The road race turned out to be quite a short event for me which is very disappointing. At 39 degrees conditions were tough and I tend to struggle in the heat despite being born and raised in Cairns. No need to warm up in those conditions just get on the bike and roll around for 15 minutes. The first lap was a bit nervous as I am not used to climbing and descending with so many other riders. I was a bit psychologically scarred from being brought down in the crit it was pretty off-putting going down a hill at 80kph with someone locking their brakes up beside me or swerving into my front wheel.
On the second lap I tried to get to the front toward the end of the climb so I could go at my own pace and then ride consistently across the top so I was toward to pointy end for the descent. The feed zone was placed on the first climb and most girls were grabbing bottles every lap then having to accelerate up the climb to catch up to the main bunch. On the third lap I took my bottle but was unable to maintain contact with the main bunch. With no hope of getting back on I was faced with the choice of 8 more lonely, hot, pointless laps or to conserve whatever fitness I had for the MTB nationals the following week by pulling out.
I made what I thought was the smart choice although a distasteful one, leaving Ballarat with 2 DNFs. The next week will no doubt be spent in the room of mirrors, having a good look at myself and in consultation with my coach to see what went wrong. Too much training? Not enough? Just a bad day in the heat?
The most important thing I learned is that it is very unwise to race without goals. My former running coach always had us set A,B and C goals for our races. I had failed to do that so when my A goal (to stay with the bunch for a chance at a good finish) was gone I lost my reason to race. A B-goal may have been to complete a set number of laps or ride with a team-mate to the end. Sometimes we know what we should do, we just need to be reminded to do it!