National Champs is the race that everyone wants to win--it's more prestigious and carries the green and gold jersey, plus the fact that winning Nationals means that you can strut for a whole year saying that you're Australian National Champion. This is an honor that every competitve and aspiring mountainbiker would dream about.
I am not delusional, I knew going into champs that I would never be taking away that prized jersey. I was hoping for a solid ride, had my fingees crossed for a good ride and was hoping to finish around seventh. Considering some pretty good (for me) National Series finishes this year, this should have been achievable...but nationals has a way of 'making someone the hammer and someone the nail'. This weekend, I was nailed.
Spending four days in bed last week with a fevery flu thing wasn't, perhaps the best preparation. I managed a dirt crit on the Saturday prior, and could hammer myself fairly well for that short distance on a pretty flat course.
Down in Adelaide I had the sinking feeling that it wasn't going to be my year. I rode the course two days and again the day before race day, and had nothing. I was hoping that I would 'come good'.
I had a first-row start, and headed up the climb in about fifth, legs searing, feeling like death but I was hoping that it was the normal death-like shock your legs receive when starting out at an XC race and not the deadness from feeling like you have really heavy, empty sausages attached to your hips that you have to push in a circle for two hours.
Unfortunately, it was the latter, as I slipped further and fuurther back in the field. I usually like the opportunity to open it up a bit on the climbs, but I was spinning in granny ring, even on the flat. It was all wrong! My preparation hadn't accounted for this!
All I could do was just keep pedalling as hard as I could, which yeilded very little speed, and get around the nasty course six times. I was secretly wishing that I had gotten pulled in lap five and didn't have to endure another, but I finished on the same lap, in a disappointing tenth.
Katherine O'Shea had a fabulous win, riding away from the competition to a solid victory in her final lap. Heather Logie came through in second, followed by Jenni King in third.
It was a great course, and would have just been so much fun if you were on a good day. Even as it was, I was loving the rocky descents, chutes and little jumps which made my time on course a little bit enjoyable when I was going downhill!
Oh well, there's always Oceanias in three weeks to aim for. A few days off, and a couple of solid weeks should hopefully have me back to tip top shape. Overnout.
|Keeping it real!|