Friday, 21 September 2007
My moment of glory (if first past the post counts for anything)
Today was the day i was not looking forward to, the last really long stage (85.9K's). Started with the 6AM group again though originally allocated 7AM, and found another icy morning awaiting us. Quickly found myself in the leading group of 3 and this continued for the next 18K's. From then on me and Hans continued our game of "ultra distance chess" (a game he'd beaten me at comprehensively so far), he'd be just ahead and i was always a little behind meeting often at aid stations. Today he was having ankle problems though. As i'd become almost resigned to, Hiroko caught up at checkpoint 4 (38K's) and typically i spent the next 10K's her just behind Hans just in front. Come the 48k station and we all ate and left in the same order. Had a few problems navigating around roadworks (we had to cut across a paddock when we saw she had the right trail). From then on plenty of lovely bike paths, Hiroko soon left us in her wake, as we continued our battle. From 58k's we had a long 12k's to the next aid station. Finally passed Hans and then went on, for what seemed forever, to finally reach the 70k (spent much time going through apple orchards and spent much time hoping a group of pickers would be an aid station). From then on it was steep ups and downs and finally down through forest roads to the end. Was surprised to see JB out running the other way, he was looking for Hiroko who must have missed a turn in the last 5K's. What this meant was i was first past the post, receiving much unwarranted adulation from the local media and local schoolkids (just what is my autograph worth here?). The real winner was Hiroko, followed by Trond with me third in 10:55:30 enough to move me to 6th overall. Still having back problems but body in best shape so far.