The weather we experienced while in aussie closely resembled the fade out from Summer to Autumn with the day we arrived cooking at close to 30degrees, before dropping right away and requiring jackets and arm warmers to be dug out to stay warm while riding.
As usual for an Australian track the ground was rock hard and often covered with a loose gravely surface. It took a bit of time to get up to speed particularly on the switchback packed descent, I wasn’t overly keen on hitting the deck here as the dirt gave the impression of being harder than concrete.Apart from a nasty super steep section of road climbing near the top there wasn’t anything too demanding on the course but it did have a lot of single track to keep things interesting.
Although a separate U23 race was held we raced off the same gun as the Elite Men but completed one less lap. Early on we had a mix of three U23s and two Elites up the front with Jack Haig setting the pace with Anton and myself following with Elites Sid Taberlay and Dan McConnell also present. Nothing much happened over the first two laps with the group sticking together. I felt pretty good and was happy just following wheels and going with the flow of the bunch. The road pinch was a different story though and every lap a bit of a gap opened up which I was forced to close. I struggled a bit with the gradient here, it was a tough ask to power up it seated but traction was a real problem when standing and compared to the others I seemed to find it pretty difficult.
The third lap came with an increase in the pace and I was in a bit of trouble starting to swing off the back as we began climbing. I managed to stay in contact but the tough road section proved to be too much and I was properly dropped as the speed was cranked up even more.It was a bit of a let down as I had been aiming to put up a good fight and contest the win but just didn’t have the legs that Anton and Jack obviously did and they quickly opened up the gap and I didn’t see them again till the finish.
The last two laps I just focused on keeping up a consistent speed and holding my third place which I was able to do. So while I was hoping to get more from the race it was still not too bad a ride and a podium finish is always a decent result.