This race has for a long time now haunted me. DNF's, hospital visits, etc. This year I had one main goal, finish. The sleep deprivation started Friday night with plenty of wake-ups from a nasty storm that ripped through - destroying plenty of tents around us. Race day rose with tired racers assessing the damage. However, even with several inches of rain falling, the track seemed to be holding up ok.
By race start, the weather was fine, the atmosphere was pumping, the kids were having fun and I was ready to roll. Getting a good start kept me out of trouble as I settled into a nice easy pace. For the first few hours I rolled around with Carson Tully and Jason English, with a couple of riders smashing it out in front. With rain forecast overnight, I was happy to save the legs for when the going got tougher. Jason decided to chase down Troy and get himself in the lead. By the time I caught up with Troy the rain had begun and the track was getting slippery and very taxing on the legs. We were discussing the option of stopping, but I though back on my main goal and decided to persevere with the testing conditions and simply keep rolling around. Jason was slowly but consistently pulling away from me and Brad Davies shadowing me from a bit too close a distance. I was committed to giving all I could to keep the number two spot.
All was on track until a severe pain hit me in my right knee. Pain is something iI am pretty used to during these events, but this pain was bad. After loosing some precious minutes in the closing laps, I needed to make a decision . Do I go out on anther lap and risk a long term injury but possibly hold onto second or do I stop and more than likely fall off the podium. I decided to go out on another lap, but pretty soon after leaving I realised the pain was too much and I was reduced to walking. Brad came past me while I was on the side of the track and I knew that was it, finish this lap and third is the best I can do.
Overall, I am very happy with my race. For the first time ever I was able to eat without throwing up. And all it took was something my masseur said a couple of weeks ago. Amazing really after many doctors, nutritionists and other health professionals being unable to figure out or fix this major issue which has plagued my racing since the start. It has even given me motivation to do some proper training in preparation for next years major events.
I need to give a big thank you to Robyn (super pit chick), my parents (for doing a fantastic job with the kids, helping Robyn & driving us all home safely!), Ben from Kona (for keeping my bikes in tip top shape) and Ann Schilg (for helping Robyn out for many hours). Also, a big thanks to my sponsors, especially Kona, SRAM, Mavic, Pedros, Adidas Eyewear and AyUp.
Photos will be posted shortly, still haven't unpacked.