It’s a strange position to be in when I approach a race and think to myself, “meh, it’s only 4 hours”. After my 7 hour solo race I’ve been given a bit of perspective, with a 4 hour presenting a different kind of challenge, yet being 3 hours shorter made me feel much more confident for it.
I had never ridden the Bathurst course before and when the race director mentioned that the technical sections sneak up on you, he wasn’t wrong. For my first lap I followed a couple of women that I discovered had ridden the course before. It was a great idea as every surprising drop, jump, roll over, bridge, rock section they took with confidence, so I followed. If I had of attempted the course solo, or casually, I probably would have stopped and checked out the drops, wanted to find the line, or felt a bit too intimidated by them to attempt them. After managing the obstacles on the first lap, I was determined to do every obstacle on every lap to really cement my ability and confidence. Even as I was getting tired towards the last couple of laps, I was still able to take the obstacles comfortably. I focused, reminded myself of the advice I’d been given for obstacles at various skills sessions and comfortably completed the course. Bathurst is an amazing course. There is a lot of climbing, including a great section called “mother-in-law” which brought you to an fun downhill section back to the start. The log rolls, bridges, drops, jumps and rocks abounded, and a blackberry switchback that made me ensure I didn’t overshoot a corner! The harder you ride this course, the faster it gets. There is a lot of free speed that you can gain from pumping the track. All in all, a really fun course.
I rode this race on my new bike, my lovely fancy new bike! It is a dual suspension bike, but to be honest I feel this course would have suited hard tails perfectly. My bike felt like a weapon. I felt quick and I felt confident. I do need to get a little tweaking done to make my bike more comfortable – my back started to ache/cramp in a strange position, possibly because of my dominant forward leg and the slightly different geometry than my hard tail? I took a 10 minute break between my 4th and 5th lap, the last lap for the race, and that really helped my back. This, however, is something I will need to address before the Scott, so I’ll talk to my bike shop and get out on the bike more to work on this.
The race had a truly great feel. Everyone was fantastic about passing and being passed, and the wonderful women in the race were all super supportive. I was very priviledged to make it up on to the podium in 5th place along side some truly incredible women, Eliza Kwan, Brooke Rowlands, Sara Mills, and Kate Heynes. I am so impressed by the effort that everyone put in, the volunteers for cheering us on, having everything run smoothly, the first aiders for being there in case things went wrong, and the sponsors, it was a really great event, all the Evocities events thus far have been! Come along to one if you get the chance! So, what’s next on the agenda? Well, it’s been at least a month since I trained “seriously”. Heading overseas, lots of rain, I’ve been a bit out of love with training, and instead have been more interested in changing things up, because riding bikes started to feel like a chore. This race brought me back to a position of wanting to ride a whole lot more, but at the same time I really want to keep up the changes. The cold weather and short days don’t make things terribly exciting, but when you want something, there is always a way around it.