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SPIT POLISHED PRESENTATIONS
October 28, 2010
FOR the next four months, CPL
Michael Crummy might have to
content himself riding a stationary
bike in a gym in the MEAO.
That's going to mean a mighty adjust-
ment and change of scenery after he
spent most of this year building up for
the world solo 24-hour mountain-bike
titles in Canberra on October 9 and 10.
All three services fielded riders in the
race, but CPL Crummy bettered them all.
Just two days before he was scheduled
to leave with 37SQN for a four-month
rotation, he completed 21 laps of a gruel-
ling 18.5km course, which was three laps
behind winner Jason English and three
laps ahead of his nearest ADF rival, an
In a field of 411 riders -- the cream
of mountain bikers from throughout
Australia and overseas -- he finished 20th
overall and fourth in the 30-34 years divi-
"What a champion," is how FLTLT
Shane Taylor reacted to the performance
-- and he is well qualified to comment.
Aside from being president of the
Australian Defence Cycling Club, he was
widely regarded as Air Force's No. 1 man
for the world titles.
But two weeks before the race, he
went over his handlebars on a downhill
leg in an eight-hour training race in
Sydney, incurring an injury that relegated
him to spectator at the worlds.
He was in awe from that side of the
"The track was quite brutal, which
meant up to 1.5 hours between pit stops,
and 500m of climbing per lap," FLTLT
"Michael therefore covered the equiv-
alent of 10,500m climbing, which can be
put into some perspective by noting that
Mt Everest is 8848m high."
CPL Crummy was well satisfied with
He has now completed four 24-hour
races and said this was the most chal-
"It's been a long wait for this one," he
said. "I've been training for it for the past
eight to 10 months."
That involved one 12-hour race, six
eight-hour races and numerous cross-
county races, usually of two hours' dura-
tion each, and he had some impressive
form going into the worlds.
"My plan was to keep my heart rate
at 65-75 per cent capacity so I could
perform at my optimum level," CPL
If you thought that 24-hour racing
entails little more than staying awake for
a long time and pedalling away, think
It involves high-tech bikes and gear
and finely-tuned athletes who take care-
ful heed of the information sports science
Many of the riders, for instance, carry
CPL Crummy rode with a monitor
harnessed to his chest, sending data wire-
lessly to a watch attached to his handle-
bars, which he could glance at during the
less difficult parts of the track.
His aim was to keep his heartbeat
steady at 136 beats a minute, though it
dipped as far as 120 and as high as 160.
CPL Crummy only transferred to the
Air Force in March last year after spend-
ing nine years in the Navy.
FLTLT Taylor first encountered him
at a 24-hour race in 2007. CPL Crummy
finished sixth and FLTLT Taylor 13th.
There began a bit of friendly rivalry
that developed into a friendship.
CPL Crummy stayed with FLTLT Taylor
on the Sunday after the world title race
and FLTLT Taylor was able to relate to
the exhaustion that comes from riding a
bike, without sleep, for 24 hours.
"I can attest he left nothing behind,"
he said. "He was in a world of hurt."
CPL Crummy collapsed on the lounge
for three or four hours. Later he went
to sleep again for another six or seven
hours, but was up again at 1am, trying to
satisfy his early morning hunger.
He was perhaps relieved that his
departure date for the MEAO was
delayed for a week because, although
he was nearing full strength again a few
days after the race, every bit helps.
While he is obviously not taking his
bike with him to the MEAO, he knows
the base has a fleet of pushbikes and he
knows, too, that he will be able to go for
a stationary spin in the gym. No trees,
no hills. Bliss. Though it remains to be
seen whether he will wear a light on his
WHEN SQNLDR Ian Rich-
man set his sights nine months
ago on competing in the solo
24-hour world mountain-bike
titles, he was 13kg heavier.
At 49, he has been riding
mountain bikes since long
before the days of suspension
and disc brakes.
"I'm usually far more inter-
ested in exploring the coun-
tryside on a bike than entering
competitions," he said. "I'm a
dedicated cyclist, but certainly
not a serious one."
This makes his achievement
all the more impressive.
SQNLDR Richman, of
Capability Development Group
in Canberra, was one of two
Air Force riders in the race and
completed a very respectable
13 laps -- 244km and 26 times
up and down Mt Stromlo --
which gave him 16th in his age
He was very happy with that,
having had a goal of riding at
least 200km in the 24 hours.
"The race itself was about
the culmination of the physical,
mental and logistical prepara-
tion that goes into an event of
"The bike was ready, the
support crew organised, the
smorgasbord of food (you
never know what you are going
to want to eat, so it pays to
have a variety) -- everything in
sit on the bike and just keep
pedalling. I paced myself,
stayed awake, only crashed a
few times (no serious damage
to rider or bike) and tried not
to think about the increasingly-
scary section called Pork
Barrel or the increasingly-steep
SQNLDR Richman said
he was proud to wear the
Australian Defence Cycling
Club jersey during the event.
change of scene
s goal by
TICKING ALONG: CPL Michael Crummy ... he
kept his heart rate steady as planned for the entire
Photos: LAC Aaron Currran
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