Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy New Year

Having heard about how much fun racing in a pair can be, I thought this would be a nice relaxed way to ease back into the racing scene for 2013. Mistake number 1.
I also thought we could combine it into a bit of a road trip come MTB tour for the family, taking in the delights of Canberra one day and the legendary Snake Trail in Batemans Bay the next day. Mistake number 2.

Mistake number 1: Racing is never relaxed, especially when you roll into one of the favourite playgrounds of riders with a postcode starting with 26. Added to that, I must have had illusions of grandeur when I invited Peter "The Flying Fluro" Selkrig as my partner. I knew he was strong after watching him set trails on fire last year at a couple of 8 hours so I was pretty excited when he enthusiastically accepted. What I will never forget is the utter feeling of desperation knowing Pete was on my wheel virtually cruising (and giving me a nice little shove when I needed it) while I spent 150 mins in the box AND knowing that at any moment, arch rivals Garry and Jase would be mowing us down! Off the start line, I got the hole shot and felt great powering on the wheel of the fast guys. I managed to hold a wheel all the way up to the first single track with Pete right next to me and seemingly noone else with earshot. A few k's down the track we heard that one of the On-The-Go boys had had a big fall and he was on a Cannondale. That could only mean Garry or Jase, so while the pressure might have momentarily lapsed, Pete and I both knew to win our category we'd need to go flat out to the finish. Pretty soon Pete was leaving me for dust on the little inclines so we swapped around the order and I set the pace. By the middle of the second lap, I was starting the hack and gasp like an old horse who's be flogged too hard, so I focussed on just keeping it smooth and enjoying the sweet single track of Kowen. With around 8 k's to go we heard the monster coming, it was Garry haunting us through the pine trees so we stepped on the gas a little and gapped a team we'd been trading places with all day. Garry was chasing hard and got us in the end; fortunately for us Jase was nowhere to be seen and we finished together to take 1st place in the Masters. As a postscript, Jase had come down hard after touching a wheel in the mad dash off the line and took ALOT of bark off. He ended up still finishing the race just a few minutes behind us and then smartly got himself to hospital for some stitches and xrays (thankfully nothing broken). All I can say is KUDOS! You are one tough cookie JMac!

Mistake number 2: Well to call it a mistake is a strong word, the family had a great weekend, with wife Sarah and the boys all getting into the riding. Tom is getting faster and joined me for an extra 25km along Dog Trap and Ridge roads from Mogo back to BB which was great. And even though I got us a little lost, he more than kept up with me and finished strong with a little time trial back to the beach. It just takes an extraordinary effort to prep, clean, pack, unpack four bikes with four sets of riding gear, calculating hydration for said riders, ensuring the ride is neither too long no too short and keeping everyone happy inevitably means you have to make some sacrifices here and there. It ended up pretty good, with a magic moment when Sarah arrived at the bottom of the Snake Trail, her first word was "WOW!".

Having just cleaned and serviced 4 bikes and thinking about the amazing weekend we just had really does bring home what an awesome sport cycling is, and after reading some wise commentary today I realised that what we do and why we do it has virtually nothing to do with what some self important overpaid used-to-be rider feels he needs to admit on a talk show after years of denial so he can make peace with the world. pfft get real.

Keep riding

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