Later Tuesday, after the 20km on-road ITT it was time to change from skin tight lycra to baggies, full ridge to full sus and get my short VO2 Max on. After practise runs on Monday I was fairly confident with line choice and opted out of the initial practise runs, saving energy for the more important timed race runs later in the afternoon.
The top part of the course has changed from last year and you no longer have to pick your way through the old ever deepening rock-garden. Instead you head down a more southern facing slope and new rock-garden section. This leads into a fast off-camber section which dumps you back in front of the shipping container chute and the normal remainder of the track.
The key for me with my limited DH racing experience was to pedal as much as possible, where possible and hopefully be technically superior while still keeping the tyres on the ground. So it was mostly B lines over the major obstacles and hold every little bit of speed I could. At three to three and a half minutes for a run, everything counted.
My first timed race run a max first effort, I was hoping to be within the 20 seconds of the fastest time. This would better my time gap to the race leader from last year. The first run was was 3:06, I was very happy and had slipped into 3rd fastest with that time. As we headed back to the top of the hill in the bus, I wondered how much more cleanly I could make this second and final run.
Push through the start gate, accelerate till the rock-garden, point the gap in the rocks before taking the outside of the corner. Inside corner, B-line, through the tight trees, hold a high line on the off camber section, pump the rollers. Pedal, container, drop the triple step-downs, outside line, pedal, smooth-is-fast. B-line Triple, keep to the left watch the rock, pedal, fast berm. Through all mental notes I find myself at the bottom of the course with just the flat section to go, I get over the bars and pedal like crazy, my legs protest. Beside the 4x track I try to kick again, this time there is not protest, there is no kick, I slump back on the seat before the cross-over tunnel. That won't have been enough.
Somehow I manage to find another 5 seconds on course. Knocking my best time down to 3:01 and keeping the third fastest time.
Crummy - (ITT)33:17 (DH)03:01 - 36:18
Roger - (ITT)33:24 (DH)03:14 - 36:38