On Thursday I travelled down to Tasmania with Kylie for the last National Round of the series. A super early start for a flight got us dodging Kangaroos on the way to the airport. Upon arrival we were greeted by a sprawling absolute waterfront property. Again, I nailed the accomodation - this is super important!! And as a bonus we had free internet - sensational.
On Friday we had a look at the course. Nothing overly technical but in practice, the heart rate was reaching 180bpm without too much trying on the climbs. A mental note was made that this was going to probably hurt. After practice we went for a drive up tot the top of Moutn Wellington, 1hich is about 1200 odd metres above sea level. As Tassie is at sea level, this was a huge mountain - great views also.
Kylie was first to race on Saturday. After having a year with injuries, and a bit of bad luck, she was mainly looking at just getting a finish. Kylie managed to get 12th in Elite women which was pretty good as her leadup was not ideal - what with being run over by a Pinarello in the road bunch and getting whacked in the head by a pedal. Nice work chick!!!
We raced home after Kylie's race and I kitted up in the superb 'go-fast' orange and black colours of Lonsdale St Cyclery. This weekend I also had a matching bike as Trev had extremely kindly lent me his sensational Cannondale Taurine, after my bike was waylaid with mechanical issues.
Back at the race track, I took my spot on the start line. There was a slightly depleted field, with a few people not being there. But as always there were a couple of quick locals to keep an eye on. When the gun went off, the 2 local guys sprinted off up the long haul fireroad. They were flying, but I tried just to kepe them in contact. After the first descent, I had caught the guy in 2nd and went past him on the next climb. About 3 minutes later, I caught 1st place and went past and put the hammer down up the long climb. This was a technical switchback climb that fed to the highest point of the track. The descent offered a bit of recovery, passing down through the 4X track - the berms here were great. After 4 laps I had built up a lead of 4 minutes, and racked up my first National cross country race win.
The next day was the short track. This was a sensational course that had 2 bigger climbs than usual. They were big ring climbs (2nd or 1st at the back), but they hurt big time. The bonus was the run down through the berm track through the DH crowd. I managed to get the holeshot into the first corner, which was the plan. A bunch of rabid juniors went through on the long haul climb, I let them go and fell back into about 6th or 7th. No hassle - this would be a long 15 minutes and the 3 laps were going to add a few extra long minutes. I kept going and got back up to 4th. On the 3rd last lap, I had 3rd place in my sights and was planning to overhaul him on the 2nd last lap up the big climb. AT that point it all went pear-shaped, as a stuff-up by the commissaires had them trying to pull me off the track, even though 1st place was only about 10-15 seconds in front. Apparently we had caught so much traffic that they had gotten confused and were pulling people who they thought had been lapped.
After arguing for about 10 seconds, they realised their mistake and sent me back on my way for the last 2 laps. By now I had lost the chance to pull back 3rd place, so just rolled around and got 4th place.
A very red-faced officical came up at the end and apologised profusely for the mistake that they had made. Unfortunate but that is racing as I told him. There is nothing that could be done, so that is how it goes.
As a bonus, I did manage to win the National XC Series for Veteran Men for the 2nd year in a row. This year was better as I only raced 3 of the 5 races in the series and managed to win by 2 points. I also managed to get 3rd in the series for the short track series in Open Men. Not bad for 3 races!!
Anyway, a week off will recharge the batteries and then I can resume training for another part of the season.
Thanks again to Russ Baker for the racing pics.