The last day of March dawned drizzly and I was tired and grumpy from not much sleep. I must do something about relaxing more prior to races! It was however pleasing to have about 10 O.C.C. athletes along for a warm up ride up to the cup (in the drizzle). I found the prospect of more slippery descents daunting after last weekend’s mishap but started the race with a positive frame of mind (I’ve performed well before tired and ‘under the frog’ (Hungarian expression)).
Despite indicating to all my athletes to line up well before the start to get a good position on the north side of Elgin Street, I did completely the opposite and paid for it by crossing the start line 30seconds down on the leaders. Colombo Street was then a mad rush to get to the front, which I achieved with about a kilometre before the bottom of Dyers. Still this didn’t help my condition as I felt a bit stuffed the whole way through the race.
I was therefore stoked to be feeling the strongest once we hit the summit road after hilltop. I had wondered how I was going to fare up hilltop as I knew my legs were dead after not recovering from hard training on the Thursday before. Definitely need to work on making pre-race day more relaxing! I combated this tiredness with good mental strategies – I focussed on getting the second King of the Mountain sprint (I won the first). Thereafter I knew I could win if I just held on and used my downhilling to catch me up.
By the time we started climbing out of Pigeon Bay Road saddle I noticed everyone was a little tired from the constant aggressiveness of the race, so I knew I was within a good shot of doing well. I also know this road well enough to know when to save yourself and when to attack, i.e. don’t do anything before Duvauchelles! Even after this crazy steep climb there are plenty of opportunities to break yourself. Don’t underestimate this road – it is a good example of a course not your competitors that is the making of the race!
I got away solo around Le Bons Bay until the top of Long Bay road where team mate Sam Horgan and Benchmark rider Hamish Scheurs were within 5 seconds. I gunned the downhill and put 20 seconds into Sam (Hamish further back). I had a quick glance back at the bottom of Long Bay Road and continued to bolt down Old Coach Road into Akaroa. To my undoing….
My much publicised crash occurred at the T intersection where the holiday park is. I went into too fast, couldn’t make it round so ended up riding off the road straight through a ditch into some thick bushes. I immediately tried to get back onto the road only to find a thick wall of foliage stopping me. I found a hole, jumped back on my bike (as Sam was passing me) and raced down to the finish, incredulous that this victory was snatched away from me, BY MYSELF not riding as a winner (someone who stays on their bike!).
Moving on, I can look at the race before my crash as being successful; the day as a success for Subway and for my business; and all the more determined to win next year!