Victorian Teacher’s Games, September 21-22 2009.
There were 40 competitors who fronted up for the road race in Bairnsdale on Monday, and from the moment the race started the attacks began, we wanted to shed as many as possible as quickly as possible, and before long there were only 5 in the lead bunch, including me. With only one other person in my age group in the break, I was very pleased when he attacked on a steep hill; I could see he was struggling, waited until he was exhausted, looked over at the two young fellows I was working with and counter-attacked; we blew him and one other rider away. Once it was just the three of us, we just worked together, me doing turns with Shane Stiles, A-Grade rider from Warragul CC and Victorian Masters Road Champion(!) who put in some massive turns, the other rider just hanging on to us. When it came to the end, I took the sprint and won my age group (40-49) and the Overall race, so I was pretty excited to say the least! Two gold medals for the day had me smiling all night!
So off I trotted to the Colquhoun State Forest the day after the road race for a three hour enduro 2 person mountain bike race, not having a single clue about what I faced, having never completed a mountain bike race in my life, and so nonchalant about it I ate fish’n’chips beforehand. So, on wife Tracy’s MTB, and with a partner (Brett Harvey) I only met a few minutes before, it was off to the start line. When I looked at the hardcore bikes and riders I was up against, I felt so out of my depth, especially when two got off their bikes to set my bike up properly (“How much air have you got in those tyres mate?!?!”). The first lap was…TERRIFYING!! I had been told that it was just a simple circular course, so when I found myself in a single line of riders, on a track inches wide, flying down a treacherous hill, with riders passing me left and right, as well as JUMPS (fer gossake!!), logs to hop over, low branches to decapitate even me and a massively steep uphill section (including one 100m bit you had to carry your bike up) I was ready to give up. But the second lap was a little less terrifying, and so on, and I slowly found myself actually enjoying the thrill and danger, and my lap times were challenging the guns, so I used lap times as a challenge. I found the better, more technical riders were much quicker than me downhill, but that I then caught and passed them with ease going uphill due to my fitness, especially as time wore on and fatigue set in. My average lap was 10 minutes; my best 9:27, and my partner was lapping well @ 12 minutes, so we were in it with a chance. As we neared the three hour mark, I was told I needed to do the last lap in under 9 minutes to win, so I just threw caution to the wind and rode like a maniac on the downhill section, then climbed as fast as I could, passed the leader and got to the line in 8:47, which meant Brett and I were one lap up and took the win and another Gold Medal!! I couldn’t believe my luck!