I would like to thank the weatherman for being ridiculously bad at his job today! The forecast 150mls of rain turned out to be a morning drizzle followed by stunning sunshine. But the damage had already been done to the altered course and the 20k circuit was now consisted of 17k of fire-trail, 3k single-track. The first 10k was dry uphill fire-road, while the descent took us into dense bush land that was still very wet, extremely muddy and soo much fun!
The relay format gave us an opportunity to play out some race tactics and try to extend our 41 second lead. So we decided that I would go first in an attempt to pace off the men, and hit the descent before it got too ‘chopped up’. We were the only mixed pair to do so which would made it a risky chase from behind for Jarrod.
I raced hard from the gun, seeking a wheel that was just above my comfort zone to really push my limits on the climbs. I was constantly chasing wheels and changing groups and on a few occasions sprinted to the top of the hill as if it were the finish line! When the ascending finally ended I knew I could just enjoy the muddy downhill slopes and let loose!
When I transitioned with Jarrod the race was looking interesting:
Michael Crosbie to Jenny Fay 46.10min
Tristan Ward to Emily Parkes + 2.42
Ben Allen to Jacqui Slack + 3.21
Stephen Matthews to Jenni King + 3.22
Jarad Kohlar to Renata Bucher + 5.39
Peta Mullens to Jarrod Moroni + 7.05
So now it was time for me to sit there, fret, and be nervous for 50mins until they came around for the finish. Our goal for the day was to extend our lead over Bucher/Kohlar, but a stage win never goes unwelcomed. I was confident Jarrod would catch Bucher, so my focus turned to the stage and the only team threatening that was the combination of Crosbie/Fay, on a course that suited them down to a tee. From all reports the course was manic on the second lap and the mud sliding uncontrollable! Lucky for us, Fay and mud don’t get along all that well, and Jarrod much prefers drifting as opposed to pedaling; so the pass was made on the final part of the descent and we took the to win in 1:45:14.
2nd - Fay / Crosbie + 1.21
3rd – Bucher / Kohlar + 2.44
4th – King / Matthews + 3.16
5th – Slack / Allen + 4.54
General Classification after Stage 2
1st – Mullens / Moroni 3.10.33
2nd – Bucher / Kohlar + 3.25
3rd – King / Matthews + 9.52
4th – Fay / Crosbie + 10.36
5th – Slack / Allen + 11.36
Tomorrow they have altered the stages yet again. The morning 14km Time Trial has become a mass start race, and the 3pm QOM/KOM is now a team relay, with the night stage relay now cancelled. Fingers crossed for a little more sunshine...