I really didn’t mean to, I had no expectation of doing so, and I still don’t quite believe that I did. But a few weeks ago, I went and won the solo part of the 12 hour Day Night Thriller race in Taupo, New Zealand. This was my last warm-up race before the big scary one, the World Solo 24 hour champs in Canberra on 9-10 October.
I’ve done the Taupo race a few times before, as part of a team and solo. I even did it solo on a singlespeed cyclocross bike a few years ago. So I knew what to expect. It is usually a mediocre course, only about 8 km with not much climbing and with far too many teams and solos (including a full 6 hour race) making the trails very crowded. There wasn’t much change this year, except some new trails and areas of logging, made for some different terrain and a couple of noticeable climbs. The sheer number of riders crowded around the track didn’t change though. I don’t want to bad-mouth the event, as it is squarely aimed at a particular market – those who want to ride a few relatively easy laps on social teams. It would be nice if they catered a little for the solos though.
So my plan was pretty simple. I was going to go out fast and just hang on. I don’t do that normally. I go out comfortable and try to maintain the pace throughout. This usually sees me dropping off the leaders pace, then trying to reel them back in. I end up finishing OK, maybe in the top three or four, and thinking that maybe I could have gone faster. Not this time. This time I’d either break myself or everyone else.
Mr Smith @inspiringriding
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