When you are having fun.
I have been fortunate to have been on holidays since just before xmas. In this time, I have eaten, slept, and ridden my bike. I have also landscaped the backyard, but that is only part time.
The first major race of the year was the Australian MTB Titles. I first raced the Australian MTB Titles in 1989. As a 16 year old, I raced U19s against some pretty good riders. Ben Monroe had just won the world championships downhill at Mammoth and he took the win in the U19 XC and also the DH.
I have raced the last 3 National champs since getting back in to the mountain bike scene. They have all been at Stromlo. The first year I got 16th. I had ridden myself into some bronchitis and was feeling like crap. Last year I got 6th. Bit of an empty feeling that one. Just didn't get going and felt ordinary. Got 5th in short track also that year.
For 2009 I decided that I wanted to get a good result. 6th place last year matched my result from 1989 in the junior ranks. So I decided to get the roadie out. I pretty much just rode the road. I also purposely stayed away from the race course. I knew that the course would take a lot out of me, so the best bet was to leave it alone and not over practice it.
Come race day, I was feeling pretty good but not sure how it would go. At a crit 2 weeks prior, I had pulled a pedal and put it through my front wheel and used my forearm as a brake. Not good, but anyway the gun went off and I clipped in and bolted around the road crit track with the rest of the Vets. The pace was really high from the beginning, however, quite a few people had gone pretty deep early and had popped by the picnic table false flat. This was where I essentially wanted to start my race. I moved up from aout 10th to 3rd and followed Warren Burgess up the World Cup climb whilst keeping Andrew Wilcher in sight.
I felt pretty good following Warren and went past him on the 2nd lap and just kept going. I was able to keep Andrew in sight most of the race, but was unable to get him back. On the 4th lap my front wheel somehow lost 10psi and became a little unstable, so I nursed it home to claim 2nd place. To say I was happy was an understatement. The day went well and the pedals felt light - such a good feeling.
The next day was the short track event. The course was a pretty cool one with berms and jumps. I got the holeshot and lead the first lap around at my own pace. After the first lap, I sat up a bit and made the other 2 come through. On the 3rd lap a small pack of 3 or 4 riders busted through and the 2 guys in front of me were able to get a bit of a break. I didn't panic, but just kept trying to inch back. It took about 3 laps but I was able to get back to the 2 leaders. When I did catch them, I attacked almost immediately to see what they had. They pretty much were able to get back, but then Brad counter attacked and got a gap. I went after him, but couldn't quite close him down. Brad won and I got 2nd. Not a bad weekend at all.
The rest of the week I was on a high. I also did a bunch of paving - 100 square metres or so. I gave Mt Buller a miss as I was a bit mentally tired. Physically I had recovered really well. I also started to rebuild for the last National round in Tasmania at the end of February.
I also got a new road bike. Trev hooked me up with Cannondale Six Carbon. Nice smooth ride. Stoked.
Since then, I have raced 2 local dirt crits at Majura. 2nd and 3rd in both of those, the last one was run at 36 degrees celsius at 7pm - hot, hot, hot.