All photos thanks to MTBA President Russ Baker.
Day two of the Lasseters Easter in the Alice was a split stage. You either love them or hate them. The need to go “full gas” twice in one day is by no means beyond the capabilities of a trained cyclist – but it’s a mental load.
What should I do right after the morning stage? How much should I rest? What should I eat? When should I eat? How much difference can a 10km night stage make?
Regardless, stage 2 needed to be raced first. 26km of the finest Alice Springs trails awaited – and anyone who has raced here before might now it best as (roughly) the time trial loop. It’s a fast start out of Lasseters Casino and some double track, before a couple of sections of singletrack and a steep climb that takes you into nonstop singletrack for about the next 18km or so. It’s quite a breathtaking location under the East MacDonnell Ranges and towards Emily Gap.
The race rode away from me, but with Chris Jongewaard suffering with a flat, Andrew Blair was able to use his knowledge of the old time trial course and skills in this terrain – and he absolutely blitz the field in a time of 1:03:11. Ben Mather crossed second in 1:05:21, with Jongewaard behind in 3rd. He still holds the leader’s jersey by about two and a half minutes.
I was happy to ride with a very strong Ollie Klein who rides with the confidence of someone who has never crashed in Alice Springs. Luke Pankhurst also rode politely behind us.
Jenny Fay rode a strong race to win the women’s race in 1:17:03, a couple of minutes ahead of Mel Anset, who was about the same ahead of Imogen Smith. No changes there at the top of women’s GC.
The night is for hunting
In a 10km race on the golf buggy tracks not a lot can happen in terms of GC. But that doesn’t mean the racing would be slow. The course was gravel, loose dirt, and combinations of the two. There was also a reasonable headwind on the way out, with a decent tailwind on the way back. With two 5km laps it meant there would be some entertainment for those sitting at the golf club too.
From the gun it was another case of Andrew Blair and Chris Jongewaard demonstrating their strength. By the time I got on the less dusty straight I couldn’t even see their tail lights. It wasn’t really the time where you wanted to ride alone, and I was lucky enough to sort of bridge across to the group will Mather, Downing, English et al. I say sort of as I never was comfortably there, and was always getting dagged.
Jongewaard pipped Blair for the sprint, and Jenny Blair won the women’s race ahead of Briony Mattocks, who made the podium after 2 great 4th places.
No real shifts on GC tonight up the front, racing finishes tomorrow with 65km of Alice’s finest.
Oh, and that tweet
Apologies for that “QOTD” which is just opinion. Apologies to the masses of singlespeeders who probably didn’t notice it, and probably would have had a laugh if they did. But if you felt like it was against your whole brethren – it wasn’t.
— MarathonMTB.com (@marathonmtb) April 5, 2015