Stage 2 –Port to Port – Lindemans Wines – 54.71km

Today was wet and muddy and it was going to interesting

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9am – We lined up in overall standing with the top ten male riders being seeded and then the top women with the rest of the field after. A short pause for photos and then we were off lead out by the Burton Toyota lead car. We headed down the tar road and riders were attacking so I followed the moves making sure I was no further back the tenth

2km – We were greeted with a climb that was about 10k in length and I think everyone felt every meter that we had to go up it. The pace was steady and I sat in third as we started the ascent. A short time after I found myself on the front doing a bit of pace making as this is the speed that I felt comfortable at.

4km – A Torq rider attacked and there was no response from the group until a little later when Andy Blair decided he wanted to go and off he went everyone jumped on the back and the gap was soon closed.

10km – We had pretty much reached the top of the climb and Andy and Chris Hamilton attacked leaving a group of maybe 10 riders to make their way up the final part of the first climb. I was starting to really struggle to see out of my fogged up glasses from about the 5km mark (I have to wear because they are prescription) and I had previously tried to take them off and pull the front lenses to and just leave the prescription lenses in but my hand were too slippery and wet and I almost crashed doing so.

15km – It had started to flatten out and was more undulating and I had finally decided that I had to remove the front lenses as it was getting dangerous not only for me but for other riders following me. It was like riding trying to look through smoked glass and trust me that isn’t easy. I quickly sat up and took my glasses off and pulled the lenses out as I tried to keep my speed and not hit any bumps. Finally that annoying smoked glass was gone. I rode back up to the bunch and could actually see who was there and who wasn’t (for the first time in the race). We started going into the single track that would be great fun in the dry but in the wet it was a slippery mess. My glasses started to fog up again as we climbed and I would stop and clean them with my sports drink from my bottle and continued on.  I lost a lot of time in this section and it was a little bit frustrating as my heart rate was low but I couldn’t tell what was coming up so I would make all sorts of stupid mistakes.

20km – Finally I made it out of the single track and was starting the ‘’run section’’ of the race. It was the stickiest mud that I have ever seen and mixed with a hill it was quite the workout just trying to push your bike and keep your feet moving. After about 1km of this I could see two riders up ahead so I started to pick up the pace and try and close the gap.

25km – I Had caught fellow Newcastle rider Bryan Dunkin who had passed me in the single trail section as I was making some of my very clumsy mistakes. We swapped turns on the front and rode for quite some time as we descended down the mountain and onto the flatter tarred roads towards Millfield.

40km – Bryan and I started the final climb together and I got into a quite comfortable pace that seemed to be a bit too fast for him and he soon started to drift backwards and I continued on. The climb seemed to never end and continued up into the clouds for the next 9km before we entered the rock garden.

49km – I entered the rock garden knowing that it wasn’t long until the finish and I just had to be smooth and use my legs a big springs to soak up all the sharp rocks so that I didn’t get a flat. There was a little climb though some private property that caught me by surprise and dampened the mood as I thought it was all downhill to the finish. I climbed over that and then started what was the finally decent back to Lindemans Wines. It was quite a rocky decent and you didn’t want to get to confident as confident would probably throw you off your bike and onto the many rocks waiting for you. This said it was quite fun sliding around down the hill and the it opened up and you could reach speeds of 70kmh + where you entered the winery for a short bit then onto the same road that you started on.

54km – I turned into the finishing straight and under the Port to Port arch to my relief that it was over. I finished the day in 9th still somewhat happy but always wanting to do better. I did a few interviews and photos for the local paper and then a quick race recap for the Port to Port documentary film that will come out in the coming months. Next time I think I might not use two lenses and try some anti-fog and see how long it lasts. Hopefully tomorrow isn’t as wet and I can keep my white kit clean.

 Todays Results for stage 2 of the Port to Port

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