Well nationals has already been run and won, and we have returned home to hot an humid Brisbane—a change from hot and dry Adelaide.
The vibe in SA was insane, with a massive cyclist awareness due to the Tour Down Under and the appearance of Lance Armstrong. So tight is Armstrong's grip on Adelaide that when he Tweeted that he would have a 'Lance ride' on Saturday in Glenelg at 9am, 5000 people showed up.
And also pretty annoying considering Saturday was race day for elite categories of the Australian Mountain Bike XC Championships. Half an hour into the elite women's race, as we were chewing our stems and trying desperately to keep the rubber side down, Lance was having a party with all our spectators. GREAT!
Despite the less-than-expected turnout (thanks, Lance), the race was good fun with local MTB fans all out and about.
In the women's race about 25 or 30 dirt girls graced the start line.
For some reason I had a good start from the second grid line, heading up into the singletrack in about seventh or eighth.
The course itself didn't feature too many obstacles, but the loose and rocky nature of the trails made it a hard course to tame at speed.
I rode lap one not feeling the heat of the race too much, Tori rode ahead and that was fine, but lap two Terri pulled ahead and though I tried to stay in sight, a nasty crash near the end of the lap lost me precious time—not to mention leg power!
Thanks to some metro guys for pulling me off the track and unclipping me and making sure I could feel my left leg again before I rode off!
Perhaps I shouldn't have worried about the leg—time is, after all, the essence—as two others passed me during this dirt time.
When I climbed onto my bike after what seemed like forever (but was probably only 2 minutes) I seemed to have no power in my legs. They soon got up to speed again but continued throbbing for the remainder of the race with a constant reminder of the crash.
I was able to pretty much maintain that position, feeling a bit crap throughout the entire third lap but rallying for the fourth, up until I crashed again! And it was in the same spot! I have no reasoning for this—the first crash I had no idea what had happened, the second crash I knew over the top of the drop that I was too far right, but it was too late to change anything by then I was on the ground again.
I was trying to follow another attack at that stage, which had got away with the crashing business. Luckily the second crash wouldn't have lost me more than a minute, I don't think.
Anyway, rubbing's racing—even when it's with the dirt!
It's great to be racing with the girls, and not just dangling out the back and trying to hold on for dear life.
Who knows what next years nationals will bring?
I can't be too unhappy with 9th—top ten despite the falls is OK, even if I was hoping to ride more consistently.
Aido managed a stellar 5th in the men's race. Deciding not to ride off the front from the gun proved to be a wise choice, as he had the staying power for perhaps his best national championship race result in elite...ever?
Go team ALAB(am)!