The national champs race was also to be my last "ELITE XCO" (cross country olympic distance) race.
The day was another warm one and I was keen for it to warm up some more if I had it my way (I love racing in the heat!) I had an ok start and with the track going straight up nursery road I knew I had to keep my eyes and options open as we hit the dirt into the steep narrow pinch, I was in the top 5 as we went over the top of the pinch but one of the riders in front of me started to let the gap open to Anton, Dirk and Carl. I started barking orders to keep on them or move over but it was all too late, the pace those guys were riding meant one small gap and they were gone! I settled into a good pace and knew that I was going to have to ride at that pace all day as if I went much deeper I would pay for it later.After a couple of small duals in the first couple laps I found myself brake clear of the guys around me and started to open the gap on them, the guys in front of me were well clear by this stage and having some fun smashing it trying to brake each other for the win. I ended up finishing the race 5th across the line and 2nd senior (Anton 1st, Dirk 2nd and Sam 4th are still under 23 riders) I am happy with my result and feel like it is the right time for me to step down from ELITE XCO. The future of the sport in NZ is in good hands with the riders and up coming talent that is on offer, I just hope they all remember why they started to ride (and race) MTB in the first place and keep pushing each other to go faster and get better while supporting each other at the same time. The NZ MTB scene is like a big family and I hope it stays that way!