Recently being appointed MTBA Vice President I had my first experience of seeing a National Series race from a different perspective. It’s no secret that the series was in doubt after Cycling Australia pulled out of delivering on their agreement with MTBA at the last minute. It was only with the hard work of the Adelaide Club, Inside Line, volunteers and MTBA personnel that last Sunday’s race happened at all. On top of that we had a bushfire warning thrown in for good measure due to the 45 degree days of a heatwave.
Knowing the challenges which were being overcome behind the scenes, as I rider I thought the race was one of the more organised and well run. I’m not after bells-and-whistles at these races. You want to impress me? Make the event run on time, where it was supposed to run and make sure there is a coffee van. All boxes ticked in Adelaide.
Although the Eagle Park course isn’t known as particularly technical in that there are no massive drops or rock gardens, it can still come back and bite you due to the loose surface and rocky off-camber corners and quite a few elite riders sported bandages after the race. Sections like Sunset Boulevard with its jumps and fast berms made the descents something I looked forward to on every one of our 6 laps. My heart rate almost maxed out getting through a deceptively easy looking crushed granite section at the end of the course. Then I was soft pedalling through the feed zone to recover before the steep gravel pinch at the start of the next lap.
Finishing just out of the medals in 4th place I was reasonably happy after a while away from the National XC scene. I’m hoping to get these old(er) legs moving a little faster in time for the National Championships in Bright in March.
It’s always hard leaving Adelaide with its amazing riding, restaurants, local ciders (try the Lobo Cloudy – awesome!) and especially just before the Tour Down Under kicked off. Perhaps someone will have a tour guide position available for me when I retire?
Massive thanks to my sponsors for 2014: Giant Bikes, Ride Mechanic, For The Riders and Shotz Nutrition.