For this years race Andrea organized us to ride up through a farm and then join Rapaki near the top. So less road and a much tougher climb had me slightly concerned about the day in the saddle. Plus a top notch NZ field meant it was going to be extra painful. But my home town, my home tracks, should provide that much needed advantage right? Not today, but more on that latter. Let me take you back to the time we were on THE CLIMB. The start was fast at times around the road, but it seemed to settle down as we got closer to where the fun begun. I was sitting comfortably up the front and I soon found myself in 3rd. The pace was fast and I was pleased to be where I was. On the 2nd pinch climb (which was a decent pinch) most riders got off and ran/walked. I didn't want to do this as it always rapes my calfs. While riding up I moved into 2nd just behind defending champ, soon to be 2010 champ and fellow Bergamont Endura team mate Brendon Sharrat. Although that sounds very good I was actually totally stuffed by the time I got to the top. And then I realized that it kept climbing after that! Maybe If there was some downhill after it I might have been able to recover earlier and still been in contact with the leaders. But instead one by one riders past me until I was back in 6th. Brad Hudson, now being just in front of me gave me someone to hold onto. This ended as soon as we dropped on to Rapaki. Brad pulled away slightly and by the top he was on a mission! Objective - to hunt down and pass all other riders. So, I was on my own. And this is where the home town advantage NEVER kicked in. I was so tired from the climbs that I couldn't get focused on the single track. Slow riding and silly mistakes brought my confidence to an all time low. After a decent time of no real climbing while on Greenwood I started to feel better. By Captain Thomas I was pretty much fully recovered and was able to put in a satisfying descent. Lastly, I had the flat road to dominate then it was all done and dusted for another year. I am very happy with my 6th place. One place down on last year but in a tougher field. And I can feel that I am faster than last year. Right now, as I write this I am feeling surprisingly fresh. Probably go and do a few hour easy tomorrow. So I know my endurance is good. I just can't help thinking that if I had walked/run up that pinch climb, would I have saved energy, would I have held that top 3 position?