Racing has been a bit sparse this year, that’s just how it goes sometimes, so I was feeling like a veritable newbie the night before the Kowalski Classic, trying to remember all the little things required to get ready for a race of this type. 100 k’ers aren’t normally my strong suit, the last one I did being the 2012 Husky100 albeit with promising signs.
Sunday morning revealed a gorgeous crisp Canberra morning with lots of sunshine and I felt ready on the start line. Wave 2 was the who’s who of Masters racing, and with the Fenz off in Wave 1, it would be a race for 2 and 3 places. The start was pretty sedate and the bunch soon strung out as we headed up Seismic climb. You know if it is going to be a good day or an ordinary day pretty much at this point and as I held the wheel of some strong guys, I knew it would be a good day for me.
The course was simply awesome, the network of trails through Kowen and Sparrow and a beautiful thing, there is just so much flow to be had. The rain through the week had delivered a few boggy sections, but overall the course would best be described as tacky with a bit of drift thrown in and the Giant Anthem was riding beautifully. I had heard some of the locals would be putting on their wet weather rubber, but I stuck with the Rubena’s which have been my staple now for 12 months or more and they didn’t let me down.
Grantley Butterfield was riding the best I’ve seen him for a long while and he jumped at the chance to bridge to the lead group in Wave 2. Riders such as Garry James and Trent Moore were present so it’s always a good feeling to be counted amongst these guys. Grantley just kept powering on all day, and Garry and I rode together for what must have been around 40km which was great. The thing about the course was that there was plenty of time for recovery in the flowing single track. The one big climb at Elevator wasn’t too long and at the end of the 50km loop I was still feeling fresh.
A quick bottle change and it was into Sparrow (eventually!), Garry and I were a bit worried for a while thinking we might have taken a wrong turn but eventually reached the turn into Sparrow (phew!).
With just 5 km to go, Garry put the hammer down and I was happy with my ride so I sat up and chugged into the finish to find I’d gotten third place. A little while later it looked like I’d been pipped to 4th by 30 seconds, oh well, someone has to come 4th. If only I’d stayed with Garry at the end…..and then when I checked results from home I was back into 3rd!
My son Tom was also racing his first 50km endure and whilst he was a little disappointed with his ride still finished mid field in the Juniors with a time of 3:20. Not bad for his first race! Well don’t matey.
We packed up as the weather closed in and made a dash back to Nowra to our favourite family holiday destination in Jervis Bay.
Thanks to Alan Voight and all the Kowalski crew for an awesome event. It was by far the best
And as always thanks to my LBS Turramurra Cyclery and my wife and family for your support. 3 weeks to WEMBO. Bring it!