I was expecting a tough race at Nationals and that’s exactly what I got. The races in Spain showed that I had good form but with a long-haul journey home, some jet lag and a head cold to contend with upon my arrival back into New Zealand it was going to make it that much tougher to defend my title.
Although I was much healthier for the race than when I first arrived home, I felt quite weak during the race and like I wasn’t really able to recover well from hard efforts. I tried to get away early in the race and was able to distance most of the riders but wasn’t able to open a significant gap on Ben Oliver who was able to close down any small gaps I was able to open up. I could tell I was stronger on the climbs than Ben and would have to make that work to my advantage. I dug deep once again on the main climb of the lap on lap 3 of 5 to finally get some breathing space on Ben. I had to push hard to maintain that gap over the second half of the race and thankfully I had enough in the tank to do so and retain my National title.
Really happy to tick the box and take maximum points from the race but most importantly retain my National Champ title and make it 3 in a row (10 in total now- including 5 Elite titles).