Arriving in Geelong on a sunny Thursday I began cutting laps of the You Yangs track that afternoon. It was definitely the most technically demanding track so far – and the most fun. The more notable features were an ascent up a rock face, long sections of narrow wooden bridging and some tricky rocky descents.
Two days later Geelong had received a years worth of rain in two days! Just getting to the registration area involved wading through mud and puddles a foot deep. Howling wind and driving rain – at least the last round was warm! Luckily, apart from the muddy start/finish area most of the course held up well.
After a good start I had a nervous first lap, overcooking two corners and falling to third place. I moved to second only to fall heavily soon after. A large wooden bridge descent became very slippery and my bike disappeared from under me. The planks were covered in ‘chicken wire’ to provide some grip so I now have a corresponding pattern on my right hip.
Climbing well on lap two and back in second place a strong gust of wind blew some of the course-marking tape into my bike, wrapping around the front wheel and handlebars, stopping me dead. Trying to untangle it covered in mud, my hands numb and shaking cost me almost a minute and I fell back to 4th place. It was discouraging but I felt really strong and was determined to work my way back into the race.
The next two laps I focussed on working the climbs and being smooth on the descents to take out second place. I achieved my goals of riding consistently and going into the National titles holding the series lead – worth a bit of mud and mild hypothermia I think!
My next race is the Australian Road titles in Ballarat on January 10. A course suited to mountain bikers with 10 laps of hills. I can't wait!