Jess Douglas

Stage 3 – Cornhill Cranker Bike Buller MTB Festival

14 March 2014

1939960 10151958447906003 269016197 nI find it amazing that my mind controls my body so SO very much.
Nervous very much so this morning.
For many reasons.

  1. An early start. 8:30am meaning there was no lazy getting ready this morning.

  2. That horrid climb start again, with the lap around the village roads and up the nasty steep climb beyond Arlberg to kick start the race. Would I be able to get into single track before it got congested.

  3. I really wanted to do well today and absolutely feared the pain I would be in for just over 1.5hrs. This is a XC style pace and this is not my strength.

  4. I knew that this morning would be a killer for The Corner Store Buller so knew I had to stay away from the hustle and maintain my own space and peace.

When I got up and went to the lodge kitchen I noticed a couple of people were not racing.
I did not ask too many questions, I needed to just internally focus on ME and not worry about them, just for the next 2hrs or so.
The methodical manner in which I prepared to be ready did me well until I went to grab my bike and realise that the rear wheel was not holding air.
Now I had to go to the shop to see Norm. It turns out he put air in the tyre this morning at 7am, so it was not a good thing, we just did a wheel swap – again!

Finally I was on the start line, knowing that all I had to do was go hard, have no regrets, see if I had more than what I believed I did and finish as hard as I could and never ever give up.
Once again surprised at despite my best efforts, the first loop of the village saw me back, but the steep as hill climb up to the Arlberg saw me ride strong with the rest of the girls. Just cant work that one out!

The toughest part of today however was the descent down Copperhead. My hands were a bit numb and experiencing pins and needles, the dust was not settling so vision was really really bad with wheel to wheel traffic, and finally the morning sun was shining strongly through the trees the whole way down giving even worse vision.
Now all I had to do after surviving that was to go up the double track, onto Corn hill Rd, up Cornhill and enjoy the rest of the ride/race.

MOO 5552 1I love the descent to Howqua Gap and Silk Lane is not so bad of a climb really & the Medusa 12 switchbacks are fun to nail and then the reward of Misty Twist with a beautiful climb back up, rewarded again with the Corn Hill descent and just one tiny climb back up Split rock. FUN TIMES!

...and so I found my groove, watching Amity meander away from me on the Silk Lane Climb I felt I should preserve some of my energy and keep her just in sight. I then saw her pass April, and thought, “Oh, thats a good sign, keep this up Jess”. Only problem was that I was 2 riders back from April and not enough passing space at all to get any lead now. And so I sat behind and eventually was on April's wheel. Winding down Misty Twist, I had to give up some space so I could see, there was so much dust and the morning rays of sun giving no vision for the trail. When we got back to the climb, April was off like a rocket, I let her go and reeled her in. I was really wishing to be more agro and just pass her, as she stuffed up a few corners but was awesome at not conceeding trail to me with a magic scooter along before pedalling off with me on her wheel.

MOO 5707 1It was not going to make a difference to the race now, but I just wanted my own space and knew that the descent down Corn Hill was much more fun when I was in the lead with no wheels to follow.
Totally my fault for being the nice guy, I missed being grunty enough and gutsy enough to smash past her, last year I caused Sarah Riley to have a crash as we entered Corn Hill and sort of dont like that happening to my competition no matter what.

As we climbed up the Split Rock trail, I was imagining that April would have far more left in the tank once we got to the flattish Village trail and I just wanted to see if I could hang on her wheel and see what happened from here.
We crested the top and I hopped on her wheel, every now and again she would accelerate hoping to drop me? Either way I stayed with her suffering like a dog, and then when we finally got to the steep driveway that takes you to the road and up to the finish line area, she went to an easier gear and that was it – bang! I got up out of the saddle and gave it everything I had for the next 100mts and did not look back. Giving me a 3rd place in Womens overall for todays stage.

Thanks April for the wheel to follow. I was really happy with how I rode this whole event with everything that was thrown at me and keeping balanced while running The Corner Store Buller and a lodge of people and all the staffing. Everyone was so nice to me, I loved the event and loved the people, the vibe...everything!

What a great race, and to finish 2nd in Vets women after my bad bad Day 1 issues I was stoked.
Thanks for my awesome tyres that really were a tough as nails the entire weekend – Schwalbe Racing Ralphs 27.5”.
Shimano XTR brakes, gears, chain, cranks etc....as I always say – Bombproof!
And my little sweetie Dusty Lusty Advanced 27.5 0. She has a dropper and I used her lots! I love my dropper on Stonefly especially!

Finally thanks Norm for working hard at The Corner Store Buller, looking after my bikes and having fun racing on the Sunday too.  

Credit to Mandy Lamont for my Race Photos.