2013 3 Ring Circus (Gazza)

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Our results at this event
Rider Overall Category Pos. Time
Gazza 11 Masters Men 1 2:12:57
David 15 Masters Men 3 2:17:02
Wayne 16 Masters Men 4 2:17:06
Brian 24 Veteran Men 7 2:21:41
Graham 32 Veteran Men 11 2:24:41
Gary 62 Veteran Men 18 2:33:48

I'll start with a brief story of what happened in the previous nights 20km race.

During a cold night race with a blistering pace, I'd managed to get in the second group with Dicko,another Mate from Manly, Myself and another Rider. We all stuck together for the whole 20km loop, just near the end the bloke that had been sucking our wheels for the whole time made a sprint for the lead, We didn't know why but realised pretty soon that the finish line had crept up on us and he claimed the win with Myself in 2nd and Dicko in 3rd and my mate from Manly missing out on a well earned podium spot.

Wayne (Dicko) had said to me that this is what the pace was going to be like for the 50km the next day, Maybe even faster as there was a little more competition turning up with fresh legs tomorrow.
Oh dear! I'd really struggled to keep up tonight as my legs felt fatigued and i questioned my fitness against Wayne's as his power results were showing some impressive numbers apparently. After dinner i thought "Stuff it" and drank maybe a little bit to much red wine and stayed up a little to late with the thoughts I'd be left in the dust of others the next day.

The 10am start was very respectable the next day giving me plenty of time to eat, rehydrate and get my kit sorted for the race ahead. On the start line i was nervous but not as much as normal as i'd resided to the fact that i was going to have an average day.

Off we went and the pace wasn't quite as intense ( or at least it didn't feel it ) as the previous night and I settled in to the back of the front group of around 15 riders and a gap had formed to the rest of the field within around 2km. I was in a good place and feeling pretty relaxed. I think the first loop was around 6km and most of the first group had stuck together at this stage with My mate from the night before, Dicko and I think Dave (Doc) was there also. Mark McInnes was also in the group and was looking like a strong contender with fresh legs for the Masters top spot.

We all stayed within each others grasp up to the grassy climb that is usually used for the KOM in the Highland Fling. A left turn at the top and we headed down to the dreaded "Wall". I'd never ridden up the Wall before and had always thought it was easier and just as quick to push on the steep part but today I was determined to ride the thing. I managed to keep traction with a rider in front slowing and almost making me dab but I got angry and gave it an extra effort and managed to keep going and even form a gap.

Up ahead I saw a younger NRS Roadie that i knew was less than average on the singletrack we were approaching so I buried myself and snuck in just in front of him. Great! I could now compose myself and enjoy the singletrack with no one holding me back. Out I popped at the other end and Mark had obviously overtook the young roadie and made up ground, he came up alongside and i congratulated him on his effort. We were also caught by another mate, Ollie from the Northern Beaches who had had a great result the night before with a 3rd in the Open Male. We held that group, joined by one other younger rider for a good 10-15km over the rolling hills and some of the singletrack that followed.

We reached transition again and headed out towards the next piece of singletrack. Ollie made a sprint for the lead and I followed him in second place into the twisty stuff. This proved to be a great move as he really pushed it round those corners and i managed to hold his wheel and we had formed a gap on Mark McInnes, my only threat in the group. Onto a firetrail climb and I told Ollie my situation, I took the lead and gunned it up the hill. I was really pushing it now but my legs were feeling great. We rode for another 5km and reached the small creek crossing before the longest climb of the day at around 10km before the finish. I told Ollie I was going to back off on the climb to about 75% and he agreed. We had a good gap by now and I didn't want to blow myself up on this hill. Over the top we went and I felt good, It was a wise move and had paid off.

A sterling effort by a guy on a Niner hardtail had him catch us with around 5km of rolling firetrail to go. He wasn't in my category so I wasn't concerned. I drove the pace on the way home and was feeling great and keeping it fast. Looking over my shoulder for looming competition but there was no one there! It's a nice feeling, with around 2km to go and you can't see anyone behind you. As long as your bike holds up????

Anyway, The two 'Young uns' sprint each other at the line and I role in behind them delighted at how everything went. Mark McInnes came in around 3 mins behind me and Dave O'Connell ( Doc) was not far behind him with his first solo podium i think? Dicko was a little further back nursing a cracked rim and a soft tyre from the previous nights racing where i saw him hit a log very hard with his rear wheel. He did well to finish at all! Brian finished not far behind with a 7th in the vets after a midfield start ( he needs to be less polite in the start chute and push his way up front where he belongs!)

A big Thanks to Hugh and The Wild Horizons team for putting on a great event. I'll be back next year for sure. The Prize pool was outstanding with quality prizes from their sponsors. It really does make the difference when you walk away with a prize you genuinely think is worth the effort and the entry fee.

Well Done to all that finished.

I'll see you at the next race!