Saturday, 23 November 2013


After overnight rain and morning drizzle it was hard to be motivated for the 9km 'cruise' to the now 14km mass start stage. The transit wasn't without havoc with someone suffering a broken collarbone and the lead van getting bogged before being pushed to safety by Trekky and Vandy. My thoughts are that a 'cruise' stage is designed for one purpose, to get riders to some awesome trails that can't be I was devastated to find that we had ridden 9k of fire-trail, to race 14k of fire trail, and 'cruise' another 7k back to race headquarters..argh! It was a half hour wait before the race started on a narrow road with self-seeding of riders-it was carnage when we hit the first mud corner!

I was well positioned and went out hard, but as we climbed Bucher stormed by with Kohlar in chase, and Fay was powering along, propelled by the ever strong hand of Crosbie. I was suffering on the climbs and was eventually caught by the combinations of Moller/ de Groot and King/ Matthews and relied on Jarrod to keep me in touch with them thanks to a few pushes. The fire-trail was wet and mud flicked in the eye until I could see only blurs of colour, and as I descended blindly behind Jarrod I overshot a quick corner and found myself in the bush..crash #1..

It was a hard but short chase back to the bunch and not long after..crash #2..when de Groot fell into partner Moller on a climb! After a bit of recovery on the wheel, Jarrod put the power down and we rode away in the last few kms to save a third place on the stage. Fay and Crosbie took their first stage win, while Bucher and Kohlar claimed some time back on us for the overall. We guessed our way back to base on the return 'cruise' in miserable conditions to find that the afternoon stage has once again been cancelled.

1st- Fay / Crosbie          33.55min
2nd- Bucher / Kohlar    + 37
3rd- Mullens / Moroni   + 1.23
4th- King / Matthews    + 1.29
5th- Moller / de Groot   + 2.05

General Classification after Stage 3
1st- Mullens / Moroni     3.45.51
2nd- Bucher / Kohlar    + 2.39
3rd- King / Matthews    + 9.13
4th- Fay / Crosbie         + 9.58
5th- Slack / Allen          + 13.35

Racing aside, my enthusiasm is on a downward spiral for the Hellfire Cup. There is only so much motivation I can have in rain stricken fire-road races, and I think I nearly used the end of it today. Please Duncan, give me some more single-track!