After a good roll the day before I was feeling happy with how my legs were after the flight over from Sydney. We arrived at the event site early as I was staying with fellow Focus Team rider Mark Chadwick and we had to set up all the focus tents, flags and banners. Once finishing that I was pushing on to 9am and the U23 race was to start at 11:30AM. After I had started my warm up I notice that there was a fair few riders starting to gather near the start area so I stopped my warm up and headed on over. We were almost immediately called up and put onto the starting grid this was well before the planned 11:30 start time. I was starting to wonder if that short warm up would have even done anything but only time would tell.
Prior to 11:30AM – The gun went off and we were under way I got a great clip in and sprinted into the lead I kept sprinting going through all my gears until I had no more left. We race through what would be the finish line and into the first part of the very flat course. I was looking at where the dirt track wen and started to follow it until I noticed that there was bunting in front of me so I turned left locking my rear wheel and done what my team mate Tom Chapman said after was ‘’The sickest skid I have ever seen on a CX bike”. I thought I was going to crash and slid into the tree we had to go round but somehow my new Challenge tires just kept sticking like glue and I mad it around still in first place with my team mate tome yelling Yewww!!! Behind me. The field got string out and a few little gaps started to for my heart rate was through the roof and lactic acid was flowing into my legs thick and fast. The short warm up had done nothing for me and I was feeling it. Half way through the lap I was still on the front and everyone seemed to be doing it easy sitting on me until I started to swing off and let someone else sit at the front.
11:35AM – I was struggling dropping back in the field feeling like I had concrete in my legs I was back to abut 10th position and the front riders were starting to get away from me I knew I had to sit tight and let the gap go and then try and close it when my legs came good. Unfortunately it was on a short race being less than 50 min in total compared to our normal 60 minute races we do with the elite riders.
11:45AM – The start of the third lap and I had got my legs going and stated to pick off one rider at a time until towards the latter half of the lap I had rejoined the lead group where there was about 6 riders still let trying to attack each other and get away. It was a very different course compared to what I normally race with big long straights letting other riders sit on and get a rest of you while you at the front trying to get rid of them.
11:55AM – It had been whittled down to only 4 riders now and we had put some distance in between the chasing riders. Tom and I both tried to attack at various times in an effort to get away from the other riders but it was to no avail with one of the just jumping straight on and then not wanting to attack. This continued for the next lap or so and we were running out of time to try and gain any advantage over each other.
12:05PM – One of the riders had a small mechanical issue leaving a group of three but no one really wanted to put the pressure on as we could all tell that it was going to be a sprint finish. With only two lap reaming the rider had managed to join onto the back of the group and I moved to the frit again trying to string it out. I managed to get a small gap but it was short lived when we hit the long open straight and it was closed back in. coming into the section called mulch hill I slipped on one of the many muddy ruts forming and landed on my back with another rider almost had a mid-race seat on me until we both jumped up and chased back onto the group.
12:15PM – it was a tactical game of cat and mouse with all four rider coming into the last section behind one and other I was 4th wheel knowing that I would get a good tow from the other riders in the last long straight before the finish line but this was no to be and the third rider slipped on one of the muddy corners and crated a small gap I passed around the left trying to get back the two bike lengths to first and second but I couldn’t get there and in the last 30 meters I was passed by Ben the rider who slipped in the mud as he got the two of me that I wanted of him in the finish straight.
Unfortunately not the race I wanted to have but at least my Focus Bikes Australia Team Mate Tom Chapman got up for the WIN !!!
Photos from Joshua at Riding Focus