2013 winner, Ronn Slusser “Style and Performance”

slusser_sanddune_IMG_4395The Simpson this year, what an effort.  Amazing riders and some good competition. It was a cooler year than normal, but to bring about tough conditions mother nature threw in some very strong winds and some chilly mornings. She also showed us how we can have up to a 30 degree temperature change in the one day.

For me the challenge of riding the Simpson started with a thought early last year. I decided last year in March to train for the Ingkerreke Mountain bike enduro at home in Alice Springs and use that as a guideline or template if I should enter the Simpson. As it was I did reasonably well in the Ingkerreke so I went about entering the Simpson and continued training.  I ended up doing rather well in 2012’s Simpson, although I was riding with a chest infection. But this and skinny wheels on my mountain bike were not going to stop this OCD boy from getting a 100% 6th place finish.

With 2013 rolling on and the new purchase of shiny toys to put together and finish up with a Fat Bike I was determined to enter and win the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge. Training continued and another Ingkerreke MTB enduro with great placings went by. This is when the year for me started to unfold and become the worst year of my life, life throws all sorts of things at you and you think it’s all over. My training had suffered quite a bit, it became sporadic, inconsistent and my mental state was going downhill. The only good thing was my nutrition plan was right on track as my daily nutrition of bacon and eggs was a helpful comfort food 4-5 times a week.

With all the sporadic training and great nutrition over the last 18 months I have been able to lose 16kg. The only thing I had to now concentrate on was getting my head though the race. Getting close to the start of the race and even before my crew and I had left town to get to Dalhousie and Purnie Bore, I was as nervous as all hell.

The start of Day 1 stage 1 we went off and I sat behind the usual leaders Al, Murray and Lynton. For the first 5km I stayed behind them but got quickly bored staring at their backs so I yelled out “coming through” I went straight up the middle of them and decided to leave them behind. With a bit of effort I took out the stage win. Stage 2 comes about and there was 30km of head wind to start with to get through before taking a left hander. I decided to be friendly and play the peloton game, with ten of us in a row, with only the four of us up front taking turns into the wind. After the left hander came about one of the skinny tired dudes decided to make a break for it. He got about 2km in front of us when I said to Al and Lynton, “I can’t let him get away, I’m going to chase him and take him out.” Within about 1km I had him in my sights only a few hundred metres away when he started to slow down and let me through as he had to repair a tyre. Stage 2 won with the first time a Fat Bike ever winning this stage.

With the rest of the stages I decided to work a great tactic, to see if I could win this race. What’s the tactic, well it’s very technical but it goes something like this. Go go go go baby and leave everyone behind and occasionally look back. It’s a tactic that seemed to work because I won every stage with breaking some records over the whole race. There is only two problems with doing this, when you’re in front and you have a Go Pro recording, it has some pretty boring images as there is no pretty coloured riders in view, just sand, sky and bushes. The other problem is that you have no one but yourself to talk to.

slusser_wide_P1090434I certainly had fun doing the race and couldn’t believe I was doing so well. I ended up finishing with 29hrs 12 min which was a 2 hr 12 min lead. Which for the same course as we did last year I finished 9hrs 13min quicker this year. So what’s next? Well I had asked Chris Turnbull rider 15 if he was interested in doing it on a Tandem Fat Bike next year, for some reason he was not too interested. So I think a personal challenge of like maybe trying to shave off 4 hrs off my overall time might be good.

slusser_PA041363Some of the riders wondered what was in my water, and what my secret is. Well it’s all about the nutrition. Between stages it’s important to get the right fuel in, for me this is simple. 1 Litre of milk, 3 cans of coke, cup of chicken noodle soup, bowl of mashed potato, Mars bar or a Snickers and we can’t forget the most important factor, the Twisties.

For me I’ll be there again to have all out fun. And always remember, it’s not how well you ride but how good you look while doing it.

Ronn Slusser 
Outright Winner 2013

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