Dirks National Champs Race Report
NZ National Champs 2012
The previous years National Champs in Dunedin hadn’t gone the way I wanted them to, but I had made sure I learnt from my mistakes for this one. Nelson has always been a good track for me and I was feeling very confident that I would be able to put together a good race. It is one of the rougher courses we race on and it seems to suit my style of riding pretty well. Conditions were extremely dry and the trail surface was very loose, with a lot of small rocks and plenty of dust. And it was hot!
We started at a steady pace and I slotted in behind Mikey and Carl for the first downhill. Mikey was off to a flyer and quickly opened up a little lead. I was behind Carl so couldn’t do much about it but wasn’t too worried, as I was expecting it to be quite close for the early part of the race at least. Coming down the second main downhill, Carl washed out in front of me and suddenly the race was wide open. I quickly closed the gap to Mikey and then as I was feeling pretty good took the opportunity and moved into the lead. My legs had that extra bit of speed that I have been lacking for a while and it felt so good to be riding out in front of a race again.
Knowing that I had the advantage in the single trail sections which made up the majority of the course, I smashed it up the main road climb to open up a decent gap. There were several parts around the track where I could monitor the others’ progress and it was pleasing to first see that I was increasing my advantage, and then after several more laps move into a comfortable lead.
From there I was able to settle in and enjoy the rest of the race, focussing on keeping things smooth and controlled so I didn’t throw the win away with a careless mistake. The heat did start to get to me a bit on the last lap with a bit of cramp kicking in but nothing too bad. Coming into the finish to take the win in the Elite Mens race was such a great feeling and this will definitely go down as one of my most enjoyable days out on the bike.
Thanks everyone for your support. I am looking forward to getting out and racing in the National Champs Jersey this year and will definitely be making the most of it.