A great start is what I needed, and got (white skinsuit)
Photos from Madcross.org
Photos from Madcross.org
It feels good to be done with Nationals and have the weight off my shoulders. I tend to get wound up and for this one and by race day I need to be by myself as I prepare and get ready. I was pretty lucky to have Dave, Bob, and Jody there helping with my bikes and warmup so that I could fully focus on the race. It worked too, 8th on the day!
The course suited my style perfect. The churned up mud from the previous days had turned to ice and with the warming temps through the day the top became muddy yet the bottom was still frozen. I'm not sure I've ever ridden on anything that unpredictable before. Usually mud just requires an almost reckless power in a point, not steer, direction while ice requires delicate moves and steady handling, this was a cross of the two. I'd be putting the power down hard when the rear end would start backing around, or the front wheel would catch a rut and just toss you. Occasionally on the backside of the course on the high speed left sweeper you could get the whole bike to start drifting out from under you with both wheels and at that point it was just a quick prayer they did catch a rut or they'd both go out from under you and you'd end up on the ground like a good number of riders I saw.
The conditions were tough and almost dangerous I thought, at the speed we were going over that stuff I new a crash could be disaster. I saw multiple riders hit the ground and most would just lay there afterwards moaning, so my focus was on staying upright and going hard where the course allowed.
I seem to do well in these kind of conditions and never crashed once. I had a great start up in the top ten, then went forward as far as 7th and back as far as 11th at one point. I flatted once, but it was near the pits and I actually passed someone riding the flat to the pits, that's not normal?!
I made up two spots on the last lap and had a good battle going with Tonkin, but being in the front I had better lines and gapped him before the finish. I really was coming on strong the last lap and if we had done another lap Gillespie and Jaques-Mayne were in my sites, but it seems we ended one lap early as the finish time was only 51 minutes for Johnson and I think if we had gone the full 60 I might have been able to battle with those two at the end.
It felt good to finally have things come together and get the result I was looking for and feel capable of. Thanks again to Dave, Bob, Jody for helping out race day and all the fans I had out there yelling my name and cheering me on. It seemed like everywhere you were yelling for me and it was pretty cool. It was nice meeting all the other fans who stopped by the Planet Bike van and said hello, it's always fun to hear from people that read the blog and enjoy it.
I especially thank Planet Bike for the support through this season as I climb higher in the sport, I couldn't have done it this year without you, Thanks!