Sunday, September 19th, 2021

Terra Australis Day 1


65kms & 1700m climbing
Time: 3:12
Place: 1st mixed pairs and 4th overall (10 minutes behind leader)

The first kilometre of any mountain bike race is usually an anxious one, but when the race is going to last for seven days there was even more anticipation than usual. The start was congested but the long climb out to Mt Mackay soon cured that. The big unknown for the day was how we were going to fare in the ebb and flow of team’s racing.
The strategy was pretty simple for us: conserve on both up and downhills and put some points in the bank for later in the race. We are carrying a lot of gear (spare tyre etc) in the event of a catastrophic event and took it a bit easier on the downhills than others (though still moving along). Our two main competitors were with us – or just ahead of us – until the 20km mark. Mark Fenner and Jo Wall (Torq) broke a derailleur hanger coming out of a creek crossing just in front of us which cost them time. Not long after we understood that the second Torq team – Becky Mates and Dean Clarke – also suffered mechanical problems when an errant stick found its way into Becky’s rear mech. Becky and Jo both had crashes as well, making it a very difficult first morning for both of them.
In the end we were relieved to get through unscathed and happy that our conservative approach worked for us today. Jess and I communicated well, helped each other and rode a really consistent race to finish 11 minutes up and in fourth position overall. The `ice bath’ in the Falls Creek Wishing The well was a great innovation, and it will be an afternoon of clothes washing and stomachs filling.


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