I arrived at Taree for round 1 of The Finish Line Single-track mind series which was due to be held at the awesome trails of Kiwarrak state forest also know as the “Tip Trails”, And as usual the Taree trail fairy’s had been at it again with not a leaf or stick out of place! The atmosphere was pumping and everyone was ready to have a ball for either 4 or 7 hours.
This time I would be going solo for 4 hours, it was something different to the usual races I go after with most only being an hour to 2 hours long, it was going to be a great challenge. With Port To Port only just around the corner it would be the perfect race to get some quality kilometers in the legs.
Looking around at who would be competing at Round 1, I knew it was going to be a hard day at the track! Post riders briefing we all rolled down to the start, which was going to be a fire road drag followed by some wicked flowing Single-track. Everyone was anxious to let it rip. I positioned myself well off the start sitting around third wheel with Jack Lavis stomping it on the front. Positions were constantly changing until we came to a tight left hand corner and entered the single track, I was around fourth behind riders such as Andrew Lloyd, Ed McDonald who were in the hunt for 7hr victory, I knew I had to get past. With a big train of riders weaving in and out of the trees, the field was starting to sort itself out and once we came to a little climb it would be Jason English who went motoring past me followed closely by Apollo’s Grant Webster.I quickly tried to bridge the gap to get on Grants wheel before the next part of the single-track but ended up sitting closely behind with around one kilometer I knew Jon Odams would make a move and try and get around Grant and I.
I completed the first lap sitting in a comfortable seventh position and decided to back the pace off a few notches to make sure I wouldn’t destroy my legs in the first two hours. I then settled into a very comfortable pace and I felt great on my Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5. The 27.5 wheels smashing it through the “Hero Dirt” and the dual suspension providing a perfect amount of comfort for 4 hours of racing. I was loving every moment being on my bike and riding some of the best trails around.
Everything was going well and when the clock clicked over three hours with around 65 km in the legs it was time to put everything I had into the last hour and really make it count. I knew I was really close to Grant Webster competing in the 4 hour solo male category and just out of reach of Jack Lavis. I had a very comfortable lead in the Junior Male category but I really wanted to take out the outright win in the 4 hour category but this was just a little to far out of my reach. I tore my legs off trying to make up the time I had lost early on but it wasn’t good enough against such quality competitors. I crossed the line on my final lap which would be surprisingly my fastest lap, and finishing just thirty seconds behind Grant (2nd place) and a further twenty five seconds off Jack (1st place) after 4 hours it all came down to some very close racing. This all mean’t that I would take out the Junior solo male category finishing a whole lap over 2nd place.
The excitement wasn’t over yet with the 7 hour riders still slogging it out on course and with Ed and Jason being glued together nearly the whole race it was going to come down to who had the legs. Who wouldn’t stick round?
In the end with Andrew Lloyd a few minutes behind the two leaders it was going to be Jason who would ride over the line in first to claim victory with Ed 2nd and Andy 3rd. Overall it was a fantastic day out thanks to the guys from Chocolate foot for putting on yet another great event. Also a big thankyou to the guys from TBSM for all there on going support for all my adventures throughout Australia.