gains, where your body has a chance to recover and you come back fresh ready to start the hard work again.
Each training block encompasses smaller cycles including strength, sprints, and endurance workouts. I have worked purely on building training time over each block, regardless of type of training, as I am training for a time specific event. IE: no matter how fast or hard I ride the 24hour will take at least 24hours! Nothing you can do about that! So maybe best if we concentrate on increasing our performance over a 24 hour period! So far it seems to be working really well for me.
Again I need to acknowledge the input from my friends. I have been extremely lucky to have several experienced 24hr riders, multisport athletes and exercise physiologists give me input, and direction, toward my program.
Without seeing the race day result and if my program has worked, I would still recommend having a general program to follow when considering any event for which you are concerned about your results or ability to perform.
Adz: So in the lead up you’ve done some racing…how did Blores Hill go?
Fav: Blores Hill is one of my most favorite places to ride. I was lucky enough to ride it with Adz, family and friends last Christmas. The trails are awesome! We loved it so much we said there was no way we were going to miss this year’s race! Boys weekend, Adz, Noah, and I. Ready to race and more than a little excited!
Race day was awesome, trails were looking good and I was more than ready to get out there and race. Sometimes they say that you learn more from your mistakes….. well this was one of those days!
I was so unorganised it wasn’t funny! Friday: Bike still on racks, Adz Says “your forks look bent”. Basically told him he was an idiot, my forks are fine! Friday night familiarisation ride, trails in pristine condition, I get puncture/no brakes. Spoke to race mechanic no brake pads, bring some tomorrow! Cool will fit brakes before race.
Race day, no sign of mechanic, no brakes…. panic stations…. miss start by 10minutes…. (lap 1) weave through traffic… meet heaps of friendly peeps chatting as I pass… lap 2, traffic clears…. able to hit Trigg point rock garden full on this time…. forks buckle…. steering gets sketchy …. keep riding… try to turn but front wheel hits foot cause the forks are so bent…. hit tree…. forks are really stuffed now…. maybe Adz was right… maybe my forks were bent?
What an idiot! Maybe I should have listened? Best Race ever!!!!! I learnt more from my disaster at Blores Hill than I could in years of successful racing! I got so much wrong it wasn’t funny, or was actually. Bike, spares, plan?????
It wasn’t all bad though. I was lucky enough to sit and watch the well oiled race machine that is the Jess/Norm Douglas pit area. I reckon that I learnt more about racing, serious racing, from observing these guys at that one event than all the fun mountain bike events I’ve ever been to.
I left happy, not because I’d done well, not because it was an awesome event with the best trophies I’ve ever seen (and I’m not usually interested in trophies) or the amazing trails, or the great people we met, or shared a pub meal with, or the fact that I won a repair stand or any of the other fun road trippy thingys! But because I had learnt so much about the race environment! I left thinking racing 101… Fav just failed! But next time things are gonna be different!
Adz: By how many meters has the circumference of your quads increased since you started training?
Fav: I had hoped you would not bring this up Adz, I’m a little bit self conscious you know! I think I may be having some sort of allergic reaction. My girls are calling me frog legs.
Adz: After years of defiance you’ve started wearing Lycra?
Fav: Seems I should never say “never” again! “I’m never going to wear lycra” (LIES), “I’m never going to enter a 24” (LIES). Maybe that’s what happens when you start to wear the lycra? Maybe the lycra is causing an allergic reaction on my quads?
Adz: What’s your race plan?
Fav: We are entering the unknown here mate: I have it from excellent sources (Adz, Roscoe, Coutney, Al.), in fact everyone I’ve spoken to whose already completed a solo 24, that I shouldn’t go out too hard! Soooooo my plan is to not go out too hard.
Realistically I plan to pace myself for as long as I can. If, by chance I’m feeling ok and still moving forward in the last few hours I’ll consider racing. Well pedalling faster anyway.
Some of the best advice I’ve had on this comes from you Adz. I liked your idea of having a few plans or outcomes you’d be happy with.
1. Dream Race, 2. Good Race, 3. Worst case.
I figure I’ve still got a bit of time, (7 weeks as I write, but whose counting?), to sort these things in my head. Lets face it I’ve got plenty of time to think about everything with all this riding.
Adz: What’s your nutrition plan?
Fav: I’ve been working on eating and drinking on the longer rides. So far it all seems pretty good but at 8 hours I’m only 1/3rd of the way through. I have practiced all of my foods, from gels to bars and vegemite sanga’s and think I know what my body can cope with. I’m pretty confident at this point, been using a clock to time my intake, but a bit nervous over the extended 24 hour period.
Again I’ve been lucky to have had advice from those who have already been there. General consensus seems to be to have a selection on hand as even your best plan can go out the window on race day. I do like the idea of having special treats at certain times, such as pizza, to help keep you motivated..
Adz: Any fears?
Fav: Heaps! Scared of: Not finishing, cramping, mechanicals, crashing, injury, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, becoming a tired angry knob… being rude to my support…saying things I will regret…. The list goes on! I actually dreamt I forgot to put my pants on, so I’ve added that to my fear list now.
Adz: Has training with Adventure racing freaks like Deanna Blegg, Darren Clarke, Peri Grey & Luke Haines taught you anything?
Fav: These guys are amazing! I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to train with these guys, even if only occasionally! Each and every one have been exceptionally generous with their time and knowledge. They may not even realise this but for an average athlete to have the opportunity to train with the elite is amazing. The smallest tips regarding training, gear and nutrition may seem trivial to them but it has given me an insight into things I may never have learnt.
Each of these athletes are inspirational by their achievements. I can not believe the generosity, encouragement, and knowlege that has been shared by this group to some old bastard on a bike! My sincere thanks goes out to you all.
Adz: At the end of 24hrs what outcomes will make you happy with your efforts?
Fav: This is my first 24hour event, maybe my last, and I will be happy: To complete it on Kkkken, my fully rigid single speed, to Finish, to Finish without sleeping, to Finish with x hours sleep, most important: To Finish and thank my support crew!
Adz: Anyone you would like to thank?
Fav: I really don’t want to miss anyone here. If I’ve had the pleasure to ride with you or talk 24hour in the recent months then I am truly thankful. So many have been so encouraging that I have been really shocked. The generosity of knowledge has been overwhelming and I have appreciated every bit. If I have missed anyone I am sorry. I know as soon as I send this off a flood of names will come to mind and I’ll be extremely embarrassed. You guys know who you are! Thanks so much for your support.
Kel and the Girls – I could not even consider doing it without you guys! You are my Rock!
Adz and Roscoe for convincing me that 24’s are “eeeasy” LIARS!!!! and sharing your 24 hour knowledge.
Thursday Night Social Crew. Thanks Dan & everyone who has kept night riding fun! Sunday Night Crew – Fostering a love of life and all things fancy dress! Noah, Wal, Nate, Andre – For keeping the Youie’s real.
Eliza – remedial massage and sports psychology. Thanks for opening my eyes and making me believe “you can do anything you train for”
Thanks to the amazing repair efforts of Bronwyn Molloy the osteo and Ben Bissett physio -who fix me up and get me going again.
Pez – Inspiration, heart, and determination. Luke and Deanna – for your generosity and encouragement.
Kimmy, Lyndon and Linda – for putting up with me and Rusty on the road. Courtney and Al – for your inspiration and encouraging words. Noenster – Inspiration. Alby – “persistance beats resitance”
MTB Skills – Norm, Jess, Liz and Sandy – for letting me tag along on so many rides since I started riding. Lorenzo – TCF – For hooking me up with such awesome bikes.
Adz: Thoughts from Kelly Favaloro (Favs Wife 24 hr from the pit crew’s perspective – aka wife.
Kel: Fav is a man of complete and total extremes – nothing is ever done by halves, there is no moderation – it’s a word that isn’t part of his vocabulary. Its all or nothing – either a sloth or training full tilt – no going for a jog to keep fit or a nice social ride every now and then. Once a sport grabs his eye its full on – he got the taste for mountain biking a bit over 18 months ago. He entered the 100km odyssey after only riding for about 4 weeks, riding a maximum distance of about 30km and falling off the bike at least 4 times per km. It is all consuming to Fav and it doesn’t just stop at training- we also have the research phase – he has researched every component of the single speed he lovingly calls Ken. He has spent weeks researching new wheels, tyres, brakes, stems, cogs, chains, gels, nutrition, clothes and shoes – he has weighed each and every piece and proudly proclaimed with all the new bits his bike is now 2 kg lighter. His biggest weight modification has been to ride about 10 kg off his already fit body – It is amazing that at 45 the body still has the ability to adapt to suit the chosen sport. The best bit about being with the same person for 21 years is getting to share the journey – I am really proud of how when Fav sets a goal he attacks it with such determination – there have been nights over the last couple of months of training for the 24hr when he has disappeared into the wet and freezing cold by himself to get the hours up – some nights I feel sick hoping he is ok – when its bucketing rain and the wind is howling – I have to stop myself worrying about all the things that probably (hopefully) won’t happen – I have only had to rescue him once at about 9pm when he had a flat and the gas canisters didn’t work – lucky I know Hurst Rd trails well.
I would be lying if I haven’t had the odd day when I’ve been over the training- I enjoy spending time with Fav and some weekends when he has spent all day, both days training I miss him not being around. He then returns exhausted, splattered from head to toe in mud and with a plummeting blood sugar – all this equals a very cranky man!! I have got better at pouring an enormous glass of Endura optimiser down his throat as soon as he steps in the door to keep the crankiness at bay. Usually after a feed and a sleep on the couch he comes good. Fav has always supported my goals and me his. I figure we only get one life and one body -you may as well dream big, train hard and kick some arse -you will have more regrets about the things you never had the guts to do than the things you did! I think Fav’s amazing but I’m biased! I can’t wait to watch him ride the 24 hours, it won’t be easy for him but I have no doubt he will do himself proud. I hope he achieves what he wants from the race – I will be proud to see him get to the start line as he has worked so hard- anything else is a bonus!!