It was great to finish my endurance-based training block with a win at the You Yang’s Yowie last week.  This is a 99km Marathon held out at the You Yang’s MTB Park, West of Melbourne.  I know that following a race I more often than not declare it to be one of my favourites; but I reckon that this one really isJ  I think it must be the technical trails of the stockyards region that makes this course well suited to my strengths and this year’s race didn’t involve too many flat power sections that I seem to struggle with.

The women’s open category had attracted just a small field, but included some high quality.  I knew my main competition would come from Target-Trek rider Tory Thomas who had obviously been training hard over winter and had shown some great form in recent events. My plan was to try and stay with her on the first main climb and, if I succeeded, to then try and make a pass on some of the more technical trails.  As it turned out, this plan worked perfectly and I was able to dive into the first technical descent just ahead.  I managed to build a fair gap through the up and down trails of the Stockyards and, following the flat power section of trails, I hung onto a 3min lead heading into lap 2. 

Through lap 2 I just tried to keep in a good rhythm, working on a high cadence and maintaining pedal efficiency.  I pushed the descents a little more, experienced a few more 2 wheel drift moments and just had some fun!  The Yowie Monster didn’t disappoint and made an appearance each lap.  I’m not sure that his camouflage was as good this year, or maybe I am finally using my peripheral vision!

Coming through or my last lap I found out that Tory was not having a good day and had withdrawn from the race.  This gave me a little more breathing space back to 2nd place, so I was able to enjoy the trails that little bit more on the last lap!

Following my own finish, I was excited to see Karen Hill finish in 2nd place.  I have been coaching Karen for the last few months and have seen vast improvements in this short space of time.  I’m certainly expecting the distance b/w myself and her to reduce over the next year.

In the Open men’s 99km Category Nick Morgan finished up 2nd after a tight battle with Adrian Jackson. Young Liam Jeffries showed he can mix it with the older guys when he sprinted to 3rd place in the open 66km event. 

It was such a fantastic feeling to see so many of the Pedallab crew do so well with many podium finishes and PB’s. I won’t attempt to name everyone, but needless to say I went home a very proud coach!

Over the next couple of months my training will step up a gear.  There are some interstate stage races that I am very much looking forward to and then it is time to get serious for the National Cross Country Season.

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