At registration we are told that the last silly steep bit, wasn't going to be in the race now, so I scrunch up 'Plan A' and head out for a warm up before the start. For about the 1st 30kms there was a heap of shadow boxing. I'm wanting to have a crack at the KOM, so I'm keen to keep it either all together or get away with whoever's trying to. We get to the 1st climb and it's all together. I stay close to the front and keep an eye ahead to see if I can spot the top as I've never been on the climb before. The bunch is tightly packed and feels like a crit in slow motion. The guy in front of me touches wheels and panics but stays upright. 'OK... Move away from him slowly' is the thought. GPLama is nearby and points out a gap on the inside and I slot in. I look up and through the trees I think I can see the saddle where I reckon the road will summit. I creep closer to the front, then go when I feel it's time to and go over 1st! We are down into the flat between climb one and two and still all together. With no sprint point in the race, the Peloton has no real purpose to ride and slows right up. With the 2nd climb getting closer, the Peloton wakes up and there is the odd attack before the climb starts. There's a small climb then down into a left turn then straight into the 2nd climb and the attacks start from the get go. By the top there's a sizable group, but from what I heard after the race, there was a bit of a culling of the Peloton. The down is straight and fast. After the race I heard that Stuart Morgan's chain came clean off on this descent and he lived (no off either) to tell the story! He'd made the trip all the way from Canberra too. I can't even remember when, but Reece Stephens gets away and crafts himself a sizable gap. For a handful of riders, this becomes a concern but the rest of the Peloton are suffering from sun stroke and play the old game of 'chase down anyone that wants to get away but buggered if we are going to work to bring back the escapee' routine. With 6km to go before Mt. William I test my theory and while on the front I stop pedalling and watch the speed drop to 19km\h before someone slowly rolls past me. Yep, heat stroke. At the turn off it’s time to see what’s up the road and I cane myself like a rental car. At some point I sense someone on my wheel and turn to see James Broadway. I keep hacking away. James slowly comes up along side, then in front and I'm focused on his cassette as he turns it over. Then my elastic gets a little tension on it and I get out of the saddle and kick it up a cog. This doesn't help relieve the tension so I try a different combination but it doesn't ease. My brain feels like Captain Kirk on the intercom to Scotty my legs, calling for more power but Scotty can't give anymore and the elastic breaks. I'm now cutting my own air. My focus is now on James' number on his back. It's perfect for blocking out the pain though it seems pain is not the problem, it’s the work that needs to be done and my legs can't do it. More time passes and the gap slowly gets bigger. I'm now getting the odd glimpse of James on some of the corners. The false flat comes and I ease off just enough to give myself the smallest of rests before I try and bury myself even more for the last section. I make some ground on James but it's not enough and I cross the line 3rd. Sweet! I'm still WAY-STOKED with that! I roll around the car park for a bit while I come back to reality. I find the others near the finish line and firstly congratulate Reece on his monster break, then James for the battle on the last climb. Others start to turn up and the stories flow. I ride back to Halls Gap with a few others and manage to just make the presentation for 3rd as I turn up at the footy ground with coffee and muffin ready to scoff!
Full results can be found here.