It was an early start for Mick and me this morning in order to get to the Hunter Valley winery region for stage 2 of the Port to Port. There is no doubt the region is beautiful; a lovely place to ride a bike.
Both of us have become very aware lately of how important it is for us to warm-up very thoroughly… especially as we get older. The start really doesn’t go well if you’re not sweating on the line. And despite our early planning, we were still left a little short on time mostly due to my want for ‘No. 2s’ and a severe lack of sufficient toilets!
Anyway… that’s about it.
Nah, okay – there was a little more to it.
I was very happy with my start then we climbed a big mountain, rode across a long undulating ridge on a dirt road, struggled around some blown-out motocross single-track, went down a long descent with a creek crossing at the bottom, smashed out a few kay of bitumen rolling turns in a fast group, struggled over another couple of climbs and finished at a winery. Job done.
I seem to have a thing with the numbers 3 and 69. For the second day in a row I was 3rd in category (out of 85) and 69th overall (out of 500+ / they say 700 but I don’t believe them). I’m very happy again although I would have been stoked to make up some time on 2nd and/or 1st but they are clearly strong guys, dragging some more time out of me to establish their leads. Full results are here.
I shouldn’t be too negative; we had a really good day in a beautiful area and the race atmosphere is brilliant with very friendly and happy people everywhere. It really is a testament to the positive nature of mountain bike racing. But I’m not overly impressed with the course so far. Hopefully the next two days will fill us with single-track thrills and go some way to get the flo-jo happening.
A highlight was our post-race recovery roll along Merewether Beach and cooling off the legs in the clear water. Newcastle really is a gorgeous place. Tomorrow will be interesting – the racing is hard and the legs are tired. Backing it up is the key.