My lead up to the Kona Odyssey was looking really good. I was smashing out the low intensity kms during January with the plan to have 1 week of recovery and 3 of hills before the race. As the intensity started so did my tonsillitis leaving me unable to ride. As I downed the second script of antibiotics it was time for some easy wind training and then taper for the KO. Not the ideal prep!
I was pretty keen for this race, it always attracts an impressive field and takes in some really fun trails around Forrest. Normally I try to fly down early to get a practice on the Red Carpet section of track but this year we had to rush through registration to get to Apollo Bay for some carb loading. It was great hanging out with the Merida guys and being able to stay 50m from race start.
My race prep was looking pretty good until I opened my bike box to find my tyre had blown off the rim. At 10:30pm it took a CO2 to get the thing inflated and an obvious lack of Stans fluid had me quite concerned...
The race started in the typical format with no real attacks off the front. The pace just didn't slow when we hit the first climb and my legs weren't prepared to stay with the front guys. Three kms later, through the private property that requires a bit of walking, I managed to catch back up to the chase group. We worked together as we hit the tar road and we must of had 7 riders with us. AJ who had broken his chain rejoined about the 30km mark and started to put the hurt on the group. Around 35km we caught up to 2nd place who was fixing a flat tyre. A few kms later I stopped to check on an injured Shaun Lewis whilst topping up my front tyre. It sucks when bad luck stops you from finishing a race.
At the top of the Red Carpet I made sure I put heaps of air in my tyre and it held up for the rest of the race. This section had changed a bit since I last rode it but is heaps of fun. Coming across the 50km drink station I was starting to pick up a few more places after dropping back to 8th. I was looking out for my drink bottle but I wasn't keen to slow down.
From the next section of single track and back into town I managed to pick up another few spots and I moved up into 4th place. Going through Forrest I was glad JP was around to yell at me to grab a bottle of Shotz or I would have gone thirsty. I was starting to feel good and I was just aiming to stay ahead of 5th place. I really enjoy the single track around Forrest. I only overcooked one corner as I was having a bit too much fun. I'm glad I had the glasses on through here as there were heaps of plants trying to eye gouge.
Heading out onto the final 16km I grabbed another Shotz and headed out for the final 2 climbs. I was feeling really quick until half way up the first climb where I switched over to recovery mode. I like the blind corners in this section to keep you guessing.
When I hit sledge hammer my legs were already hammered. I struggled up looking forward to the downhill home. I punched up the last little pinch with about 2km to go. My chain decided not to join me for this section and I got to scoot / run for the last section. I was sure 2 riders would pass me and I would be out of top 5! I've got no problem getting beaten by the 3 awesome riders in front of me. Now I just need to get some hills in my legs before the Mountain to Beach stage race with some kids from my school!
It was great to catch up with Darryl from Shotz and Chanh from Adidas Eyewear. Its great to see these guys supporting so many events.
A big thanks to JP for feeding me and being taxi.