We were met with pristine conditions at Coondoo Rd for the third round of the Single Track Mind series and after a satisfactory pre-race carb load at Leong's chinese and a good sleep at the Camby Hilton, Brad and I were ready to tackle the dry dusty trails that weave through the Comberton State Forest.
I got an absolute zinger off the start line and again determined not to go too hard too early settled into a steady pace for the first lap and was happy to be in first place for the Solo Masters. Coming through transition into the 2nd lap, I had Garry James hot on my tail and we played tag for a little while as I would get a gap in the tight downhill sections and Garry would catch me up on the little climbs. Knowing how strong Garry is, I didnt want to go playing with fire and let him go on the third climb into transition and concentrated on consolidating 2nd place, always looking back expecting to see the bright orange of Jason McAvoy looming large.
The track as always here is fun to ride and the corners can be treacherous on the sandy mix but I mostly stayed out of trouble aside from the odd handlebar clip passing between narrowly spaced trees. The new section of track was literally a pain in the backside but that's how it is with new sections and it held up alot better than the rutted dust bowl we had to endure at Orange and of course you have to remember that someone put their heart and soul into cutting the new trail, thanks for that trail fairies. I reckon the opportunity to get 300 riders to ride over a new section 5 or more times is a big carrot for trail builders and now we've got a great new segment of trail (well it might need a couple of little berms thrown in!)
On lap 5 a little panic set in when one of my 800ml bottles went flying out of the cage and I was in too much of a hurry to stop. What would happen without 25% of my fluids and a big chunk of energy go AWOL? Luckily there were lots of jettisonned bottles and I decided to stop and pick one up and take a slug. By the time I got back round to the same spot, there it was lying in the middle of the track, amazingly with the lid still on. Phew that was a close one!
On lap 9 the heart rate was still looking good and I tagged a ride up the main fireroad with a much bigger stronger rider...whoa 88% and I am in the draft??? See you later buddy and thanks for the tow. Next lap it was Phil Welch who came charging through the ZigZags and flashed past me on the way into the last sniggle. He looked and was riding like a man possessed so I took the safe option and let him go. I figured if he can keep that pace going I cant match him and if I can save some energy he might blow up towards the finish. Still 4 laps (maybe 5 to go). The 5 hour mark in a 7 hour race is the hump for me. Just 4 little laps to go you say to yourself, but the body talks back and says that's easy for you to say brain. This is starting to hurt! Pedal damn it and shut up legs!!! Lap 12 and Tupac, Andy and Ed all eased past with time for a brief chat and a word of encouragement. Andy said Jase was a few minutes back so that took some pressure off. Nice that team mates can still pass on a little intel to the competition.
One last pit stop to grab some carbs and I was off and soon on my 2nd last lap and feeling great when some weird things started happening on the track. First a really fast aggressive rider in t-shirt and baggies came barrelling down the track. I got out of his way as he shoved past me without so much as a track please, but we were both bearing down on a much slower rider. The legend overcooked it on the corner and went down in a squealing heap of dust, as I just managed to float over his back wheel with him and the bike lying prostrate across the track and leaving me nowhere to go and no time to stop. sure enough he reappeared in a minute or so and clearly hadn't learnt anything from him little off. Muppett!
But the big axe fell at the top of the double track leading into Hot as Hell. I came up behind two very slow guys weaving all over the track. I called rider back and saw a big gap on the right so called "on your right". As I started to pass he moved straight over toward me and chopped my front wheel, sending me careening of into the scrub. When I tried to start pedalling again it wasn't happening so I pulled over to find the chain completely mashed. The death toll goes down as one chain breaker, many chain links, a bent mech and more than 15 minutes of race time. Not a bad bit of bush mechanics to remove and reinsert the same pin to rejoin the chain. Huge thanks to Kylie and the guy who pulled over with his sturdy chainbreaker (my topeak one broke!) and stayed until the job was done. My only regret is I didn't ask his name and I couldn't track him down at the finish, but mate I couldn't have finished without your help, so thanks! Even Jase slowed down to see if there was anything he could do to help as he slipped into 3rd place. A true gentleman.
I rejoined the race who know's where and fought back to 4th place to salvage some series points, just pipping Matt at the post who came in 5th. Here is the gaps between the top 5 for each lap. It would have been a great battle with Phil at the end if not for my misadventure but that's racing.
Overall I was stoked with my race and now looking forward to the next round to try and pull back Phil and Jase. Whilst Jase and Garry probably have 1st and 2nd for the series sewn up, Phil and I will be battling for the last spot on the podium. thanks to everyone involved especially SCUM for a great track, sponsors SRAM and organisers Choc Foot, and Turramurra Cyclery for your continued awesome support and getting my rig tuned again and ready to race another day
What I ate
2 x 800mL HEED (3 scoops)
1 x 800mL HEED (2 scoops)
1 x 600mL Opti
1 TORC bar (Apple and Raspberry, dry but go down alright)
As the temperatures start to rise the fluids will too! Probably add another 800mL to this all mixed on 2 scoops for the next rounds