Nationals was a blur this year. An important meeting on Friday meant an evening flight to Canberra. One practice lap Saturday before retiring to air conditioning for the rest of the day. With the starters gun firing at 8.30am an early night was on the cards and before I knew it I was on the startline wishing I'd had a couple more laps to dial in my lines through the technical challenges Stromlo's World Champs course offers up.
The race itself...after a warm up that consisted of rolling from the car to the marshalling area...went pretty well. Followed wheels and stayed out of the wind along the fireroad, was second into the singletrack climb and when the leader made an error I found myself leading the race with a good gap. I probably should have exploited it but feeling pretty tight and weak with no warm-up I just tempoed my way around the first lap being caught by two riders as we began the second lap.
One went away, we brought him back, the other went away and stayed away before I mad some errors on the technical climb and a gap formed to the second rider. Trying to concentrate on just riding smooth I probably eased the intensity a little and was put into fourth place as we started the bell lap.
This guy was flying and I didn't have the legs to hold his wheel up the climb. Knowing I was faster on the decent I let him go, the floor in my plan was the lap traffic I encountered on the decent which I was only able to pass half way down. I nailed the rest of the decent and ended up negative splitting the race, but it wasn't enough and I crossed the line fourth, a two second gap to third and 11 to second. I'd like to say next time, but looking at lap times I think next time will be with an elite plate on and I've got a ways to go before challenging for the podium there.
Straight home following the race due to work today meant I was only in Canberra for about 40 hours, and didn't even see the Elite boys and girls go round. Buller next weekend, looking forward to those Glen Jacobs trails.