It's not about winning or losing... um it is actually. After taking part in my second Huka Challenge this weekend I can safely say that I'm a very average XC racer. See that's me right in the middle of the start bunch (in the yet to be released orange Giro XAR) and that's where I stayed the whole race to finish in just over 6hrs. Which was over two hours and twenty minutes behind race leaders Mike Northcott and Tim Wilding (who finished three seconds apart around the 3:43 mark) and just over an hour and forty minutes behind Lester (who did a 4:19).
I haven't done a lot of races in my time, perhaps 20 since I got my first Scott Mtn Express in 1990 but this race is without a doubt the hardest I've ever raced. It didn't help that a good 24km of the 82km race were in the blazing hot and windless sun and that I was running a 1x9 setup on my Nomad (I'm not making excuses I'm just sayin'). What I don't get is that over a race that long and that hard it comes down to a cramp inducing sprint to the finish where the 1st and 2nd places are separated by 3 seconds.
I'm no mathematician but I think Tim and Mike must have had an average speed of something like 22km/h. The story goes that with 200m to the finish line Tim and Mike were side by side, Tim thought he'd get his sprint on early, got two pedal strokes out and cramped up, meanwhile Mike watched Tim attack and got his sprint on and managed four or so pedal strokes before he cramped... but those four pedal strokes were enough to push him over the line in a well deserved first place.
Mike Northcott - 3:43:56 Tim Wilding - 3:43:59 Mark Leishman - 3:46:28 Dirk Peters Male - 3:49:27 Brendon Sharratt - 3:50:38 Stuart Houltham - 3:51:20 Carl Jones - 3:58:57 Sam Shaw - 3:59:04 Calum Chamberlain - 3:59:05 Holden McGroin - 4:01:17
Annika Smail - 4:19:17 Karen Hanlen - 4:24:46 Nic Leary - 4:27:54 Katherine Oneill - 4:32:21 Eloise Fry - 4:36:05 Raewyn Morrison - 4:49:21 Marguerite Ritchie - 4:50:07 Marjolein Ros - 5:00:16 Samara Sheppard - 5:04:14 Sarah Beadel - 6:24:08 Louise O'Connell - 6:29:2