09 May 2013

After eight attempts Swell Specialized rider Shaun Lewis finally broke the hoodoo by taking out the  2013 Convict 100.

Not to be outdone was team mate Jenny Fay, returning to the event as defending champion and fresh from hervictory at the XCM National Champs in Atherton – Fay produced a clinical ride putting 10 minutes on her nearest rivals Naomi Hansen and Imogen Smith.

Jenny Fay crosses the finish in first place.
Winners are grinners. Shawn Lewis celebrates his win.

As an Irish National, Fay could not be crowned as the Australian Marathon
champ but there is little doubt that she is the leading female rider in the
XCM format: “I’m very happy to win the Convict 100 for a second year running
in the elite female category. To top it all off, Andy and Shaun showed great
teamwork to get Shaun on top of the podium in the elite male category.”In a tactical men’s race, Lewis was pushed all the way to the finish line by
24hr hard man and recently crowned XCM National Champ Jason English.

After almost getting dropped by English in the last kilometre of the race, Lewis
got the jump into the final corner and outsprinted English for the win – at
the same time setting a new course record that was held by team mate Andy
Blair in 2012. Blair carrying good form into the event played his part in
the first half of the race but was unlucky when a sidewall tear ended his
race prematurely.

In previous editions of the Convict 100, Lewis’ undoing came early in the
race in the form of the well-known (and much feared) Blue Hill – a steep
graded climb only 10.5km into the race.   Lewis explains: “In the past I
have either been dropped on the climb and never got back in contact, or I’ve
made it over with the leaders but then lost contact after going too deep.
This year I tried something different and went in an early break so that I
could get over the climb in a good position without going too deep.”

At the halfway mark the early break was pulled back and a group of seven
including Lewis, Blair, English, Johnston, Crosbie, Hall and Ward went
through the second feed station in quick succession.  Lewis and Blair hit
the next single track section at the front. Blair explains: “The next
section was the bit I was most looking forward too, you know, the bit with
all the rocky step-ups and gnarly free-ridy descents. It was actually for
this reason that Shaun and I had decided to try out our duallies for the
first time in a marathon, so I was dead keen to have fun. Unfortunately,
sometimes having fun isn’t the smartest thing to do in a race, and in this
case I made a mistake and opened up a sidewall.”

Blair’s unfortunate run-in with the rocky terrain signalled an opportunity
for English who went straight to the front and at the 75km it was English,
Lewis, Johnson and Crosbie left to fight it out for podium positions.

In the end Lewis’ showed the same sprinting form that won him the 2012 Wombat
100 title over Adrian Jackson, saluting the crowd as he took line honours in
the 2013 Convict 100.

Mens podium (L-R) – English, Lewis, Johnston.