Trek Ambassador Race Report: Ben Marshall at Capital Punishment
The 2013 edition of Capital Punishment saw a new look course for the 50km, with the large majority of it being on Stromlo’s singletrack, with the 100km course remaining pretty much the same. This year unfortunately it wasn’t part of the XCM series, as the series has been put on ice this year, but hopefully next year it will return. As a result of this the field was slightly less competitive than last year in the 50km, with last year, in my opinion, being the most competitive field ever in all of the Capital Punishment races. However there were still some fast people lining up on the start line including last year’s winner, Brad Morton, Ondrej Slezak, Allan Sieper and Daniel McDonald.
I arrived at the start line with no more than three minutes to spare after some confusion as to where the start line actually was, but adequately warmed up after my ride to the start line. I got a slow start, as I got stuck behind some very patient riders who were in no rush to race off the line, but managed to make up the ground to the lead group by the first climb. I jumped on the front and led the group up the first climb. As we crested the climb I tried a little attack to see if anyone was keen to join me but there was no one to follow, so I quickly ended that attempt. Following this there were a number of other attacks but all were shut down by the time we had left the arboretum and a group of about 8 of us had formed by the time we hit the Stromlo single track. By the time we had climbed half way up Stromlo our group had dwindled down to four of us (Glen Columbine, Brad Morton Daniel McDonald and myself). As we neared the top, Brad and Daniel attacked me and Glen and neither of us had a reply and all we could do was watch them ride off. We descended down Skyline and Luge and I was able to put about 50m into Glen by the bottom of the descent. We passed through the first feed station and began the ride back up and over Stromlo along the “Willo” link before continuing on over to the many fire trails out the back of Stromlo. I had a minor moment and came down in the single track and had to get back on Glen’s wheel as he passed me again. As we hit the fire trails over the back of Stromlo I could see Glen no more than 50m in front of me and just up the road from him the 2 leaders. I bridged the gap to Glen on one of the many climbs out the back and was still able to see the two leaders. However I could see Glen was starting to fade and was unable to get any help from him to bridge the gap to the other two in front.
We hit the 40km section and the final section, with effectively 10kms of single track left. I had just squirted an energy gu down as well as finished my first bottle and was feeling good, and decided to put some pressure on Glen in the fast single track. With 5km to go I had opened up a gap and was still trying to catch the 2 leaders.
However this was not to be and I crossed the line in 3rd place in a time of 1hr 53min, 2 mins behind Brad Morton and 1min behind Daniel McDonald. I was happy to go under 2hrs and stoked to get on the podium, with there still being plenty of room for improvement. Definitely looking forward to my next Mtb race on 14th April, the Wombat 100 in Victoria, but for now some road racing and lots more training.
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