Round 4 of the Chocolate Foot STM series and it was time to head to the flat lands surrounding Nowra. All week we had been watching the weather and wondering whether it would really be on. The drive down on Saturday didn't fill us with confidence either but approaching Nowra the roads had dried and we felt a bit more optimistic
By the time we got to the event centre the bikes were already filthy after the dirt tracks leading up to it. Quick wipe down and on with a couple of reconnaissance laps. The track was looking good with the exception of a about 50 meters where it looked like the tracks we knew from the Husky in previous years, boggy and leg sapping but overall it looked like it was going to be a fun track. After a couple of beers and some large meals at the Bomaderry Bowling club it was time to retreat back to our motel in preparation for race day.
This was the 3rd race of the series the SXC Masters had entered and we were sticking to our winning formula of sending Dave out for the opening lap, with me 2nd and Matt to follow. Dave put in a strong opening lap and came home with some relatively clear track which was impressive after a little detour at the start and the congestion early on. I set off on my lap and it turned into a bumpy procession without much flow, with SXC in 2nd place and the 'Bloody Bee Keepers' to get almost a couple of minutes up on us and the front of the field. Matt was able to recover some of this time on the next lap against there third man and so the scene was set for an epic battle for 1st and 2nd.
All 3 riders from each team seemed well matched and this ensured for some close racing. Lap splits were shared between the two teams and the gap was hovering around 30 seconds near the 4 hour mark. Finally on lap 8 I was able to catch their rider around 2km in. As soon as the track opened up I took the opportunity to get in front, he seemed happy to follow my wheel and stayed there until almost the end of the lap when I was able to use some slower riders to open up a small gap. The next few laps consisted of more of the same with either Dave or Matt being closely followed by their corresponding rider from the bee keepers. Come hour 5, Lap 11 was tight with identical times being recorded in what was a scrappy lap, the lead changed after I took a bad line but I was able to recover it before the end of the lap despite hitting a tree later on.
Lap 12 proved to the pivotal lap, Matt and his opposite number started neck and neck but back at transition it was Matt who came back over 2 mins up, he'd gained a huge amount of time. Dave headed off and put in a solid lap to add another minute to our lead. By the time I headed out for the last lap it was just a case of keeping it on two wheels and no mechanicals, I only managed the latter but it was enough for us to finish 6 mins clear. This had been a tight race throughout but ultimately our consistent lap times and legs had proved to be the key to a great result. Dave takes the Kudos for the only lap under 30 mins and Matt put the affects of a cold behind him to record solid times throughout the race. Congrats to Wayne on his 2nd place in the 4hr solo, there might not have been much climbing but it was a tough course which didn't allow for much rest so well done.
Thanks to our Sponsors and supporters, Cyclery Northside, Essential Sports Nutrition, EVOC, TotalAutoFinance