I went into yesterday’s race with no desire to “race”. Just have a good ride. I’d heard the last half of the 90km was going to hurt. But I didn’t expect it would be as hard as it was.
For the first 6km on flat dirt road I kept near the front and out of trouble. Mass starts always make things interesting with a few hundred of varying abilities chopping lines. Once the road headed up I jumped off the bus and waved bye bye setting my own pace.
After the first feed zone there was some really nice single track as we came back down a ridge and then a few km’s on the flat before the second feed zone. Then more easy single track before hell arrived. Up until the 70km point I was feeling pretty good. After another long dirt road climb we dropped down a great single track descent to the bottom of the valley. But then it went straight up the other side. I’m sure someone would say the track was following the contour line but it sure wasn’t a level contour. This is where the brain turned off. I’m sure normally it would be hard but doable riding but now the brain wasn’t willing and the legs weren’t able. It took an hour to do 7km.
By feed zone four I was really empty. Downing a bottle of Endura with a mini muffin and banana chaser I was good to go. Down a nasty, rocky and powdery descent that the 45km riders had to do and more hiking track until the last feed zone. Mostly fire road from here with a few decent pinch climbs and lots of water bars on the descents. Then to finish off a bit of the old Avoca national course from 98/99. See retro video here http://www.bighillevents.com.au/Avoca/Video.html. I’m somewhere at the back of the elite men’s start.
Crossing the line I was totally spent and I hadn’t even been riding hard but it was nice to get 10th in Masters.