Round 1 of the Real Insurance XCM Series for 2012 is done. Slightly muddy conditions after some overnight rain made the fun, fast Woodend track a good one. I was hoping for less climbing at the Wombat 100, since it seemed like the last 6 weeks of my training had been lake loops in Canberra totalling about 30 vertical metres each day. But in the end there were plenty of tough climbs.
I felt the pain come on after only a few minutes, showing my lack of form, but I pushed through it for over 4 hours to hold onto (and sometimes push) the lead group. Not knowing the track mainly cost me in terms of fuelling up. I didn’t know when single track sections were coming and kept missing the boat and only had a couple of gels in the first 2 hours, which cost me severely later on. Luckily there was a bit of let-up in the middle of the race and I could refuel.
For the whole race it was Jackson driving the pace on his home course, with Lewis and I watching him closely, not letting him get away. I was merely trying to be efficient and saving myself for the second half. But I could feel I had limited power anyway. The single tracks were where I felt I was making most ground (or energy savings). Lewis and I tried to get away from Jackson at feed zone 4, but to no avail. So we all swapped off together, working well to hold our lead.
I got the sense that Jackson and Lewis had more kick and drive than I did, but I was happy to be in amongst it and in with a chance for the win if I could hold on until the end. Traffic cost me a lot, including 3 falls from being knocked off by other riders. One of those was with 3km to go, resulting in the other two getting away from me while I pulled myself out of a bog hole with an injured wrist. But, as I grovelled to the finish line I had the feeling I would’ve been 3rd place anyway, just closer than I was in the end. And my team mate Lewis winning it made it all good.
Hopefully my fitness and form pick up in the coming days rather than dropping. Capital Punishment and the Convict 100 will definitely be tough. And mental toughness alone won’t win them.
I should mention how good this event was. Max Adventure put on a great show and it seems the guys at Cycle Nation (with support from Real Insurance) have stepped it up a couple of notches in event management, when they were already a league above other events in Aus.
Some photos from the day from cyclenation.com.au