2015 National Elite XCE Championships – Bright, Victoria
Saturday – It was an early start to the morning with the practice for the Elite Eliminator only going from 7 to 8:15 am and Time trials starting at 8:30. After doing many laps in the freezing cold before the sun had even rose above the tall alpine mountains. It was call up for the Time Trial.
They had made a great course with long straights, a large jump that could prove fatal if you didn’t get it right, and a section where you rode into the event marquee and had the spectators eating food and cheering for you and also some small bits of forest all packed into a 2 minute lap.
I was 8th up for my time trial as per the ranking order and was told that top 32 would go through that meant there was on 31 riders so no matter what time you did you were in. I took off at the start and posted a solid time but didn’t want to go to deep because you still could have another 4 rounds to get to the finals. I qualified in 11th in the end but was told that only the top 16 would go through. This made me nervous as I didn’t know how I had gone at the time and thought that I may be just outside the cut off. Soon enough the result came out and the heats revealed and I was safe, they were taking everyone and using the time trial times to seed the heats.
I headed from the event center back into town for a coffee and some food before the heats commence at 12 noon. My first heat was only with three riders which meant one wouldn’t make the cut but one of the other riders didn’t show which worked out great for me because I could take it easy and roll around saving for the harder faster final heats.
The next round came through and it was a full heat I was in third straight away after a bad start and managed to move up into second on the back straight and this moved me through to the next round.
The Semifinal heats were up and I had a strong heat which meant I had to ride smart I started well slotting into third going into the jump in knew that Bryan behind me would try to jump it so I moved to the outside making sure I wouldn’t get hit or crash. Straight after landing he ran straight up the back of the second place rider taking both of them out and allowing me to ride tempo to the finish and advance to the finals. The rounds got harder and harder and watching the prior races there was more and more crashes so I opted to ride smart and let the younger riders try to battle for positions and sure enough they would end up slowing each other or in some cases crashing and then neither would make it to the next round.
The Final. I was against 2013 World Eliminator Champion Paul Van Der Plog, Cameron Ivory and Tristan Ward, This was going to be a tough one. I had the gate that I dint want the outside and it was short sprint to the first corner into the marquee. We go the call and were off I had a good start but had to drop into third so I could fit around the corner. Coming along the straight into the jump everyone pumped it and I was still sitting well in third until I hit a large rock that shot my wheel outside ways. After gathering it back Cameron had got past so I sprinted back onto the group as we headed into the bush. Weaving in and out the ace had slowed as no one could overtake and everyone had a breather. As we go out of the bush the pace was straight on and coming into the humps everyone was through fine except for me. The line I had been taking very lap and was working great didn’t work so great this time around when I needed it most and I lost a lot of speed and momentum. The gap of about 10 or so meters opened and I chased but the pace was so fast. I knew that like many race there can be a tangle of bars and riders go down so I didn’t sit up and kept my head down trying to stay close but it was all to late and the race was over. I had to settle for 4th but happy with the result seeing as I didn’t expect to even make it past the time trial for a moment there.
Thanks again to all the even staff from MTBA for the #bestever National MTB Champs and also to my Parents and Sponsors.
No into the CX Training and season!