Ariving at the start line I was left with the option to ride from the far side of the fire road where looking down the area we would have to ride you could see holes, bumps & stumps that I would have to negotiate while working my way back to the smooth dirt road. Around me was all the riders I would normally see on the start of a big race but looking across to the road most of the riders faces I had not seen before & I knew I had to get my start nailed before hitting the single track 800m or so up the track or I would be stuck behind riders that are more comfortable on the road than in the singletrack.
The start was a count down from 30 seconds but 5 seconds after the 15 second call the start hooter sounded & I got the worst start I could have imagined not getting my foot clipped into the pedal fast enough & letting all the so called road riders get a 15 meter start in front of me with no room to get passed at this stage. Moving into the singletrack as predicted the race slowed down to walking pace letting the leaders get away from me in the first lap. Plan one to stay with the leaders was now out the window & all I could do is work my way through the field at every chance I had to overtake using energy while accelerating rapidly that I did not really want to use up this early in the race. I had no idea on my position in the race but the only thing I had on my mind was to keep overtaking riders & by doing this I was giving it my best shot. Coming through the feed area on completion of the first lap I got to see what riders were swapping over in teams & what riders were going out for another lap, most likely in the solo category that I had to keep an eye on.
The track was in perfect condition with a little moisture in the soil giving perfect grip "Hero Dirt" & bad parts in the track had been repaired making the track faster than ever & a lot of fun to ride.
Mid race I was now starting to make some headway leaving slower riders that were in front blocking my momentum behind me & then I started to settle into a more steady pace using the flowing lines to my advantage saving much needed energy.
On the last lap of the race I had a rider come up behind me and ask to get around while short of breath & I thought he may be on a team so I let him go by, but had a quick look at his number, realizing that he was most likely in my category so I began to chase keeping him in my sights, not letting him get more than 10 meters in front thinking that I would pick up the pace in the last km and challenge him to the line just encase he was in my category. In my won little world a couple of slower riders came up in front of me & I sat behind them for a while before remembering that I was in a race & there was a guy in front of me that could take a position on the podium. Looking ahead after going around the slower riders the guy that had gone around me was no where to be seen so I started to go hard but before to long was caught behind another rider & realized I was to late and proceeded to roll the last few hundred meters behind a rider to cross the finish line where I was met by the rider who had gone past (Wayne) congratulating me on a good race and telling I had finished second after he had gone past me to finish in first.
Maybe I am a bit to relaxed in racing these days & need to get the enthusiasm back from my younger days, I don't know LOL!
I am looking forward to the next race :-)
In the week leading up to the race I mentioned that I was doing 8 Days In California Indoor Cycling Challenge. In the challenge you had a 50 hour window to do each stage or day from when the first country started which men't each stage in Australia started at 8pm meaning I could do a stage Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday mornings then do two stages on Thursday, one in the morning and another Thursday night getting me ahead of time allowing me to do stage 7 on Friday night so I can rest Saturday before racing the 4 hr at Taree on Sunday. Well encase you wanted to know what happened to the final stage 8. I did stage 8 on Monday morning after the 4 hr & struggled to finish at 100% FTP having to turn the FTP down to 86% where I still struggled to finish. At least I know I gave the 4 hr a real go & after this week I can only be stronger for the next race :-)