Having unfortunately missed 2 of the 5 rounds and sitting 3rd on series points I knew today was make or break to stay on the podium. My number 1 focus was not to go too hard in the first two hours (like I usually do) and make sure I had plenty left at the end. This started out well as David lead a small group of us up the climb on the first lap at a seemingly friendly pace. Tempted to steam ahead I forced myself to stick to the plan and saved the legs, not punching up any climbs and thinking all the time "4 hour pace not 4 lap pace!"
I then paced with Wayne for a few laps before a derailleur problem threatened to take it all away. A quick tweak in transition and a lap spent fiddling with the trail tune managed to get it workable. Unfortunately Wayne wasn't having his best day on the bike and so I went ahead. At about the 3 hour mark I was feeling comfortable and strong, a nice change from my usual feeling of having pushed too hard for the first two hours. Everything had come together and I was having a blast!
Matt indicated during transition I was about 2 minutes ahead so I wound it up a little for a few laps and was able to take a couple of minutes a lap to finish comfortably ahead. Once finished there was a few nervous minutes as I had to rely on the current series leader not finishing in the top 2. Luckily he came in fourth which gave me the series win. A fantastic way to end my first series with SXC!
The SXC Masters team of three with Dave, Matt and Gary also had a good day, dominating their category to take the series win. And despite having a tough day on the bike, Wayne still managed to take out the series win in the 4hr Solo Masters category giving SXC series wins in all three categories we competed in. A very successful year for SXC in this series and thanks to all involved!