I would rather have titled that "blowing up the Motu160".... except it was me that did the blowing up. One bloody tough day at the office; that’s what the Motu160 is. And we are paying for it today.
The concept sounds simple enough. Do the MTB leg of the Motu Challenge, then hop onto the road bikes and blast back to Opotiki. Easy enough, except the MTB is 65km of gravel, long climbs, and often nastily wet/cold conditions. The road bike undulates, slaps you in the face with a stiff headwind, and depending on your race smarts and/or luck my leave you solo TT’ing for 90km+. Not easy.
Certainly so early in our season we thought we would get a good hard workout. We were confident we were fit. Speed and speed endurance had a question mark hanging over it.
Nic’s race was a bit of a character builder. Motu’s first 20-25km is generally a bunch ride till it hits the first real climb... so when she punctured just 10km in and watched the free ride disappear into the gloom she was in for a long day. Without the group to work with, and motivate it’s not so much fun. Isolated, she gritted her teeth and made the best of a bad day, holding 3rd overall till late in the road section when a recurrence of some vision issues forced her to cruise to the finish a disappointing 4th. Frustrated, gutted, but with a solid 160km in the training bank to be withdrawn later, hopefully with interest.
I on the other hand blew spectacularly with a bit of a death or glory approach. It was a pretty slow trip for the first 40min while all the hitters watched each other, or more likely watched Richard Ussher. Carl Jones made the first attempt to split it up as we hit the first real climb, and feeling surprisingly strong early on I followed Carls example and kept the pressure on. We soon went clear and set about extending the lead. We worked really well and I was happy to match his pace. The danger was Carl was a team rider, I was on my own. I was committed so we pressed on.
Carl distanced me on the final climb, but still I started the Road ride with almost 3min on the chasers (teams and solo’s), and set about my best impression of a Time Triallist with “only” 90km to go. It was tough knowing that some would be working together as team and individual riders shared the load in the chase. It worked for 70km till a strong Scott Thorne (also on his own working solo) caught me.
We tried to work together and he was very patient, but with about 12-13km to go my lights went out. I lost 5min in that last period, and even got caught for 2nd with about 800m left. Ah well. 3rd it was. It was a bold strategy, and I was off the front for ¾ of the race. Didn’t work, but I won’t die wondering. The positive is that I was good for 4hrs... much longer than any race I have coming up in the immediate future. Silver linings....?!