I had a relaxed Saturday making sure I was well recovered from Oceania’s the day before and for Nationals the following day. The course for Nationals had some slight changes from what we raced in the Oceania Champs so I spent a couple of laps checking those out before returning the the apartment to put my legs up.
Sunday rolled around and I woke up feeling a little tired. I knew Sam and Ben would be out to improve upon their results from Friday so I would have to be on my best form yet again. My legs felt good however warming up on the rollers and that gave me some confidence for the race. I had another good clean start and got into the singletrack first once more. I set a strong tempo up the climb and after the first lap Sam was still on my tail followed by Ben. Unbeknownst to myself, and I think Sam also, Ben had ejected off his bike at high speed into the bushes so it left just Sam and I at the front to duke it out.
At the end of lap 1 Sam was still on my tail but I was still feeling good and well within myself. I kept the pace on as we started the second lap and was able to drop Sam as we began climbing again. I kept the Hammer down until I’d opened out a big gap before settling down to ride the second half of the race nice and conservatively and cross the line to claim my 6th Elite National title, and fourth in a row (11 in total now if you count age group titles also).
Hopefully there is still more to come as I take great pride in wearing the NZ National Champions jersey overseas.