|This must be first lap because I am so clean.|
My wife, Ali and friends were racing in various teams, and we went out on Saturday afternoon to get a good spot in transition. Ali went out for a test ride and found that the track was bone dry other than a few puddles. Excellent news. I knew it rained over night, but still expected the track to be OK and stuck with my Gary Fisher Superfly SS.
At race start, I lined up 15 or so riders back. There was only about 30m or so of wide trail before a massive bottle neck as it went to single trail. I managed to merge in with fellow single speeders Nick and Peter, but I knew "Matt Dog" was ahead somewhere. The first part of the lap was the same as the 6hr last year, and while it was a bit wet, it was OK until the first climb. It was at this point I realised my rear tyre choice(Maxxis Crossmark) was not the best and combined with my tallish gearing resulted in wheel spin.
It started to rain and some parts of the track became very tacky. The new single track was particularly so with the top layer coming up and turning tyres in to slicks. Steering was incredibly unpredictable and I drifted off into the trees a couple of times.
At some point Peter caught me back up on the first mud climb as I walked and he rode. He got away from me for a while, but I pushed to catch up and followed him until he got a puncture. With my bike sliding all over the place, I managed to break the rail on my seat when I went in to a G-Out awkwardly. It didn't really slow me down too much, but was thankful that this happened on the lap that the single track was closed, and when I got back to transition I changed to my On-One Inbred Ti. Which cost a few minutes changing over race number etc. Mostly it turned out to be a good thing because I had lower gearing and Maxxis Ignitor rear and was able to ride parts of the track I could not previously. The mud clearance on the front was not great though, and I had to stop on some laps to scrap mud away.
As the track dried it became a lot faster and more fun, and I realised with a lap to go that I was going to be close to squeezing in an extra lap and pushed hard. By my clock(which I started on the gun), I crossed the line with just over 10s to spare(results have me in with 20s to spare) and expected to head out for 1 more lap, but was told the course was closed. I was bummed to say the least, as I felt that I was starting to feel quite strong punching out a sub 28min final lap.
In the end I managed 8 laps, 62k and 2nd in SS and 10th solo(if I read the results correctly). Congrats to Matt and Nick, tough luck to Peter(punctures suck). I always wish these races were a bit longer. I just can't seem to pull these short races together and seem to be coming on strong as the race ends. Well, maybe next time. Good result nonetheless, and had fun, catching up with heaps of riders and it was not nearly as lonely a race as LunarC.
Thanks to helpers, Darien, Caeli, Flynn, Ben, Lee, Andi and Ali. Also props to Shannon Duggan and his daughter who rode for 2.5 hours on a tandem bike, you guys looked like you were working hard, but having fun.
View full results here
Picture credits go to Alan Uthmann(heaps of great shots here), Imagewerks, Tailwind and Riley Taylor