This was an interesting race that included all kinds of different terrain, but no mud. I vividly remember the very bumpy grass, the wind, the dust, the smooth tarmac and the steep down hill. (I’m trying to forget the steep run-up)
The race started along a very fast and smooth tarmac road followed by a hard left on to the bumpy grass, ruts and plenty of dust. On this first lap I inhaled enough dust to grow a garden. In the center of the course we raced down wind through rather tall grass which hid a lot of pot holes. It was like playing blind man’s bluff with ruts hard enough to cause flats. After the tall grass came a short jump up then a fast decent through loose wood chips. I raced in a blur of pumps until the steep down hill on lap two. Going into the down hill I was following a guy in pink when he went over the front of his bike blocking the trail right in the middle of the decent. As you can see from the pictures, I wasted a perfectly good pint of adrenalin getting my way around this fallen rider. At the bottom of the decent I was thanking my lucky stars that I had not fallen. Someone at the bottom of the decent hollered “way to go Michael” and the inflection in their voice meant, “I don’t believe he avoided that crash”.
During lap three I could hear the cheers for Emily coming up on me. I gave a holler for her to come up to me but then heard shouts that she had lost her chain. I continued on in no mans land until I saw Chris in front of me. I chanted to myself, “catch him, catch him” when suddenly at the top of the run-up he was right in my face. Little did I know at the time but the only reason I caught him was that he bent his chain ring. Again, I blurred out until the finish. I got 7th place one minute and twenty five seconds adrift of the leader. For me this was a very good result but during the latter parts of the race I felt slow and out of gas. When home, I checked my Garmin data which indicated an average heart rate of 182 with a max of 186 and a speed of 24.4 mph down the last tarmac stretch. A good effort for me.
I want to thank Chris Nodder for sharing these great images.