To start with you can just throw a few things together and head out to race. It isn't like the days of preparation for a 24 hour race and I found myself standing around before we left wondering what I had forgotten! Three water bottles, check. Spare tube, check. Helmet, gloves, lights (the race didn't start till 6:15pm), check. That can't be all I need, is it all I need? Crikey! This is easy!
The car was still chokkas though. Alison and the boys were coming with me and so there we had the boys bikes in the car, chairs, an esky with some snacks, aargh! It was easy. I love having them out with me though. There is nothing like the cheers your kids can give you. It got even better as the sun went down because they had glow sticks and so I was getting a light show each time I crossed the start finish line. Good stuff.
Anyway, so the race. I raced B grade which was 4 laps. My 2 goals for the day were to go as hard as I could for the whole 4 laps and treat the race as a maximum effort session and to not get lapped! I was seriously worried about going into B grade as I am not that fast or strong at present. Usually it takes me the best part of 10k's to warm up and this race was only about 12k long. I lined up and waited while the A grade race was started, they were let go first to make sure there would be less traffic for them up front and to hopefully allow the B grade race to have a little less competition for track space. It worked pretty well n the whole and really the only problem was the first lap as is the case in every race I have ever done. The hooter went and we were off. There was a sprint into the first corner and really I should have gone harder there. There were few passing opportunities on the course and my first lap was really slow and when I got clear course my times reflected that. I slogged around in 13 minutes for 3k in amongst a big bunch of much slower riders. As I crossed the start/finish line though there is a short uphill where the track opens up and when I hit that I gassed it. I got 4 riders in that one move and managed to put my heart rate through the roof. The next section was a flowing descent through some switchbacks and into a slight rise to another short descent. Now this is racing and I would never ride like this otherwise but I sat so close to the rider in front of me I could hear him breathing. The pressure payed off and he binned it in a corner trying to stay ahead of me before the second of the passing chances in the back half of the course. It's only a tiny bit of fire trail again on a rise but I was in a prime position if I could gun it and get another two riders. I managed to get one of them.
I settled into a group of riders about the same pace as me for the next lap. I managed to keep connected and just stay smooth and get some breath back. It was a much quicker lap than my first one but took less out of me because I could keep a steady effort on rather than having to sprint every chance I got to make up places. The middle of the lap saw my best passing move though. I smacked it through a grassy section and out sprinted two guys and pulled a ballsy move over a drop off to beat a third rider into the corner at the start of a section of single track. He slowed to roll the drop and I launched it. I found out later it was someone who knew me. He tried for the rest of the race to catch me and only blew one corner to give me a bit of breathing space. Our times were almost identical. Onya Jeremy! It was fun and you kept me honest.
The last lap was just a case of keeping the work rate as high as I could manage and keep pushing. Once Jeremy had dropped back a bit I ended up behind the eventual winner of the B grade females race and while she was setting a great pace and there were no real passing opportunities I was happy to stay put. I must say her pace was excellent and she picked great lines. and she told jokes the whole way around! Nice.
So I finished the race in 44:14 and with an average speed of 16.28km/hr. The link shows the slow first lap and the much more respectable lap times after that. So my lessons are as follows for short course racing:
- Sprint your guts out for the start. Hit the single track first or its a slow lap for you matey!
- Pick good lines and stay smooth.
- You don't need a water bottle for 12km races. Drink a bit before hand and you'll be sweet.
- Have top cheer squad.
- Smile, have fun and don't take it too seriously. It's a mountain bike race, you're not solving world hunger or curing cancer.
So here's the link to the results. I'll be back for more. It was a top event and the family had a great evening too.Well done Brisbane South Mountain Bike Club! A big thanks to Cyc'd for Bikes too for setting me up so well with bikes and kit. Well done Team Menzies! You lot rock.