Super race at the Kowalski Classic yesterday. A huge mental effort to take on so much single trail and pretty happy to finish 2nd in Grand Masters.
I was really looking forward to this event after having possibly my best ride to date at the race last year only to have a ripped sidewall near the finish and also to follow up from victory at the Convict last month. Lead up was good but also a little unsettled after a bump on my dodgy arm during the week.
The techy sections made for a great challenge and endless twisting and turning through the forest provided some fantastic highlights and tested the focus. Unfortunately took a wrong turn to climb the trig loop in Sparrow Hill and lost a few minutes. Didn't realise until came up behind and caught about half a dozen different riders that I had overtaken in the 20 minutes or so prior - serves me right for thinking the A line would be faster and I didn't spot the red arrow going the other way !! Then it was a case of swapping positions with a couple of other riders and occasionally catching glimpses of a rider here and there who were often quite a time gap away on the track. The GPS struggled to deal with the distance calculations seeing I dont run a wheel sensor - three hours in and looking for the exit from Sparrow Hill the garmin read only 53KM rather than about 65KM - and all the while counting down to the 75KM transition to grab a new drink bottle. However at transition the track doubled back at the timing mats and not past my bag of goodies so decided to go out for the last section with only a little bit of fluid.
Out for the last 25KM and picked off some young riders who had gone hard earlier and now were cooked, and also picked up Jenny and Jenni racing together for the lead in the womens. Unexpectedly pulled away from them on the hills but at the same time I was losing punch probably from the short supply of drink. The last hour was tougher than it should have been but was all the better swapping turns through the singletrail with Trent Moore who had been riding with me for most of the race. About to go under the wooden bridge at the end I spied Garry James who was the categoty leader going over the flyover, but the gap was way to big. Crossed the line in a sprint finish with a young fellow whilst trying not to clean up the marshall directing riders through the gate ;-)
Thanks to the Self Propelled team who have excelled again in delivery a great event and are leading the pack in this respect. Well done to the other nobmob riders, there were many big smiles and great ride stories being shared.