• benjamin massey

SEVEN gravel race

The weekend of 26th - 27th September featured the event known as SEVEN, an off road bicycle race situated in the south west of WA in a small town known as Nannup.

I departed Perth on the Friday at mid day, to arrive in Nannup mid afternoon.

I was lucky enough to score an Airbnb a few hundred meters out of the town centre, which is where I would be staying through until Sunday morning.

Friday the 25th after I settled into my Airbnb, I headed out for a few hours to have a look at some of the roads and trails we would be riding along for the event, I was in for a rude shock when I realised how steep some of the climbs where, wish I had a bigger cassette range on the rear to make it a little less taxing on the legs.

after struggling for a little while I started to see double arrows down on my Dexcom app, which meant severe Hypoglycemia was inevitable, probably explains why I felt pretty average to begin with, not realising I was dropping rapidly. I stopped to eat a Clif bar in an attempt to raise my BGL, I was to stubborn to sit and wait so I continued riding, which ended up pro longing the duration that I was Hypoglycemia and made for a real struggle for the following 30mins.

eventually my BGL came good while riding, and I started to make my way back towards to the town via multiple single tracks I came across. and then continued back to my accommodation.

later on in the evening around 6pm I attended the pre race briefing, good idea I did as there was a couple of minor things that I was un aware of.

Saturday 26th at 4 am I woke to my alarm, checked my BGL and it was in range which was a wonderful start to the morning, I did a pre bolus for my breakfast and completed my daily morning routine, which consisted of a meditation, mobility and a 2 min cold shower, which was bloody freezing compared to the water temp back in Perth.

got ready and ate a second bowl of cereal with no bolus which is what I normally do just before I head out on my bike. Departed the house at 6:20am to head into town and do a quick warm up before making my way to the race start, I left it a little late as I was unable to get a spot towards the front of the pack with the faster riders so had to settle for further back with all the stragglers.

7am the race has started, riders departing and absolute chaos trying to make my way through as far forward as possible before we hit the first climb.

we turned off the main road and onto Old Cundinup Rd to start the first climb, alot of riders going out way to hard which is very common to see, I let them charge ahead only to catch them and pass them at the top of the climb once they "blow a gasket",

starting to feel pretty good, bikes functioning well. Once we start to descend I noticed quickly I was passing alot of riders and I mean alot, clearly there wasnt much confidence when it comes to descending within the riders, I continued to push my physical boundaries on the down hills, coming extremely close to crashing on numerous occasions and just laughed it off. after the first 60mins I started to check my Dexcom sensor readings and I was reading between 6 - 8mmol/L, so I start to consume Carbohydrates in the form of Clif bars and Clif bloks, I was sustaining around 80 - 100G of carbohydrates per hour to fuel the intensity, and every time I checked I was stable in the 6 - 8 range. The hours and kms pass by, legs are feeling really good up until around the 4hr mark, all the climbing is starting to take its toll, I hadn't done this amount of elevation in training so once I passed around 2000m of climbing it was a slow downward spiral.

keeping my focus on maintaining the carbohydrate intake high and not pushing to hard on the climbs, stopping at the aid stations to hydrate and load my pockets up with lollies,

once my pre packed nutrition was used up thats when I went to the lollies I loaded up with at the aid station, every few minutes I would have a mouth-full of them.

By 5hrs i was hurting bad, and feeling the fatigue. the climbs were just as steep if not worse, the slow cadence up the climbs from my lack of adequate gearing really hurt the legs but I pushed through. continued to check my BGL every 20mins roughly and was really pleased to see that I was stable and even better than earlier, now sitting between 6 and 6.8 consistently, meaning my Glucose uptake was extremely efficient, considering I was shovelling in the sugar!

the climbing started to vanish and there was more descending back, we are getting close to the finish line, started to feel good again and put the hammer down for the last 20mins or so. the final couple of kms was good fun, following the munda biddi trail into town across the bridge and onto the finishing straight to cross the line in 5hrs 53mins.

I checked what my BGL was doing and I saw what I anticipated would happen, an upward arrow and an increasing level from 6.8 which quickly went to double arrows so I did a bolus of 3 - 4 units of insulin to cover the spike and part of my post race powerade.

10mins gone by and I was still rising and on my way between 14 - 18mmol/L, thats when the weather made a dramatic change and it started bucketing down with rain, thats when I decided to ride back to my accommodation to shower and have a proper re feed, by the time I rode the 5mins out of town back to the accommodation my BGL started to settle, but still high, i did and additional insulin dose to cover the high BGL and the food and drink I planned to consume, by the time I cleaned myself up and got dressed my BGL had come back down to around 12 with a downward arrow so I commenced the most enjoyable part of the day, the re feed :)

all things considered, I was really stoked with how everything turned out, bike functioned well, I functioned well and the weather was ideal during the race, except about 10mins after I crossed the line thats when it turned sour.

I made my way back to Perth on Sunday morning after a nice sleep in and thats the weekend done!

thanks for tuning in!

peace out :)


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