After getting dealt to at Nationals just three weeks prior and with only 6 or 7 days on the bike in between the National Championship and Oceania’s due to fatigue, I was expecting very little from this race.
With all expectations of a top result out the window there was no pressure, so I just set myself the target of having fun and hanging in there as long as possible. It was a typical Aussie course, fast, dry, and dusty amongst the gum trees. There weren’t any challenging sections other than one large drop with a rough, flat landing but plenty of loose, dusty turns that you could easily wash a front wheel on.
The course had a mix of flat sections and some short punchy climbs which I knew I had to try to use to my advantage. I started well and settled into the race near the front. I was feeling comfortable despite the 33-degree heat and muggy humidity, making sure I kept cool thanks to my helpers in the feed zones handing off water to splash over myself every half lap. I knew that along with good hydration, keeping my body temperature under control was going to be key to my longevity at the front of the race.
As the laps ticked by, I was still with the front riders until with two laps to go it was just myself and Ben Oliver left. I could tell Ben was strong so I would have a hard time shaking him but gave it everything on one of the last shorter punchy climbs before the final flatter section on the last lap and opened enough of a gap to see me home to take the win by just 10 seconds. It was a huge relief and surprise to be able to keep my Oceania win streak alive which dates back to 2016. This was my proudest win of the lot. It will be an exciting change to wear the Oceania Champions jersey overseas at the World Cups!