We all made it to Cape Naturaliste today - dusty, tired and the legs well and truly toasted. I had a good ride crossing the line in 5th and securing 3rd place overall. Congratulations to Jenny Fay & Jodie Willet on their fine performances - taking out 1-2 on the stage and overall.
Today's stage was always going to be a tough one for me as it is a fast and furious 67km of mostly fireroad, rail trail and bitumen. I am no roadie, so the plan was to ride smart and strong. Right from the start the pace was on as the boys at the front had a real race on their hands. Lachie Norris was holding a 34 second lead over Andy Blair, and the others were fighting it out for pride and place on GC.
The front of the race.
I tried to hang tough with the main group early on but didn't have the power to hold on. Pretty quickly my legs were protesting. Keeping in mind I had 2.5hrs of this ahead of me I reluctantly slid off the back of a couple of trains and found a happier pace. Working hard all the way I ticked off the km's and beamed a smile when I got to the last 5km called Brown Street. This is a sweet little network of trails in Dunsborough.
The 'pea gravel' surface is sketchy as and definately sent a few weary riders down in a heap. I was enjoying the A lines and turns that much I didn't really want to finish the race!
However all good things must come to an end and, it was a great way to finish a great race.
Just as enjoyable as the race is the post-race debrief hanging out chatting to the many riders from all places, particularly the ones you spent time with throughout the race grovelling on their back wheel or chasing down a single track. One special mention has to be for fellow kiwi Basil who at 70years old finished the race in great time and was looking fresh as a daisy after the race when I caught up with him - legend!
Then we had presentations with champagne! Check out the sequence from event photographer Travis Deane...
Jenny blasts Jodie
And I even stayed pretty dry! Will post some riding photos soon too.
I think everyone who rode will agree this years race has been an absolute blast. An enormous thank-you and full credit to all event staff, volunteers and organisers. It has been a wonderful 4-days, cheers everyone! See you next year.