1:00pm – With an earlier start than yesterday and many having to get on a plane home after the race there was no mucking around with the race starting on time for what could possibly be the first time ever. The 40 strong elite men’s field where called to the start line and I had moved up a few places from yesterday’s position and into 5th. This meant I would get to have a clean and unaffected start . I positioned myself next to fellow NSW rider Garry Millburn knowing that I won’t get tangled up and cause a crash just after the start.
The countdown had passed and the 15 second random start was conducted then bang we were off everyone going everywhere and trying to get to the vital first corner in front as it narrow straight away and then into a mandatory stair run up. I had a good start placing myself in about 5th and followed the riders in front for the first half a lap. The pace was on and three was no sign that it was going to slow down as riders were starting to get to breaking point behind me as we weaved through the tight corners and raced along the fast straights into the aptly named ‘’Beach’’ section.
1:05pm – It was here that I found it was faster for me to get off and run the 70 meters of sand as I was using way too much energy for me to stay on the bike and ride . It was also faster for me to just run than I was to ride. I was sitting at about 5th in what seemed to be a group of about 7 or so riders, and I was feeling like my heart was going to explode.
1:10pm – Chris Jongewaard kept pushing and started to open up a small gap by the first lap and every one was in ones and twos just trying to hold onto the rider in front. I was with Team Mate Shaun Lewis for the first three laps where he started to drift back so we tried to work together along the long fast straights and get ourselves back into the front end of the race. We chased for about 3 laps to where the gap just stayed the same and I was starting to feel the pressure of going out a little too hard and I had to back it off just a bit so I could finish.
1:30pm – Shaun continued on and opened up a gap on me and slowly stretched it into about a 10 second gap after a few more laps. During the second half of the race Paul Redenbach was starting to catch me and then all of a sudden he came past like a freight train and quickly I tried to get onto his wheel but he was pretty much gone. I chased for as long as I could knowing that this was going to be pulling me back along, but it could only last so long until I was cooked.
1:45pm – The final few laps I was just trying to be consistent and keep upright as I didn’t want to make a small mistake and have to pay the consequences of a mechanical. Most of the riders were spread over about 15 second gaps and if one had a problem the next rider would go past them in a flash. I limped to the finish line learning a lot and happy with the first part of my race . Now all I need to do is link up a complete race and see what result that brings!
Photos Courtesy of Joshua from Riding Focus