Waking up in St Albans on Sunday morning, before the start of the Dirt Works 100km race, I was blown away by the amazing scenery, but wondered if I should be a little concerned that all I could see, in any direction, were large, green, misty hills. Fortunately I’d had a good, long look at the altitude map for the event and knew there were only two super steep ascents. The view of the hills around me now promised spectacular views this event would allow us as we traversed the terrain above.
My race went really well. After a stressful few weeks of work and study, I found that I couldn’t wait to just get out there and pedal all day to clear my mind and take everything in. So I did! My legs felt really strong all day (that FTP training program is obviously working its magic!) and, as usual, I couldn’t imagine a better bike for the event.
Competitively speaking, I lost a bit of time to a few different things – an epic gel fail covered the whole left side of my bars in sticky slime (pretty funny), I rode passed the first feed station (smart), and my freehub body started threatening to seize after the 70km mark. Thank you to Rob Parbery who generously offered to loan me his rear wheel if I needed it meaning he would ride the fixed gear home. He claims it would have given him an excuse to stop, but I’m glad he didn’t because with his own wheel he managed a sub-six hour time and was visibly thrilled with the result! I also spent about 25 minutes with Jenny Fay who had been badly injured and looked like a ghost by the time I caught up to her. I was really glad to be able to stop with her and it was nice to see so many other riders slow down and offer help if we needed it.
I finished the race in 5th place and felt amazing considering the distance everyone had covered. It was nice not destroying myself for the fastest possible race time meaning I didn’t lie on the ground for three hours afterward trying not to spew. I’ll see if I can save up that particular approach for a repeat performance at this year’s Fling!