The Evocities is a new series that is scored from the best of five races in the seven race series at inland venues such as Albury, Wagga, Orange, Tamworth, Sydney, Bathurst & Dubbo & has claimed to be the richest MTB series in the country. Mountain biking has come a long way in Australia since I first started racing back in the 90's when there was less than a hand full of endurance races.
The weekend away racing would mean another quick trip away leaving for the 7 hour trip to Orange Saturday & returning Sunday after the race, only this time I picked up Jason English in Newcastle to keep me company and smash down some more carbs for half of the trip.
We managed to arrive at the track around 5pm & I set up my tent before going out for a lap, that turned into two because the track was so fun, finishing just before dark followed by picking up our rego numbers & dinner at Hogs Breath Cafe in Orange.
On the start line I was positioned not to far from the front & with the same start up the hill along a fire road that was used in the chocolate foot last year & I knew what I was in for before entering the first single track.
With an unusual 10 second countdown warning we were started & I managed to gain a few more positions before entering the first single track where there seemed to be alot of riders still in front keeping the pace much slower than I would have expected. Looking ahead in the field I seen Michael Crummy, Peter Selkrig, Garry James & Andrew Lloyd, letting me settle into the pace knowing that I had not been left behind like I thought I had.
I decided on a race plan by keeping the riders in front of my in sight knowing I would be left behind if I lost contact. To my surprise I was feeling much better than last weekend at Stromlo even though I only managed one ride during the week leading up to this weekend & it didn't take long till I went past Pete Selkrig & got onto the wheel of Garry James where I sat for a lot of the race. There was a lot of single track & not much opportunity for overtaking on the 8.5km lap unless a rider moved off to the side or took a B line around an obstacle. I was feeling good & managed to go past riders every lap that took a B line around a large rock face & around the two hours I passed Garry only to be slowed by riders in front not allowing me to gain any distance from him. At various spots around the track there were riders slowing the progress & as I came around to the three hours when going through the feed zone I noticed Garry in front of me grabbing a drink. Not realizing it he must have slipped back past me when taking an A/B race line.
My GPS was giving me my last lap time each time through the feed zone that was keeping my pace & as I passed my car each time it was connecting to my mobile that was left on in my car through bluetooth, & then disconnecting once again when entering the bush, this must have caused my GPS to get an error & stop recording, so I was left with no speed or distance data. Unable to look at my lap times I could not determine if I was slowing each lap.
Around 3 hours into the race Jason English lapped past me looking very fresh & it was not till around another 45 minutes that Ed McDonald passed me & at that point I realised Garry had made a break from me also so I entered the next long descent a lot faster than previous laps where I normally made good time up on Garry, but this time I was left behind. With only one lap to go I set out to keep my position in the field keeping an eye on riders that may have passed me establishing whether they are team riders or not. Half way around my last lap I was passed by Jason Morgan riding a lot faster than other solo riders, thinking he was in a team I let him go by & roll over the finish line a few minutes in front of me. The end result revealed that I had been pushed off the podium for 3rd place by Jason Morgan in the last lap in Masters with Trent More in 2nd & Brad Dalton in 1st.
The overall winners were Jason English 1st, Ed McDonald 2nd & Andrew Lloyd 3rd.
It is not the first time I have had the DOW! factor in the last lap & one I will never live down but something that I have to stop doing is letting my guard down at any point in racing because as I revealed in this race, once again it's all it takes to lose a spot on the podium. Until the next race, Happy Riding :-)
Thanks to my sponsors Enriched Health Care & Seers Cyclery once again for their ongoing support.