Lee Valley 75km Enduro, New Zealand 2006

05/02/06
So... first race of the year. It wasn't part of the plan until Thursday - a customer of Cam's told him about it and he decided we should have a go. We managed to scrape late entries, and then we just watched the weather forecast get worse for today... Typcially, after a month of great weather, my first wet ride here is also my first race outing. Ah well, c'est la vie. The event was a 75km point to point MTB race, on dirt/gravel roads with four big climbs totalling 1300m. It rained heavily as we drove to the start, but did manage to stop before the start. There were 270 starters, with a decent amount of quality racers at the sharp end. The course kicked off with a 300m climb, so got the field sorted out. I attacked early and took two riders with me. We stayed away for the first half of the race before being caught by three chasers to make six at the front. The non-technical nature of the course (excepting the wet gravel and river crossings) made it a bit like a road race on mtbs - drafting made a big difference, especially with the headwind on the flat sections. By the penultimate climb we were riding in heavy rain and had reduced the front group to three. With the hard course and the conditions it was really a race of attrition - at the end it wasn't really a case of who would pop, as we were all pretty stuffed, but more who would pop the least.... Having not ridden that hard, let alone for that long, since last season, I knew my legs would go eventually, and sure enough, I couldn't follow the wheels on the last climb and so had to ride in alone for 3rd. Happy with that, except that I only got $100, compared to the winner's $1000! Fast race though - course record is 2:58; the winner did 3:01 and I did 3:03 - we would have smashed it in better weather. Anyway, pretty encouraging and a good warm up for the Karapoti in two weeks time.