Starting the last day I wasn't too keen to race. I was still disappointed that I didn't get a real race on the Thursday night. I was super keen to ensure that I was first into the single track so I could set the pace and not be held back from riding fast and having fun. After the police lead out I did manage to get there first. My aim wasn't to go nuts and try to bust off the front but to just set a pace that kept the boys working. There were quite a few sections where it would have been an advantage to sit on the back however I was enjoying setting the pace.
The first 20km to the drink station was mostly on new sections of track that still needed bedding in and often lacked flow. The second section had some awesome pieces of trail. In this section I tried to put the pace on a little and at times felt like I was making a gap. With about 10km to go I managed to get some serious chain suck and the boys went past as I was trying to unjam it. The chain had started its second lap around my front chain rings! Once I got sorted again it took quite a few minutes to catch the boys again. When I did, Aido was up the road a little as Andy looked like he had dropped it. I'm surprised he didn't launch a massive attack and we easily caught back up to him. With about 2km to go no one could get away so we decided to dedicate the stage Willo. This stage has traditionally been a stage dedicated to riders who had their lives cut short.
I really need to thank JP (from Merida) and his wife Em for taking us in for the week. You guys were awesome hosts! Thanks for looking after me and a couple of kids from Port Macquarie. Also a big thanks to JP's mate who was flawless with his drink bottle passes!
The Merida 09 was awesome for this event. There is no way I would want a dually on such short days when this bike is available.
My school, Heritage Christian School have also been very supportive in making this event possible for me and a couple of students.