In the movie, a young boy under state care in post WWII England is promised Oranges for breakfast, lot's of sunshine and a horse to ride to school when he is deported to Australia under questionable pretences. What eventuates bears little resemblance to the promise and is a life under constant threat from predators, hard work involving big rocks and not much food. The first round of the Single Track Mind Series for 2012 reminded me a little of this movie. Now before you think "Is this guy having a whinge?" it really wasn't all that bad. In fact it couldn't have been much better and just 5 days after the event I am hungry and keen for the next round, but as I made my way home post race it struck me how conditions could not have been much better for me and yet I went away feeling somehow like I had underperformed and something had gone terribly wrong.
I was fresh and fit, I had a great lead up week of light training, good pre-race dinner, slept like a baby and felt relaxed and ready on the start line. My competitors having raced 100km the day before were likely to be feeling a little 2nd hand, I had a great support crew, the track was pretty much perfect for the 7 hour epic that laid before me and Chocolate Foot as always were running the event to perfection.
As the gun went and I took off at what I thought was a sustainable pace and entered the single track on the back of the lead pack. The laps then flew by, the carbs were going in and the lap times looked good. Even better I knew I was in the lead of the Solo Masters and the few glimpses I caught of Garry and Jason were starting to get fewer and fewer. I was actually putting time into my heroes and I am ashamed to admit a bit of complacency came perching on the handlebars.
At the three hour mark I figured I had a nice little buffer and took a short breather in transition, and from there things started to slide.
I was getting hot, I had too many layers on, but I also felt the need to pee. Do I ride on hoping to sweat a little more and maintain the current fluid intake? Do I stop to pee or wait to see if it goes away? I had the wrong glasses, I had the wrong gloves and was developing some good blisters on my hands, my back and butt started to complain and before long I began to recall just how hard a 7 hour solo is. My next stop at transition and I was ceremoniously dumped to third place. As Garry and Jason sped past I was left thinking is it over yet and what do I need to do to rejuvenate the legs that till now had been running like a sewing machine, but suddenly felt like two lumps of concrete.
The rest of the day was just a slog fest and all I could do was hang on to the glimmer of hope that I could hold third, as two of the best riders I've ever met continued to build up a 20 min gap by the close of play. I did finally stop to pee, only to find I shouldn't have worried. I did stop again to strip off a layer and change gloves and I stopped even one more time to drop tyre pressure.
So what am I to take away from this race?
? Even the best laid plans can come to grief? Nah that's not it
? Just try hard next time and pace myself better? Nah that's not it.
? Forget the race, appreciate what a gift it was to ride amongst such great people, on a ripper track, on a perfect Autumn day and give thanks to the orchestrator of the universe who makes all things possible. Yep I think that's better
Congrats to all the TORC crew, to Garry Millburn making his comeback in emphatic style, Simey, Greg and Lopper for just being there, to Brad Tillack who in his first solo effort smashed out 12 laps, had a few stacks, broke his chain and will be back to do it again, you sir are a gentleman and finally to Penny for being such an awesome support crew and devoting your day to helping me race. Thanks to CWORBC for an awesome track. And what happened to the little boy in the movie? Well I wont spoil the ending of the movie, but I did manage to hold third place and podium which I would have given my right arm for a couple of years ago so maybe that gives you a clue :)