In lieu of the race that was cancelled on Australia Day, the Tyalgum Cup was moved to yesterday. I have tried to enter the race before in previous years, however, due to daylight savings time in NSW, I missed the start of the race. This time, with the race being on in the afternoon, I was confident of making it on time.
The race started at 2:30pm EDST, or 1:30 QLD time. With Google Maps suggesting a travel time of 1hr47min, Matt Ryan, Tim Dalgliesh and I left at 10:30am, meaning we would arrive with over an hour to change and warmup. That was before we hit the traffic.
An accident somewhere along the Pacific Motorway at Yatala meant that traffic was at an absolute stand still. Then road works at Coolangatta brought everything to a hault again. Despite this, we kept driving, calculating that we had around 30mins to spare before the race started. That was before we got lost.
Relying on an iPhone for google maps means that you're also relying on good phone service cverage. However, in the Currumbin Valley, reception drops out constantly. We were driving along narrow and twisting mountain roads when my reception kicked in and we discovered that we were going the wrong way. We back tracked and found our way onto the correct road, only to discover that we were going to make it with approximately 3 mins to spare before the start of the race.
Tim drove like a man on a mission (yet completely within the confines of speed limits and road rules), and we arrived with seconds to spare. I climbed out of the car and was about ready to throw up due to trying to look at a map and driving on winding roads making me car sick.
I threw on my kit, put a water bottle in my bike and went straight to the start. After a 40m warm-up, my legs (and head) were not ready to go hard. The first few kilometers were painful as I adjusted from sitting in a car to going as hard as I could on a bike.
Fortunately for Matt and I, Tim made it into the early break and we sat back and relaxed in the bunch. UNfortunately for Tim, he punctured with about 20km to go and had to fiund his own way back to the car.
Having never done the race before, meant that I didn't know what to expect in terms of direction or terrain. With 3km to go, Matt was yelling at me to prepare for the sprint. Then we hit a couple of bumps in the road.
Two shoret but sharp climbs split the field and left Matt chasing behind. I held onto a small front group of 6-7 riders and we hit the downhill run into the finish. After leaving town by turning at a main intersection, I jumped on the brakes as we approached it on the return, preparing for a sharp turn then a sprint. Then I found out we returned via a different way and we went straight through the intersection.
This put me on the back foot as everyone else went past me. I hit the gas again but was too far back and crossed the line in 6th position. A disappointing finish to a hectic day.