Last Sunday was the end of an era - nope, I am not all of a sudden ditching bikes! The Invercargill Winter Series for 2010 finished on a typical beautiful Invercargill day. I think Dunedin's weather could learn a thing or two from that place.
A good roadie friend of mine, Ruby Grant aka Mark Cavendish's future wife, joined me on the epic 6am mission to Invers, which made things fun. We were pretty hyper about the race (and seriously sleep deprived). Suffice to say she's now converted to dark side and hooked on racing. Stoked Rubes, well done on your 2nd place, and welcome to the dark side!
For me, Sunday's race was all about just getting back into the swing of things, and focusing on specifc skills, trying to get them honed for the big races later in the season. My specific aim for the race was to get ahead from the outset by making a strong sprint off the start, then maintain a consistent pace and dial each technical section. The sprint was awesome and going into the singletrack I was ahead of all of the girls and a few guys.
The remainder of the race was all about putting time between me and the girls behind, and I acheived this by being consistent and trying to ignore how non-responsive my legs were for the most part. For some reason I felt tired the whole race (probably fuelling issues), but managed to hold off and win by 4 minutes. Quite appropriate this was my first race on the Bergamont - still unbelievably responsive, reliable and quick!
Progress for me is about feeling stronger, racing faster and resisting fatigue for as long as possible. I have just compared Round 1's time to Rounds 6's time. I was trailing the series winner by 7 minutes in the first round, but lead her by 4 minutes in the final round. I am quietly please about this, as it shows I am becoming stronger and faster - a direct result of structured training.
With a new season comes a bunch of new opportunities, so I'd like to thank my sponsor, Bike Otago for their awesome support so far. You guys are so much fun to hang out with, and know your bikes backwards - I look forward to representing the team at this season's races and joining the staff for Summer - guaranteed to be a good laugh!
All the best to Charlotte Ireland, Jude Young, Erin Greene, Coaches and Support Crews for this weekend's 24 Hour World Solo Championships on Mt Stromlo, Canberra. Put it in the dog for the Kiwis!