Monday, February 15, 2010

Final Stage 7 Hells Gates

Tues Morn. 4x4 track, hardpack beach sand, deep sand 4x4 track, dirt roads and bitumen. 36km.
The final stage... Previous years had winning times of just under an hour so we would be averaging around 35kmph. I definitely wasn't looking forward to it. My main goal was to try and hang with the bunch along the beach.
Before the race. All smiles....
The stage started in town and was a controlled rollout in our groups to the startline just out of town. Passing through the banner it was Willo and Rob Eva attacking off the front. Funny to watch but I knew this would be the race when we hit the beach.
Onto the beach i was safely tucked into the group. The usual attacks and weaving was going on up front and i was holding on(just...) Sadly i missed one of the surges and just couldn't get back on. Damn.

off the back.....

So i was out in the open by myself. Cranking along but slowly loosing ground. Up ahead i could see Mark Fenner off the back of the bunch but this was more due getting caught by a some fishermans hook who seemed unaware that 400+ riders were going to be racing past. At this stage 2 riders had caught me up and i rolled turns with them to get off the beach.
Off the beach and onto dirt road I was still struggling and the 2 guys i'd been on the beach with rode away. Pretty annoyed with my legs at this stage I struggled along knowing the group behind me were catching. Thankfully the road turned off onto a sandy 4x4 trail and i could do what i'm best at. Mountainbiking...
I caught up a few places on the deep sand. Riding and running the trail just like in the Red Centre MTB Enduro. Moral up i was looking forward to the finish....
The 4x4 track changed back onto dirt roads and bitumen and I was cursing as i got repassed by 3 of those i passed in the deep sand. Pushing as hard as i could to the finish i knew this was my final position.

The finishline, finally...
So 7th in Open and 12th Overall. Slightly disappointed with my last stage ride, something to work on for next time, all in all though it was a sweet race and I was happy with the ride. Definitely going to do it again in 2012.
Big thanks to Melissa for being my support crew for the race. Driving the Campervan. Being at the end of each stage and looking after my food, etc over the 4 days.
After the race we stayed for a few more days to get some riding in.

Mel at Laughing Jack Lagoon. A 60km roundtrip from our campsite at Tarraleigh.

Some of the hydroelectric pipelines are still made from wood. (number plate still on, living the dream...)
We also rode the Glenorchy bike park just out of Hobart. Well worth the trip.

1 comment:

asfastasicanforaslongasican said...

well done again Ben..great posts and pix. Such a shame telstra prevented you from updating us as it happened, but at least the results were up very quickly