Here is what went down in Tipee town
The first event drew in 188 riders including solo & teams to ride the 10.5 km loop of trail network. Each lap had 125 vm elevation that undulated within the twists & turns. A track to test how my new set of Mitas tyres were going to perform.
I was surprised that I managed to stay with the lead group at the start up the fire road into the first section of single track. I knew from there that I was maybe in for a good day.
Sitting behind Garry James I was comfortable for the first half a lap. Garry then went around a rider leaving me behind waiting to pass. We popped out onto a fire road & I was overtaken by three riders that slowed down again in the next singletrack letting Garry get further away out of sight. Ass the race went on I was gradually regaining time on Garry who I knew was sitting in 4th overall.
It was entertaining listening to the sledging by Dave Harris each lap as he waited for his team mate to swap over in transition bringing a smile to my face & keeping my mind off the heavy breathing. And position updates further through the feed zone were a wish come true from Grant Webster who had pulled out from the race earlier unfortunately due to a damaged frame. Help on position updates is something I only normally get if I have help in the feed area that have nothing better to do.
4 hour into the 6 hour race & a slow leak from the bead in my rear tyre needed some air loosing a minute or two closely followed by my rear shock somehow becoming stuck in the down position on & off for the rest of the race slowing my lap times down slightly making it hard to try & catch those in front.
But another update from Grant said that Max Richardson that was sitting in first place overall in the solo riders for most of the race was now slowing down to the point that maybe I would catch him by the end & if no body caught up from behind & that would get me into 3rd place overall. Sure enough at the 5 hour mark I seen Max up ahead & was surprised at how easy he let me pass. I pushed on chasing the guys in front with new intel that Garry was now in first place as Jason Pearce was now the next one starting to struggle toward the end.
Pushing on & being cheered on by the awesome supporting local crowd in spots around the track I was still feeling great & thinking maybe I could get into 2nd before the end.
I had been racing some shorter XCO races recently as part of my training to get some speed back into my legs after all the long rides I had been doing & in those races I had replaced electrolytes with carbohydrates in my drink bottles giving my that little extra kick needed in the faster races. I was trying this same method in the 6 hours of racing for the first time but on the last lap started to cramp do to not having enough electrolytes. Lucky all this happened on the last lap leaving me in 3rd spot overall to the finish with first & second also masters category riders finishing 1st & 2nd solo overall.
Thanks to all the riders out on track for sharing the track & the brief conversations.
Thanks also to all the support along the trails that kept my spirits high all day with a special thanks to Grant Webster for letting me know as solo rider where I sat in the field of things even though he let the cat out of the bag to Garry that I was gaining on him LOL.
See you all next year at the Hard Rock 6 hour !!!