27/11/10 My last race of the year.
The Grate lake cycle challenge is New Zealands biggest cycling event by far, with around 10 thousand riders and events ranging from 40km rely to 1000km enduro, with the main event being the 160km road ride around lake Taupo.
This year was the third year of the MTB event, getting longer each year its now 82km mostly single track and on some of NZs best (under rated) single track. The day was hot with no clouds to block the sun and next to no wind, just a perfect day really. We started the race at 7:00am and the pace was like the day, HOT! From the gun it was hammer down, I hit the single track in 1st and tried to open the gap/force a small group at the front and keep the pace hot. Tim (t-rex) Wilding and Dirk Peters both came with me and we opened up a gap early on, t-rex had the same idea as I did so we kept swapping the lead and pushing the pace. I got a small gap on one of the steeper climbs about 1hr10 into the race and then t-rex had a small crash on the decent letting the gap open some more, Dirk was the first to catch back up to me then t-rex awhile after. So it was back to the three of us and the way the other two are riding I’m thinking I cant waste energy and I’m better to sit in second and follow the pace in the single track. Not far before we hit some gravel road Dirk had a problem with his gears leaving t-rex and me to it, we started lapping on the gravel and at one point could see Dirk trying to get back to us, but that was the last time we saw him as he started to blow soon after. T-rex and I kept the pace on, swapping the lead and both doing work to keep the lead. We had to jump off and run for a short part while we shared the walking track from Spa park to Huka falls, Once that was over I could feel a twinge of cramp in my legs, so a quick swig of coke and that helped until the next climb. I sat behind t-rex for a while taking a swig of coke at the bottom and top of all the climbs on the way back to spa park, taking the lead just before spa park and setting the pace up the last couple climbs to make sure no attacks would happen. As we rode past the boat harbour we were side by side and gave each other a pat on the back, deciding the only thing to do at the finish was, DRAG RACE! We both rode down the finish straight watching each other and as t-rex jumped to open the sprint I reacted jumping to sprint as well. T-rex managed two pedal strokes and I got four out before our legs locked with cramp, the four I was able to get out gave me the momentum and the win. 82km of mostly single track in 3hr 43min 45sec.