Cyclecover Stage 6
The evening after the time trial was to be the night race and with the chance to cover the same track as Southern Cross Television Stage 5 it was going to be a potential mixed bag. The key was going to be a good start and everybody knew it, once we were in the single track passing opportunities were going to be limited, the countryside and trail being lit just by our mounted lights anything could be in the knee high grasses.
It was frantic from the get-go and the mass start even saw a couple of riders down in the dust just a few meters after the line Up ahead the leaders were launching into the darkness, the rest of us trying to sort out our best position before heading into the single-track. Once we were weaving through the bush it immediately turned to a conga-line of riders. There were two sides to this conga-line, first side was it was nice to drop a few heartbeats and ride at night with like minded individuals, like a night-ride with your mates. The other side was the race element and unfortunately not everyone was having fun.
A night ride is not without risks and I made my own mistakes, ending up in the rocky grass after losing my balance in a deep rut. This saw me straight to the back of the conga-line and saw a few mistakes by others. Jess Douglas may have attempted a passing maneuver through the grass, what I saw was a blue and white flash followed by a bike cart wheeling through the air, she was up in an instant and joined the conga-line somewhere behind me. We made our way through the flowing section, then it was onto the tougher half of the course. Around this time a couple more members of our line found themselves not rubber side down. With their bikes tangled and across the track I saw one rider being attended to but the other laying still amongst the grass. Riders were making their way around the incident but with the designated track being blocked I stopped to give a hand. Vital were checked of the still rider, bikes were moved and eventually my still rider stood up declared everything was back in place and that he was going to ride on. From here I joined another conga and we made our way safely back to the golf course, through the rough and rocky pinch climbs that are the feature of many trails around the area.