National Champs XCO 2014


7am I woke up on race day feeling well rested and after doing many practice lap for the past two days I was feeling confident that I knew the course and was ready to race. I jumped out of bed and had received a message from long-time friend Blake Polverino who was also in Bright for the National Championships asking if I was keen for an easy spin straight away I replied and the ball go rolling for the day.

Meeting Blake at 8am we headed out for a short easy spin to get the legs and blood moving. Riding out to a nearby town called Pourpunka while checking out the massive mountains and talking normal shenanigans. Rollin back to Bright we stopped at one of the many cycle friendly cafes and pulled up a chair as Blake had his pre-race brew and I had a milkshake. (Didn’t want to have a coffee to early and then feel dead for the race later in the day).

Got home at 9:30 am and had a shower and got my bike cleaned and ready for the race. Checking every bolt twice and wiping the dust of the frame my Focus Raven 29R was ready to be raced. After that I had some lunch and lay down a bit before packing the car so mum and dad could drive to the event centre and get a car park as I could just ride the 5km there.

11:30am I left the accommodation and headed out to event site where I found the car and lubricated my chain. I gave all the UN necessary items such as the cabin keys and my phone to mum and headed off on my warm up. I have noticed over the past few years that if I do a long warm up I race much better and don’t make as many mistakes early on in the race.

12:37 seven minutes after the elite men had started we were on the line taking off. I was on the second row on the far right up against the barriers sitting right behind Scott Bowen who I knew has a fast start. The gun when off and it was under way I got a great start clipped in straight away and moving up the side I when into the first turn in about 10 and then moved up to about 6th for the second turn where I found myself sliding wide and slipping back to about the top 15 where the first very steep but short climb awaited. Someone hit a tree and unclipped making everyone else behind have to get off and that was the initial gap that formed what would be the top six riders.

I paced myself know it would be a bit over a 90minurte race so I just made my way through the riders every time there was a chance and tried to pick off the next rider ahead. After about half way I found myself with Scott Bowden and we rolled turns keeping the pace going trying to catch the leading group that was starting to get out of reach so when we done the final decent to the finish line on lap three I just kept pushing the pace up the climb that took almost 70% of the 18 minute lap time to complete and then found myself alone and left to my self-contemplating on how my cramps were going.

Coming into the final decent to the finish line I felt like I was in a full body cramp with my arms back calf’s thighs and hamstrings all locking up and struggling to even steer the bike across the line. If I was that buggered I couldn’t imagine how the top guys felt. All in all I finished the National Champs in 7th and was happy with that result as I had finally got my Focus Raven set up to how I wanted and I could see improvement in my fitness starting to build.

In a few weeks’ time I will be off to New Zealand to have a crack at the Oceania Champs and we will see how we go. I will be traveling with Focus Team member Shaun Lewis whom is a much respected rider and has ridden at the very top of the world level before so I am hoping to get much experience from traveling with him as I believe he is a great inspiration of professionalism.