How lucky I was to race in such beautiful place as Derby, Tasmania. Having three days of riding the track prior to the race was a great opportunity. It unfortunately was never going to prepare me for the gruelling 90km race, made up of three 30km laps. The temperature being 5 degrees was always going to be an issue with a 8.30am race start. We paraded up Main Street, Derby for 1km before hitting the first climb that continued for 5kms. After reaching the top, Brendan Johnston and Mark Tupalski had a slight lead, with Andy Blair and myself sitting in 3rd and 4th position. During the descent, heading into the first single trail section of the course, Andy Blair and I were caught by local rider Ben Mather. Andy maintained 3rd while I dropped to 5th. These positions remained the same until midway through the second lap when I passed Ben Mather but was caught by Shaun Lewis. Heading into the final lap, I made the mistake of not picking up enough food and water through the feed zone. Managing to stick with Shaun Lewis for the first quarter of the last lap, I soon realised the severity of my lack of nutrition. The race turned from a fight to gain 4th place to me having to defend my 5th position. The most evident sign of fatigue was that I started to lose my vision – a new extreme way of racing MTB. With around an hour of the race to go, the inability to make out the rocks and roots on the course made it inevitable for a crash (which happened but was thankfully not position altering or body harming). Dusting it off and continuing on, I managed to hold 5th place which was a huge win for me. Super Happy. 5th place at the Australian Champs. Congrats to Brendon Johnson (1st), Mark Tupalski (2nd), Andy Blair (3rd), Shawn Lewis (4th). Thanks to everyone for all the messages and support – awesome motivation.
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