I think i have finally settled on a blog setup so the content should start flowing in more frequently now.
Packed up early the night before and headed down to Yellomundee on race day with Clifton. I made sure to register this time using the online facilities and within 5 minutes i was all setup with my race number. No real prep was done for this race as Sydney was recently subjected to some heavy thunderstorms and not knowing how i felt i was really entering this event blind.
I had a few things in mind from round 2 and i made that a priority for me for this race. First of all was to try the seatpost at the right height. Secondly more intake of staminade/energy drink during the first 4 laps on the day. The trance x was setup and i know from the last event it would be trustworthy so i gambled on not taking any spares/levers/tools.
The race started late but by 815/820 ish we were all cued up ready to start. This time i decided to go relatively up front compared to last round and was rewarded by a much more free flowing traffic in the first few laps. For the first lap everyone was just sussing out the overall course layout as there were some concerns in regards to track conditions but i don’t think we needed to worry about a thing. The track was fun and fast.
From the second lap onwards the pace was pretty settled. I drank a little less than what i prepared *600mm for 2 laps* but felt fine so i stuck with it. Indeed for the first 5-6 laps or so i felt 100% fine. I was in control, i was attacking, i was most importantly having a crap load of fun. Yet in between all that a thought in my mind told me to conserve. I was looking at my watch every lap and it was clear to me early on that i was doing laps in the low 20s. Doing a quick calculation *a lot harder than what you might think under racing conditions* i realised i could hammer out 10 laps at this speed.
Of course the other thing that was at the back of my mind was when would the cramps start appearing. From the 5th lap onwards i was riding more conservatively and was always pacing myself uphills. I explained to a couple of mates that it was quite a detached feeling. Detached in that my overall mind feels perfectly fine but my legs don’t. Did the extended seatpost work? Yup, cramps didn’t surface on the 5th lap like what happened in round 2. In fact i never allowed the cramps to surface throughout the whole race. There were moments between lap 7-8 that i would feel cramps surfacing but i would just get off the bike and stretch/massage it out.
At the end of the day i pushed out 9 laps and finished with approx 4hour and 34minutes of riding. 49th out of about 100riders. Am i happy with this? Yes and No.
Yes in that i am happy i finished the race and i finished with a clear improvment to last round. I learnt new stuff, i applied previous experience. I also never for any moment whilst i was enduring the pain of racing asked myself “why am i doing this?”. No in that I can always rationalise and say well the first 20 couple riders were elites and they train and there was never a chance of competing with them and that would make the results more favourable and ya-di-da but the fact of the matter is i finished smack bang in the middle of the pack. Small fish in a big pond indeed.
It’s clear to me that the seatpost indeed helped with the cramps but what will help even more is to subject my legs to riding of this intensity more frequently in the future. It was quite clear to me that the first 4-5 laps were hammered out at a favorable pace. The difference between riders that were faster than me and myself was that they were able to keep up that pace throughout the rest of the laps. This would have made a massive difference. Time and time again i saw riders passing me powering it up the climbs like how i would have for the first 5 laps, but alas in that condition i was definitely in self preservation mode.
Overall awesome day and awesome experience. I encourage any of you guys that are riding to come for a jaunt. Whether you are competitive or not doesn’t matter. Whether you are fast or not does not matter too. The atomsphere is both friendly and encouraging. If you need a way to challenge yourself in the new year, racing is it!