Up early on race day we headed out to Mt Joyce where we were greeted by a beautiful dam build in 2011 that was at 100% capacity & sighted the mountain in the background that we would be riding up two times per lap. My first thoughts were "I know this is going to be tough but I can do this" the mountain looked around the same size as a mountain I have to train on near home (North Brother Mountain).
The day was gong to be hot, we already had the air con on in the car at 7am & the heat hit you as you got out of the car to prepare for racing. i knew I had to drink lots of electrolyte to stay hydrated during the race & needed to carry two bottles per lap in the three lap race (one in the drink holder on the bike & the other in my jersey pocket) I did not want to carry a hydration pack as I felt the extra weight & heat on my back would be a disadvantage in such a race.
The Elite Men & Women started before us age group riders & there was a call over the microphone stating that they were on the first climb as we assembled at the start line. With a count down we were racing as we rode for positions on the tar start into the fist short section of grassy single track before heading up a short but steep tar climb before turning into the first bit of challenging single track. I didn't get a great start & found myself stuck behind a large group of slower paced riders not knowing how far ahead the leaders were. Around 40 minutes had passed before i found myself on the second climb up an open fire road where I was able to gain a few places before heading back down the technical single trail where you had to be on the ball or you would find yourself launching off a large drop or skidding down a slippery down slope.
As I exited back on the Tar toward the end of the first lap you could feel the heat coming buck up at you making it nearly unbearable to ride while looking across at the water beside you in the dam. I grabbed some food & changed over my water bottles before heading out on lap two feeling OK as I was slowly picking up a few places in the field once I got back into the single track climb. Looking ahead I could see the green & gold jersey rider from last year & thought maybe I'm not in a bad position at all. but I was starting to tire fast with the heat & amount of climbing I was pushing myself on. Out on the fire road climb for the second time I was passed by the riders I had just gone around on the single trail climb & was fading fast. I had a double carbo Gel & large drink trying to regain my energy before heading up the steepest part of the climb where we all were off & pushing our bikes until the climb got to a more suitable angle to ride before dropping back down the technical single track once again "from here you could see nearly to the Gold Coast in the distance & had a great view of the Dam where on the other side was the event start/finish area" descending down this single track I tried to make up some time taking advantage of the cooler descent but it seemed I was pushing a bit to hard as the front tyre lost grip on a berm sending me sliding along the trail. Not long after I found myself loosing concentration on a large rock drop & going over the handlebars winding myself in the process before making the same mistake once again only 50m down the trail "it had been a long time since I had fallen of the bike in a race & the heat was getting to me".
Going through the feed zone Cindy told me I was in 12th spot at the end of the first lap & now had dropped back to around 18th. My reply was I hope they slow down because I have nothing left I am stuffed. Heading out on the last lap I got stuck into the Carbo Gel again bringing back a little bit of energy as the track seemed very quiet from all the riders already now spread out all over the mountain. In the distance you could here a rumble of thunder & looking over that direction you could see the dark clouds moving in now riding lonely up the mountain for the last time. At the top of the fire road climb before heading back down the single track toward the finish I seen a few riders stopped at the drink station, so I decided to fill my empty drink bottle tipping over my head as a refreshing cool down. The guy beside me said he was pulling out of the race & heading straight back to the finish, then asked me how I feel? my reply was, I just wish it would rain! he then replied, careful what you wish for lol.
Now looking across toward the coast I could see the heavy rain heading our way fast from the South & the wind was starting to intensify blowing branches down from the nearby trees. Not long after a few heavy drops of rain started to fall, then before I knew it I was in the middle of a storm with torents of water over a foot deep in spots running down the trail as if they were small creeks (I Guess the guy at the top I spoke with was a local) but to be honest, as slippery & wet as it was I felt like I was now riding much faster in the cooler weather through to the finish line where I finished in 16th spot after getting around a few riders & one guy pulling out that I was talking to but still having his time counted rolling over the finish.
I would like to thank Cindy for helping out in the feed zone & www.enrichedhealth.com.au
Nothing felt better than the swim in the Dam after the ride & returning back to the resort for a relaxing spa before heading out for a steak & Veg dinner enjoying the rest of our stay on the Gold Coast.
Lesson from this race is train in the heat if your going to be racing in the heat & I need to be doing more hill training if I want to be stronger on the hills.