These races come up awful quick and after some indifferent weather in Sydney, the last two weeks have been all about recovery and carb loading, ie. I've done not alot of training since the Nationals. As Joe Ward said in his post interview race with Jason McAvoy, Masters is super competitive and this time I think I took the approach to just enjoy this ride (well yeah still compete!) without the repeat of the soul destroying last couple of laps at Orange last round. I mean where is the fun in riding a bike if you are just going to flog yourself every time? It was great having a cohort of TORC riders make the journey to the land of milk and honey for MTBer's, here is a selection of some of our finest. Martine doesn't appear here because she was taking all the pics! Thanks Martine
Brad, Marco, Farkas and Mike. Note Simey has made a sport out of riding his comfy chair and esky
On the start line it was a little cool, the Garmin was reading 1 degC but I wasn't shivering (probably because I had the oncomings of hypothermia!) and once we hit the gas, I was pretty comfortable all day with just a base layer and arm warmers. I was quite amused to see a couple of little streams of runoff water had frozen overnight so the ice and frost on the ground made it feel like something out of Narnia. Riding through pine forest is just beautiful, it's so quiet with the little shards of sunlight that find there way onto the track. There was also a brisk westerly blowing that made for a tough head wind in some sections.
A typical chilly Canberra morning but the promise of a gorgeous day once the sun rises
A couple of hours in, I was sorry to see a rider down at the 4km mark. He had come a cropper on a berm and apparently head planted into a stump. It was a couple of laps later before he was moved out with suspected spinal injuries so we all certainly hope and pray the injuries aren't permanent and he has a good recovery. It made me ponder the fine line we balance as I was trying to ride as fast and as smooth as possible, which means braking as little as possible. It doesn't bear thinking about the damage that one tiny mistake can bring about as you speed downhill past jagged rocks. Nup don't think about it.
The good news is my lap times were much more consistent this round. I started to lose a little time towards the end but I figured it was all pretty manageable and knowing I haven't got the legs to challenge the Radical Lights boys, I'd be happy to fill in 3rd place again on the podium. Little did I know there was a new kid on the block who'd been smashing it up all day. He certainly slipped in under the radar and it wasn't until the end of Lap 7 I found out I still had some work to do. I casually asked Cindy on the way out what was the gap to 4th and she says ONE MINUTE TEN! What? did I hear you right.
OK Euston we have a race on here. I gritted my teeth and pushed a bit harder in lap nine cutting 45 secs off and kept it going for the last lap to beat Chris by 6 minutes. Phew that was close, it felt great to know I had someone hot on my heals and to push me all the way. By that stage I was taking more risks on the descents and I had Ed, Andy and Antony fly past me who gave me a fast wheel to hold if only for a few seconds but it all counts. Checking the results post race, I realised I had been cruising in 4th all day and had only just crept into 3rd place after 7 laps.
This chart shows the gap to Jason McAvoy. Note Chris and Garry fighting out for 1st in the first few laps. Chris blows up on Lap 7 and I sneak into 3rd place
Once again the race had a great vibe and although I've said it before I'll say it again, it is awesome to see so many girls getting out there and racing. The chicks are friendly and very cooperative, they give you track within about 3 seconds of you asking and they tell you which side to pass on. There are definitely a few grumpy blokes who could learn a thing or two about track etiquette from the girls!
Thanks to Chocolate Foot for another stellar event, the Kowalski Brothers and Co. for an awesome track, Turramurra Cyclery for your continued support along with all the TORCIES who turned up and special thanks to Cindy Farkas who took on a cameo role as bottle lady and kept me going to the end. Without your help I'd be feeling pretty rotten about finishing 4th and racking my brain to work out why I didn't ride just that little bit harder!
As a postscript, the whole race prep was very enjoyable, Brad, Mike Blewitt and I shared a lovely bottle of red in the Royal Hotel Queanbeyan followed by the biggest bowl of Penne Carbonara I have ever seen courtesy of the The Central Cafe. Now I know that probably sounds weird, but life is good and I am grateful to the One who provides all the goodness.
What I ate
1 600ml Optimiser
3 600ml Hammer HEED (mixed a little stronger)
I would normally drink twice this amount of fluid and I hardly broke out a sweat all day, yep it was cool.