This month's big race began in Auckland Airport early Wednesday morning, arriving in Sydney, then a 6 hour wait before a flight to Hobart. We were staying at Seven Mile Beach Cabin Park up until Saturday for the race (big thanks to the cabin park for allowing us to return after the race on Sunday to use their showers... A gesture that went a long way for those sitting next to me and my support crew on the plane!)
Dee and Bren arrived Thursday night, and we decided on some speedy tourist visits before rocking up at the race venue to register. Kellevie is a quaint little town about an hour out of Hobart. The race was held on private farmland, and damn, they have some sweet little trails there!
I didn't get the opportunity to pre-ride the track, so my first lap was a bit by feel. It was an awesome track... Twisty and rocky... Would definately keep me entertained for the 24 hours. My first few laps were strong. I went out pretty hot to see what would happen before I settled in and there was one girl, Sophie, who seemed to be holding my pace, so I sat back in a little bit and started to maintain a pace. We had a bit of a chat and I found out that it was her first 24 hour solo (and damn, she was riding it like she knew what she was doing!).
Day turned to night and I still felt really strong. I went out on a lap and Sophie stayed in her pit area a little longer. The next lap, I came through and took a short break, sure she was still behind me. My support crew hadn't seen her in a while either, so I set off on my next lap, and to my surprise, at the next meeting with Dee, I found out she was 9mins ahead of me. I put the power down to try and make up some time. How didn't I see her pass me??? Where did she pass me???? I was so angry with myself. I'd been cruising along thinking she was behind me and the whole time she'd been in front!!! Lesson well learned. I was pushing a harder gear than I probably should've been and I could feel I was starting to tire. Around 11pm, I came back into my pit and told Brendan about a clicking noise my chain was making. "I think it's about to snap" I told him. He had a quick look but couldn't find anything too amiss, so I took a spare link with me and headed off on my next lap. 5 mins later, I rounded a corner and went to power climb a small steep section and "SNAP!"... Yup, it was the chain. Damn it! With the help of a passing rider, we reapired the chain relatively quickly, but I'd lost more time. My hands were blistered from the rough terrain and sweaty hands, and my amazing start was starting to slip away.
I don't remember much of the exchange I had when I stopped at the pit next, but at around 3am, I climbed off my bike and sat down... I knew it was a dangerous thing to do, but my knees were aching and my blistered hands wouldn't grip the bars. I got back on the bike at the end of the race to post a result, but after a strong 14 hours, I was unable to continue.
I would be lying to say I wasn't really disappointed, especially seeing as I have had a really strong season so far, but if I may steal an old cliche "you can't win 'em all". The lack of pay cheque on the way home was a bit of a sting on the pocket, but it was the first run with my awesome new support crew and we now have a few plans and tricks up our sleeves for the next one and can't wait for World Solo Champs in Canberra in October.
Unfortunately, I need to put this race behind me now and focus on doing well in the next. For now, I have to rest up because in 5 weeks, I fly to Alice Springs for the Red Centre Enduro. Never been to Alice Springs before so I can't wait!!! Time to puncture-proof those tires!!!
Thanks to Dee and Brendan for their tireless support this weekend. Brendan Byrne is the one who took the awesome pics you see in this post!