Monday 24th April - MTB Race Day
Met some Auckland mates who I had trained with a few times over the months
who were starting at 8am. Another part of my preparation included several trips
up to get intimate with the course.
Chris and Alicja arrived to support Rob and myself so we put the jug on and
started to talk Chris over to the dark side?
Time to warm up there was a lot of activity with races having already
started spectators looking for good viewing points and the tannoy system making
announcements and commentating. Finally it was my turn, the younger category
(60-64) were called forward seeded and gridded then my category. My number was
701 and I anticipated being gridded on the front line but no several riders
were called by name and eventually the rest of us could come forward. The
starter threw in a wobbler saying both cats were starting together so I was
right at the back and a little annoyed!
We were off and I immediately noticed two from my category starting fast
and working through the younger ones. These were the ones to mark I latched on
and before the top of the climb one rider dropped off but the leader was
pushing hard. I sat on his wheel whilst we passed riders and soon we were into
the single track forest, the pace was comfortable and I planned to sit for the
first lap and see how he fared on the main climb. About two thirds around he
made a slight mistake and had to put a foot down I had to pass or stop so
pressed on and put in a little kick to see how he reacted, by the top of the
climb I could not see him so I pressed on and by the end of the lap my key
supporters, spotters and timekeepers (Lynda and Holly) said I had taken 35
seconds out of him.
Coming through the start/finish area I had caught the commentator off guard
and he had double take before calling my name! I pressed on hitting the hill
hard and by the end of the second lap was 2 minutes up. Starting the last lap I
caught the Aussie I ridden with the previous day I asked him his position he
said he was fourth I told him to latch on and work together we might get him a
medal? We caught and passed the rider in third but I started to drop him again,
I pressed on and caught the second placed rider (another Aussie) he panicked a
bit and I calmed him down and told him to ride smooth.
We rode together and on the tight single track forested ridge and descent
to the finish he passed a back marker who slowed me until I could get past. I
had passed all but two of the younger category and was one and half minutes
behind that category winner. I would have liked a level start with him?
I had won and the race was uneventful, the hammy was okay and waiting
around for the medal ceremony I was asked by lots of people who I was and where
had I come from. The lad who was second was local from Helensville and clearly
a pre-race favourite having been seeded first at the start. I had beaten him by
over three minutes and third place by ten.
On the podium we all received our medals and a unique cap with Gold, Silver
and Bronze Medalist printed on it.
The event was well organised, marshalled and supported and a special thanks
to all the riders who allowed passing without difficulty or complaint.
Saturday 29th April up to Auckland again for the Road Race, set up camp at
the Bruce Pulman Park. It rained heavily all night and the wind was howling. I
decided not to recce' the route having previously ridden most of it before the
changes were made!