On Sunday we had the Snowy Munro/ Jack Mc Donough Handicap at Highlands.
A 60km out and back course starting at the high point of Highlands, finishing with two climbs over 4km long at 4.5%.
I was in the 14 min group with Tony Branchflower, David Brown, Ian Ravenscroft and Warren Smith, I thought we were a possiblity but scratch and second scratch were both strong groups.
We took it steady on the down hill, still quick but no heroics. Onto the flat toward Seymore rolling turns proper started and the pace was on. Warren was doing a truck load off work, and at one point said he thought the group was doing well, to be told we had thought that before (most of our group had ridden together for the last two h/cps).
About 1k out from the turn around I caught sight of the group ahead of us on the road just as they were rounding the roundabout. Our group was tiring and Warren and I rode away from the others until we realised we had dropped them and backed off a bit. I had at times thought I probably shouldn't be doing too much work in front of the club Pres cause it may affect my h/cap.
I'm not sure whether it was our group slowing slightly or the other group had put in a bit extra after seeing us at the turnaround but it took us about another 15km to catch them with Warren again continuing pulling big turns we had already passed a couple of shelled riders from other groups.
Just as the first climb was staring Ian rolled past I mentioned that now it all starts. Largely Ian and I led the group until Blaire from the 18min group comes past to lift the pace saying cmon. I sat on his wheel for quite a while until the gradient picked up for a steep pinch when myself Ian and Luke Mc Donough left the rest of our groups. I was still riding comfortably, remembering the last time I did this climb felt so much worse (but I had an extra 40kms in my legs that day). I was making sure not to ride away from Ian and Luke because last time I lost a lot of time by myself on the downhill before the final climb.
Once we got to the downhill Luke went to the front and provided a great lead out/draft. We had noticed another group coming up behind just before the top of first climb so they were in the front of my mind.
We had passed another couple of riders but still no lead car. About 2.5ks from the finish Ian and I came up to another rider rounded a bend and there's the lead car. As we were coming up to the guy behind lead car Ian told me to go he was spent, I said cmon it only 2.5k to go. Next thing I know there is a rider on my wheel, glance back I can see Banyule kit but not who.
Press on not feeling comfortable anymore, I wondered if I had a dig at 1k would he go with me, many thoughts but nothing coherent.
Turned out to be Tom Mc Donough behind me and he went at 1k and all I could do was watch. I kept looking back to make sure no one was coming, all looked clear until I saw the line, put head down and went as hard as I had left crossing in second place, just after I crossed two others crossed that I hadn't seen on my last look.
Well done to Tom Mc Donough and thankyou to all in my group and Blair/Luke