Ok, so the big one. It was on like donkey kong, in the mud. I was fairly relaxed for this race considering it was nationals. I wasn't expecting much from myself as this season has been quite unsuccessful, mainly due to myself and starting to work full time. Also with it being a mud feast there is always going to be some sort mechanical issue. I had an ok start. Bettering my seeded position. As we hit the first hill the pace was pretty hot, not too hot to touch but I decided it was better to pace myself. This worked well and heading into the second lap I was gaining on other riders. This carried through to the third lap but on the muddy decent I crashed twice in the space of a few meters (much to the enjoyment of friends watching, so I was told after). I didn't lose any places here but I lost a fair bit of time. Then once I hit the next hill I realized that the inevitable had happened. A mechanical stopped me from using my bottom gears. So I was pushing some big gears from here and being held up slightly because I had no choice but to go fast. Heading out onto the 4 lap I dropped my bottle in the feed zone which I was desperate for so I could attempt to clean my bike a bit with it. As I got onto the main hill I thought I would try changing down a few gears but noooo. So I ended up running it. After this, I was toast! When I got to the tech zone I took the opportunity to fix my bike as best I could. I used Paul's air compressor (thanks Paul) to blow as much of the dirt and mud out of my gears as I could. Here is where I found out my hanger was bent. I bent it back with my hand till it seemed to work. Then I was off again. Now a fair way back through the pack compared to where I was before. I wasn't riding for long until I got bad cramp. I collapsed on the track and massaged it out but as I went to stand up again...
But the cramp came back,
I thought it was a goner,
but the cramp came back.
It just wouldn't stay away.
This repeated a couple of times before I managed to ride again. Once I got back to the start finish after that shocker of a lap I called it quits. My legs were routed, my bike wasn't in great condition and I was so far back through the field I just didn't see the point.
It was a bit disappointing really as I was feeling the best I had all season and I was in a good position. 4th u23 and closing down on 3rd. But seeing my mind was in a relaxed, no worries state I was accepting of my unfortunate race.
Congrats to Carl! He had a mean race. Wish I could have watched the race.
Also thanks to Bergamont bikes and Endura clothing. You guys were great support throughout the season. And my parents for helping out where ever they can.