This was to be my first MTB race of the season, I was looking forward to mixing it up with the fast boys but some late breaking news had me pulling up the handbrake. I was still gunna ride, but 75%…or so I thought.
A not too early start was welcome but also meant that the sun was up, and today this was a bad thing. It’s 7am and it’s 26 degrees already. I line up at the back of the start chute, pressure is off and I’m not racing…but then the gun goes. As we leave the start area I feel the pace is a little slow and I start overtaking. I can almost see the front guys and I’m keen to see what sort of pace they are packing and I’m ignoring my little voice telling me that this isn’t 75%.
I’m at 90% in the big blade and crushing the flats, the roadie in my is having a fat jol and I just cant slow down. At 10km in I can see the front, I’m up to 15th and still cruising. 5 Kays later I’m inside the top ten… but my little voice is screaming at me now and I have to slow down.
It’s hot, hot like someone pulled the sun closer overnight. I’m sweating so hard I have goosebumps and I realize I need to get off the gas. On the big climb it wasn’t possible to tap off much but as I got over I eased off the pace. I settled into a nice tempo and spun easier gears, not long later Rob caught me, he was missing a water bottle which must have jumped out. I handed him one of mine, still full. I think these Specialized cages are the best, I struggle to pull bottle out of them, let alone have them fall out. The next water point take a while to arrive but I still had some juice left and it wasn’t a factor, I told Rob to carry on while I stopped and refilled 2 bottles, one for him and one for me. There was a bit of downhill and a flat after that and I caught him quicker than I thought I would and handed him the bottle.
The next section wasn’t too tough and I sat with Rob for a while, through the singletrack and back down again. My heart rate wasn’t coming down much tho, still at 85%… I backed off some more, Rob looked around for me but I waved him onwards telling him not to wait. Not too long after that I could no longer see him and I ticked over in the searing heat, the mileage taking forever to digest. I considered the 35km short cut route but somehow convinced myself to carry on.
the remaining 25km took forever, thankfully there were no major climbs, but it was sandy now and where it wasn’t sandy it was very rocky. I was missing my dual sus bike here without a doubt and pondered how much better it would be.
The remaining kays were either desert or dams, I preferred the dams although I couldn’t stop and swim. My HR was still over 80%. I put it down to the heat, I was trying everything to drop it, resorting to the 11T inner ring on the front to no avail. I decided it would be best to get things over with as quickly as possible and get back up to a decent pace.
I finished in 3h06 and was a fair way down the field. I’ll take that though as the long route got cut because of the danger in the heat and not many people managed to get through after me.
The picnic afterward was a very welcome treat, thanks Girls 🙂