My memories of last years Evocities round at Bathurst weren't very fond. A sleepless night due to some nasty water and freezing conditions were two things I was pretty keen to avoid. Luckily this time both things were avoided and I had a great trip.
My logistics were fun with a bit of a car and train trip to make the journey to Bathurst possible. On Saturday afternoon I had a quick Q & A with a few juniors and other keen riders before an easy lap. I showered at the amazing shared club facilities before participating in the $5 pasta feed. The Bathurst Club did a great job of creating a social atmosphere and being billeted out made me feel very welcome.
With a 9.30am start I got to sample the barista skills of my hosts before a casual ride out. While I thought 40mins would have been enough time to ride out, I was almost cutting it a little fine when my ride took almost one hour.
Looking at the other riders on the start line, I knew there was going to be a pretty solid battle. I was tipping Shaun Lewis to be the biggest threat beating me easily last year on the same track and finishing 5-6 minutes ahead of me a week earlier at the Marathon National Champs.
My plan was to try and stay with Shaun for as long as possible. I knew he would push me harder than I could maintain for the 6hr however, I didn't want to give him any lead on this track. The track was quite twisty and there weren't many place that it was worth putting in extra power. It was a track that was really easy to ride efficiently however, the more you pedaled, the more you had to brake.
The race started with a lap around the velodrome which allowed riders to sort positions before the mostly single track course began. The track surface was quite sandy and the rain during the early morning made conditions perfect. It didn't take long however, for the sun to dry the track again which had me cautious when cornering. I was quite enjoying the pace Shaun was setting however, I wasn't keen to hit all the downhills at the same speed he was. On two sections each lap he was able to make around 15-20 meters which at times seemed to take ages to catch up. Knowing I was working harder to play catch up I knew the end of the race would get interesting. I was sure I would have had the stronger legs at the end of 6hrs. A change of nutrition during the last 3 laps and with tired legs Shaun was easily able to ride away on the last lap.
I rode across the line not concerned at all with position as I felt I went pretty solid for the whole 6hrs and had completely emptied the tank!
A big thanks to Sam for the lift, the Porters for the B&B, Robbie from Drift Bikes for tweaking my bike, Duncan from DIY for the new ceramic bearings and Jason and Ian for passing bottles.