All the gear is hanging up in the garage and nearly dry after a very wet Sunday & packup. today I'm starting to feel normal again, after a couple of nights sleep, and the flu is passing at last.
But that's jumping straight to the end. This race nearly didn't happen. I got the flu 8 days out, spent 4 days in bed, and was re-defining man-flu. Martine texted me a week before the race to say she'd fractured her wrist back January, and it was flaring up again and really sore, and has to have surgery. CarlGroover let slip that he hadn't really done much training and was hoping that he could keep up the pace after the first couple of laps. That left the super-fit and trim Gazza to anchor the team and carry us through.
We also had a bit of a score to settle, in the nicest possible way . Steve01 (a regular in Mixed nuts) had 'defected' to a Turamurra Torc team, with some serious talent on board (he was saying he was the slowest of the guys - if you can believe that!), and they were competing in our class.
So, we pulled all of our experience & tenacity together (we'd podium'd 2nd and 1st the previous two Monts), and gave it our best shot. Gazza did a blinder of a first lap after a serious 500m run, anchoring us well, and in front of the major traffic. Carlgroover went out second, and pulled an excellent time too - his depth is amazing, considering he'd 'not been training seriously' for a while. Martine went next, and despite a heavily strapped wrist, came in just over the hour. She is so fast & fearless! I had an extra 3 hours recovery from my flu by going last, and while not wanting to over-extend, got caught up in the fact we were really racing, and nailed it for a ~57min lap.
Checking the results, we expected to be at the pointy end, but found there was another contender - a TBSM team that was going faster than us and the torc crew. We were in second or third, and the results stayed pretty much the same for the rest of the race, until another team that must have had an early timing error pushed us to fourth. We were neck and neck with Torc, edging ahead of them through the night until we had a 20 min lead by daybreak. Everyone put in consistent laps throughout the race, with Gazza flying and totally on-form, CarlGroover speedy, Martine consistent, and me doing my best.
Then the rain came down. A few spots at 6am, then steady half way though my 7am lap. The track had about 5 minutes going really grippy after being dry and dusty, then a slippery-dip of mud. I came in filthy and cold. Gazza went out and put in another good lap, he also came in muddy from head to toe and freezing once he'd stopped. He had no more dry gear, so called it a day. I was past it from my 5 laps, and at risk of my flu getting a hold again, so couldn't go out again. Meanwhile Carlgroover had gone out and was powering along. I had the task of going down to transition and letting him know we didn't have anyone to finish and let our position go.
Carlgroover, meanwhile had put in a really good lap, and we were in striking distance of 2nd. He came in, had a totally understandable dummy spit that we'd had to pull the pin, and true to his nature, said never say die, and flew out for another lap with so much gusto that everyone around us in transition gave a cheer!
We'd had a great run of reliability so far, but 'Lord' CarlGroover, despite his boundless enthusiasm, had a very bad run. 1hr and 37 minutes later he came in after 2 punctures and a broken freewheel, so had run the bike in for the last 3 km. We still held 3rd, having 2nd slip away from the mechanicals. He is a legend!
All in all a really hard race, tough conditions to finish off, and consistency & tenacity being the key.
Great to have the other Nobmob teams around, as always, and lots of good stories and banter throughout the weekend. Next year we might take it a bit easier and try with a mixed 6 team.