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Topic: Dirt Riders Winter Series #3
The weird thing about Beaconsfield is that you go out there, do your race, and don't give a lot of thought to how much climbing is actually involved. Today was such a story - the track simply didn't feel all that hard physically. But at the end of five laps, it turns out we'd put in over 620m of climbing - which is a pretty significant amount by the standards of any course.

But that's all pretty normal of a Dirt Riders Winter Series race, or any at Beaconsfield for that matter. Other common themes of late are club races with small turnouts - 50 of us showing up to race today, with pretty much every A grader either on their way back from Timor, or tapering for the World Championships next week.

The result was only two A graders showing up to race, so they decided to start both B grade and A grade together. Hearing that, I decided to have a little fun - you see, my race starts are, I think I can reasonably say, pretty good. Good enough that on the starts (but starts only), I actually reckon I can hold my own - in the last six XCO races I've done, all of them have had me first into the first corner. So rather than letting Peter ride off the front and leave the rest of the bunch a long way behind catching up, I thought I'd have a bit of fun, and keep the bunch together - at least for the first km or so until we got to the fire-trail climb.

Dirt Riders Winter Series #3 start

And it worked out just as planned - holeshot to the first corner, the pace pretty high. Of course, as I knew would be the case, when we got to the climb that needed the strong legs I simply haven't had for the past 12 months, I yielded the track to let riders through. Unfortunately in the next section of singletrack a very large stray stick found my rear wheel, so I had to stop for some quick bike surgery - enough time that about seven more riders went through. It was only later after looking at the results I realied that this was the remainder of the field.

Throughout the race I then slowly picked off riders one by one, making up all those places I lost. Lap times were super consistent - in fact, all but my last (which was 20 seconds quicker) were within 8 seconds. Each lap I generally had someone within sight, so I had a pretty good reference as to whether I was making up time and how much time there was to make up.

The final laps saw me catch and pass Craig Cummings, but on the final lap he just kept himself pinned to my rear wheel, however I knew I'd make up some time on certain sections that I'd seen him walk on previous laps and that I had ridden flawlessly. I was a bit thrown though this time when both of them he rode, so rather than me making up a big gap, he was still there, putting on the pressure... but breathing heavily, which gave me a good cue to know I wasn't making it easy. That left him with nothing left on the final uphill sprint finish, where I just pinned it - and pushed my HR through the roof, which took a while to recover from :D

So while it seemed like I was passing about 2 riders per lap (except towards the end where there were a few more), I lost count, but managed to finish up inside the top 10 - all up though, I'm happy with both the recovery and the consistency in the laps. I might skip the next round though and get in some decent training for the Marathon Champs.
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