“Wow!” I said slowly, late on Sunday afternoon, mouth full of food. “They are the best McFish burgers I have ever eaten.” I was surprised to hear me say this too. Being vegequarian, I have certainly eaten my fair share of McFishes, so it was a very big statement to make. Perhaps I should step a few hours back in time.
Half way through the fifth round of the SRAM Singletrack Mind Series I concluded that racing really is a little bit strange. It all starts of in the name of fun, but before you realise it, something shifts. Riders begin by throwing power at the pedals, ripping around the track and come back to transition full of smiles and giggles. Then half way through, things start to hurt, but the old competitive spirit kicks in and we bury ourselves trying to continue what we started. Or at least that’s what happened to me.
The new trails at the Mount Annan Botanical Gardens are quite physical to ride. The course features lots of punchy ups, and quick descents that you have to really work to feel like you’re riding them well. I guess this is why it’s called Mount Annan not Annan Flats, or the Sweeping Annan Plains. Thankfully, this is also why I’m a mountain biker, not a gym junkie. So despite the pain, I loved every minute of the adventure and enjoyed the way this season’s tight racing in the mixed categories has frequently meant arriving at the finish line with only a handful of energy to spare.
Shane Taylor was a champion teammate once again and we fought a tough, exciting battle to finish in second place. I plan to chat with him about his quick lap times before the next one, as a healthy balance of eating, socialising, and applying sunscreen between laps is getting harder and harder to maintain. I forgot half my race food (not my brightest moment) which meant the day consisted of gels and bars instead of sandwiches and bananas, but things turned around when I discovered cold Powerade and home made muffins at the food stand. It’s possible that this was the best Powerade I’ve ever tasted too. Perhaps it was the racing between laps that made me feel so exhausted by the end of the race and not the trails at all!
Big cheers to the trail builders and crew at the Gardens for putting together such a fun and testing track. Thank you also to the Chocolate Foot crew for hosting another ripper of an event, and to St Johns Ambulance for sticking such a good looking dust cover on my knee after I left some skin on the track. It was great having a race so close to our home too – so close in fact that we drove straight past our house after the race to let the burger eating begin. And so it was that I found myself pushing tasty, salty delights into my mouth faster than I could chew, but desperate to do so.
I was looking forward to a good hard ride to shake a busy work week out of my body and reset before the next one. As I crawled into bed at a record (early) time of 8.30pm, I had no doubts that I had indeed done what I set out to achieve. The effect this had on my taste palette, well, I guess that was just a bonus!
Photos: Gaye Camm and Kath Bicknell.