Massively looking forward to doing this race as the past 2 years I have sat on sidelines supporting Al with a cold, was shattered when I woke up on Friday with a cold…how can I get sick the exact same weekend EVERY year for 3 years straight!!! Got packed Friday night and hoped I would be right by the morning, up at 530 and went for a ride around the block to see if I could breathe and pedal my bike, not too bad, I’d already entered and there was some serious catching up with cool peoples I hadn’t seen for ages so I figured I’d go and catch up with them and ride a few laps.
White line fever kicked in as soon as the bell went, I went pretty hard from the start and hoped I could put a gap into the other girls then cruise round. No such luck, Peri Gray was breathing down my neck the entire time! Al did an awesome job as support handing me gels, bottles and giving me time checks. My lead ranged from 30 seconds to 1 min 30 and everytime a person came up behind me I expected it to be Peri and breathed a sigh of relief when it wasn’t! Not as stressful as the mens, with only 1 sec seperating 1-3rd for the first 4 hours! Intense!! Having Peri so close, combine with a very cornery trail meant there was no time to relax, the slightest slip in concentration would result in a washed out wheel or tree hit.
First lap a guy asked if he could get around me, I picked a spot I thought would be safe, yep go for it mate, no such luck, he washed out, bringing me down with him. My front wheel had his pedal stuck in the spokes and his back wheel had my pedal stuck in his spokes. Not ideal, he panicked and was trying forcefully to remove them, I told him to calm down and do it gently, then a group of 6 riders came flying round the corner, the first two hit a bike each and flew over the bars. I am claiming 50% of it being my fault, sorry guys!! Everyone was ok and we were all up and riding but confidence a bit shaky for the next while.
I was loving riding up Trig Point, a rocky climb then down the A line and through some more jarring rocky sections. About 3 hours in I was starting to hurt and tried to take it down a notch, ride smooth and not make any mistakes. I was having a blast on some of the flowy, sweepy, tacky downhill sections. Rode with Fav for abit, and John, and found myself changing positions with the same 3-4 guys the whole time.
I came through on my last lap and Al said “Go as hard as you can on the climbs,” looking abit more panicked than he had at any other time in the race. Oh dear, she must be closing in, I gave it everything I had on the climbs, out of the saddle and in the big dog, I paid for this in the second half of the lap when my quads started cramping real bad. I was yelling out in pain trying to ride through it, too scared to slow down but knowing slowing down would be the only way to stop the cramps. I started to talk to myself out loud, Its ok, you’re nearly there, keep going, freakin out some riders going by! Stacked it at the bottom of the A line, think I had my butt so far off the back I bounced off the wheel and the seat ended up smacking into my stomach. I panicked, jumped on and went down the next rocky sections not clipped in flalling around like a headless chook. I was cooked!! I was making silly decisions and panicking, so I calmed myself down, took a moment to breathe and clipped in. Well done to Peri and all other competitors, in the end I came through with 8 laps, about 100k and 4 minutes up on 2nd.
It was an extremely fun race, the trails were ridiculously rad!! A massive thank you to Gippsland MTB for putting in a cracking event!! Thanks Hammer Nutrition, I alternated between Sustained Energy and half a fizz tablet in one bottle, and a HEED bottle and then had gels for the entire time and they worked a treat!! Thanks to Ay-Up Lights, HSR Seeds and a big thanks to Liv for all the support, the XTC was perfect!!