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Jason English & I decided to leave Port Macquarie 7 am on the Saturday morning before the event so we could be there in time for Jason to meet the kids competing in the junior race & hand out some G8 Performance hand balls before riding a lap of the course ourselves. We gave a new friend James form Springwood in the Blue Mountains a lift back from Port also & in doing so were offered a lunch for our efforts, also breaking up the trip for us.
The course was on very open land with just under 200 m elevation per lap & nearly the whole course could be seen from the start area. There was not much technical riding other that a few small humps & drops as the trail snaked its way up & down the terrain that was given to the local club by there council.
A good tip for dinner led us to Jack Duggans Irish Pub but unfortunatlely along the way Jase was not feeling well & waited outside while I had one of the best pub meals I had ever had.
Awakening the next morning luckily he was able to hold down some food & fluid before we all made our way to the race start.
After the usual 15 second count down where the race starts only after a few seconds I was ready & with more ease than I thought made it around most of the riders in front of me before entering the first section of singletrack. Looking ahead in the field of riders, I was still well behind where I wanted to be & I took every opportunity to overtake, making my way up through the field.
One lap down in under thirty minutes was what I was expecting, but looking ahead on the open field I could still see who I wanted to be riding with well ahead of me. I kept pushing my way forward & felt like I was gaining but with the track weaving all over the open ground it was hard to tell on what part of the track riders were on. A quick calculation on an area of track I seen the riders on had me around 2 minutes behind after two laps & that men't that I had only six laps to catch up. The pace seemed a lot faster than I expected at this point in the race but it was not long after that I passed Trent More & then David Speering. Looking ahead at the two hour half way point it looked like Jason Morgan, who I wanted to catch had picked up the pace because I now could no longer find him in front of me.
My legs were feeling great in the calf muscles that I had massaged the Friday before but my thigh's felt like they were extremely tight & I was starting to find it hard to get the bike up hills forcing me to back off the pace while climbing & taking more risks on the descents.
I started the race with arm warmers & after the first two laps I removed them as I started to warm up. Now three hours into the four hour race the wind was starting to pick up & the temperature was starting to drop making my chest feel cold as I breathed heavy in the cold air.
David Speering had been yelling my name across the track every time he seen me & letting me know he was coming to get me in true single speed style & I thought he was going to succeed as my legs started to tire & was caught by another open rider yo yoing off me rear wheel. With these thoughts in my head & remembering what I had come to do I started riding harder to get a gap from the boys behind & in doing so began to cramp slightly in my overly tight thighs in the cold weather. My only option was to keep taking risks on the downhill & in doing so toward the end of the race I made a few scary mistakes while getting tired nearly hitting the ground while sliding in the loose sandy corners.
I was now lapping over thirty one minutes & was looking forward to the finish. Looking back in the final K's before the finish I did not recognize anyone in masters & maintained my position to roll over the line eight laps down & in 3rd spot in masters & 10th overall, two minutes behind Jason Morgan in 2nd & seven minutes behind the just turned forty, Timothy Morris in 1st.
During the race Jason English had dropped back to 4th after the night he had before & I thought he would keep heading backward but in true champion style he found himself finish 2nd overall behind Shaun Lewis in 1st & ahead of Callum McNamara in 3rd.
Thanks to Graham Seers Cyclery for servicing my bike for the race, I love the 40T on the front, I should have changed it a long time ago. Smooth as baby.
Thanks to #TeamMacDesign for organising accommodation & handing bottles all day long.