The third and final round of the Newcastle CX Series presented by Focus Bikes was upon us and I knew that I would be locked into another battle with Garry Milburn once again. My training had been great leading into this smaller event but it was a major building block for the next weekends national CX Series down in Melbourne.
I rode a few laps and loved the course even though it was a short. There was a few technical sections that would provide great viewing for spectators and make even better racing. A couple of laps later I ripped a hole in my rear tubular jumping up a step that has a very large and sharp protruding bolt. I felt confident with my bike setup after a quick change of wheel before the race. After a couple of ‘Band cover’ photos with the local focus rep Matt and Two Wheel Owner Marek I headed down to the start.
Not a moment later we were on the line at 1pm sharp, getting those words of wisdom from the commissure, and then we were off.
Garry got the early lead and I placed in behind him not wanting set the early tempo. He was looking strong and not making it easy this time. After about 5 minutes I made a move just to test the legs and see what his reaction was like. We only had a small gap over third so there was no playing around but more swapping of the lead until such time where we could play a few tactical games. Mid way through the race we both had a few attempts at getting a gap, I noticed that when I was on the front I could get a small gap through one section and maybe that was all that I needed.
A few laps later and countless changes of the lead. I lead into this section and started building my speed. riding the first part and then dismounting and running the second section that was a sharper and steeper hill. This gave me a very small gap (one bike length). I slipped my foot trying to get it back in the pedal. The mud on my left shoe had clogged the cleat up so I only used a downward motion on the pedal for a little while. Eventually I heard click and knew it was locked in. I could hear Garry’s breathing getting heavier and heavier so I sprinted as hard as I could out of the next few corners trying to break the imaginary elastic band.
Soon enough it snapped and I had some breathing room but not enough to make a mistake. A couple of hard laps and I had established a 200 meter lead. I rode my tempo and pushed hard but at the same time somehow I enjoyed it. With one lap to go I started to think of not crashing or getting a flat because he still within reach if I made a mistake.
Thankfully I managed to keep it rubber side down and hold on for the win. This Third and final round gave me the series win taking out all three rounds and receiving a Brand New Focus Bike for the series win. It was the hardest of the three because other riders wanted the win as well but it made for great racing and a great showing of form coming into the next national rounds in Melbourne.
Thanks to my supporters !