I love this time of year – building fitness and not having the pressure of priority races means that each race can be used as the stepping stone for the important goals of later in the season. After getting 2nd in the NZO 12 hour a couple of weeks ago I felt fresh as a daisy and flew down tot Melbourne feeling pretty good about my chances of getting a result. So with that in mind the Saturday morning loomed to a cool but sunny Melbourne day. Having not had the time to pre-ride the course, it was going to be a case of suck it and see. At ten o’clock the Le Mans dash for cash start saw riders scrabbling in the sand and sprinting the 200metres to their bikes. This type of start is always tough for the solo competitors as it leaves their legs feeling a little dead for the first 15 – 20 minutes of the ride. This occasion was no different and after the initial prologue section the race disappeared into the Werribee sand. The first lap proved very interesting – the course was going to be incredibly tough, with four creek crossings and numerous steep off-camber pinch climbs really sorting the men out from the boys. I was feeling good but was very conscious of the big efforts needed to climb each of the steep sections. Four solo riders went up the road at a pace I deemed not sustainable for the full 12 hours. With this in mind I settled in to my own rhythm. By the half way stage I was feeling ok but was not making any in roads into Ben Randle’s lead, which hovered around the 15 minute mark – I was however, nutting out consistent laps and reeling in the other leading soloists. Just on darkness I managed to catch James Maebus and attacked him hard hoping this would demoralise him and stop him responding to my attack. This worked well and I quickly put 5 minutes into him in the subsequent lap. I however had the feeling that I would pay for that effort later in the race. Jen from Total Rush was looking after all my feeding and hydration and was doing a sterling job keeping me well fed and hydrated and informed as to the time difference between myself and Ben Randle. Just after ten hours I started to feel the efforts of the last two weeks and really began to suffer. The course was taking its toll. Ben Randle was riding very, very well and at that point was looking unbeatable. So with my position relatively secure I stopped for a hot cup of coffee and some chips before going out for my last lap. The race finished with another 2nd place and some very tired legs. Maybe two 12 hour races in 2 consecutive weekends with a long week at work in between is pushing it. However, when I allow the freshness back to my legs I know I will reap the benefits of all this hardwork. This last weekend gone – saw Sally (my wife) competing in the local enduro as team Total Rush. Racing in the pairs category against all the men we won all three events. The 1hour, the 2 hour night ride and the 4 hour Sunday enduro. Sally was ripping it up on her new Specialized Sa-fire with lap times that were faster than some of the elite women on her first ever mtb race. The Sa-fire worked flawlessly and she noticed how light it was on the climbs and how predictable and reassuring it was on the descents. Yet again Specialized have designed an awesome bit of kit. That’s all on the race scene until the Scott 24 hour when Sam Bach and myself will be gunning to win the pairs. BRING IT ON!