a fine ballance
I had raced Tamworth once in the Dusk till Dawn 12 hour over 12 months ago & knew what I was in for. Although the climbing profile looked OK on paper, what you don't see is the rocks & gradient of the hills & I was looking forward to seeing if I could use this to my advantage over the five hours of racing.
My youngest son of four children, six year old Kaiden, my wife Cindy & myself traveled over to Tamworth the day before the race with the intention of Cindy to run at Tamworth in the for ever growing popularity of Park Run 8 am the morning before the MTB race was to start, 12 pm Saturday. But unfortunately she came down with a cold and didn't feel well enough to run so that prompted for a bit more of a sleep in before heading out to the track to set up the series sponsors G8 tent for the days racing.
It's nearly local
Knowing the normal fifteen second warning at races where the start can happen anytime between fifteen & zero, I was clipped in & ready for the start. As I took off from the start line Jason English was half a bike length in front of me stumbling to clip in to his pedal & with nowhere to move to avoid running into him & knocking him off the bike I managed to clip his rear wheel taking me out & sending me to the ground in record time for any race I have been in as I hear the crowd at the start line raw "VIDEO HERE"
I got up as fast as I could with a smile on my face at what had just gone down, but now I was way back in the field & just had to take it as it come with the slower riders now in front of me in the narrow rocky single track. In the clearings I managed to call track & get past a lot of the riders before something happened that I thought was going to end my race for the day half way through the first lap. I was travelling at high speed through some fast corners when all of a sudden a large boom came from my rear tyre sending me off the side of the track just short of hitting some trees. grabbing my bike & looking at the tyre expecting to see a big split in the rubber I seen that the tubeless tyre had blown totally off the rim.
I fitted the tyre on the rim the day before & stupid me forgot to check if the tyre bead was seated on the rim properly. So obviously the tyre was not seated properly & as I took a fast corner it came totally off the rim. With at little bit of sealant left in the tyre I had a go at inflating & resealing the tyre but with a tap on my CO2 regulator I could not get the air in quick enough for the tyre to reseal the first time, so I grabbed another CO2 & while holding the inflation tool onto the rim valve with the tap wide open I screwed the CO2 canister quickly into the tool giving the tyre a fast enough burst of air to seal & enough to ride another few km back to complete my first lap where Jason Moxham from #TeamMacDesign was quick to use there floor pump & get the tyre back up to pressure.
By the end of the second lap I was updated that I was five minutes behind & what I thought was third place & with some rough maths I worked out that if I rode that little bit harder I may just be able to catch up by the end of the five hours. With my extra motivation I pushed on lap after lap slowly gaining on what I still thought was third place until I heard Dave Harris, the chief commissaries for the race call out positions over the mike & mentioned that I was in third place with fourth place sitting not far behind, & with this new information I had the extra motivation to keep pushing for the next position in the field.
At this point in the race I was still feeling great & with another update told I was only three minutes behind what I once thought was 3rd & it was actually 2nd that I was chasing & they seemed to be slowing down.
By the end of the sixth lap I was lapped by the overall solo leaders Andrew Lloyd closely followed by Jason English & knowing that Jason normally passes the lead Masters riders toward the end of a 5 hour race over a 10 km loop I took advantage of tacking on the back using there pace to help me gain on Masters riders up in front. I managed to hold on for a lap & got my fastest lap time averaging 19.2 kmh & before to long I caught up to David Speering who was struggling with fatigue but with a bit of encouragement I tried to get him to work with me to chase down Jason Morgan who was leading the race knowing that he was also slowing down, but after a short chat it was evident that he was not up to the task.
I passed & proceeded to chase down Morg's who was around 2 minutes in front & by mid lap on lap eight I caught sight of him on a switch back climb & it was just enough to give me the inventive to chase him down finding myself pushing a harder gear on the climbs to get that little extra speed I needed. "If the single speed riders can do it then I can wright". Before to long I was on Morgans wheel & still feeling great & with a quick chat he was telling me that he was cramping & finding it tough on the steep hilly course.
I sat behind for a while having a chat but the race had to go on, so on that note I rode around on the next climb & slowly increased the pace to see if he would respond. But with nothing left in his legs from cramping he quickly dropped off the back. Fading away behind I was able to slow the pace down slightly now know that the job was done & I had gotten into first place in a race that I thought was over on the first lap & I never thought I would ever a see the podium riders at all.
The overall winners were Jason English 1st, Andrew Lloyd 2nd & Michal Kafka 3rd & in the females Liz Smith 1st ahead of the near local Holly Harris 2nd & Eliza Kwan 3rd.
nothing beats that winning feeling
I have been working on building strength with #EnrichedHealthCare in Port Macquarie & the results are now starting to show.
A huge thanks to Dave from #SeersCyclery in Port Macquarie also for replacing my rear Shimano XT brakes late the day before leaving for Tamworth after finding a problem inside the leaver causing the brakes to become stuck on.
Thanks Cindy & Kaiden for coming along to the race & supporting me as well as handing bottles & food during the race & giving those important position information.
And most of all I would like to say thank you to the locals including Tamworth MTB Club that made the day go so smoothly. There was great entertainment on both sides of the MTB park that kept me feeling great all day long & not to mention all the more familiar faces that I see regularly in the local GNaTPACK MTB Series as well as other larger races around northern NSW.