The second day of the Australian Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships was up north near Port Macquarie. It is about an hour drive from Taree. Todays race was at Cairncross State Forest and it was the Long distance course. Consisting of 29km with 570m of climb, it was going to be a hard day in the saddle.
Right from the start I had trouble finding the start triangle on the map. Also I didn’t pick up on that where we collected the map was the start. Rather than ride to the start triangle. Needless to say I lost time on the first control. I took a questionable route choice to checkpoint 2 by going over the top rather down and along the train tracks. I compared times with another rider who had a similar course and he was almost a minute and a half faster then I was. After those early hiccups I was flowing through the rest of the controls nicely. Going through the centre of the map for the long leg to checkpoint 6. My huge route choice error was checkpoint 7 to 8. What I should have done was head back where I had come from and ride back around where I had been earlier from 5 to 6 and curl back up into 8. Or climb over the mountain and down into 8, but what I did was through the middle with multiple gratuitous climbs. I lost a good minute to another ride on my course but I knew I could of saved over three to four minutes off that route alone. After that huge error I again kept the rest of my course clean and fast.
Finishing first again was nice – being a bit stronger then my other competitors and older helped a lot. It was a very physical course and technically challenging. There is still a lot I need to improve on. Another thing I would like to mention is eating during races. I had been advised by a dietician to stay on top eating during a race that will take longer than a hour to keep cramps and muscle and mental fatigue under control. So I was regularly eating gels and drinking my sports mix drink even though at times I didn’t feel I need it. It’s also important to eat after your race! Although helping bring in controls and the hour drive back I ate lunch at about 4pm.