The only thing that can beat him is gastro!
As he tells it:
Didn’t get off to a good start as on the trip down to Ballarat, I ate something that didn’t agree with my stomach and I had a bad dose of food poisoning night before the ITT. I was in no shape for racing next morning, so I withdrew from the ITT. Spent the day of the ITT in bed and managed to eat a bit of plain chicken and some dry bread later in the afternoon in preparation for the crit the following morning. Great preparation. Anyway, I decided to give it a go, even although I felt pretty drained and below par.
Half way through my crit race (combined MMAS 7 and 8) I thought I’d try a little dig to see how I was going – went OK for about a minute then died pretty horribly. The bunch quickly caught me back and I really struggled to latch on at the back. Got the message then that all was not as normal so I sat on a bit to recover and conserve my energy for the last lap. The circuit was in a park and the track was not that wide (about 1 ½ road lanes) so at the bell I moved up towards the front to get into a decent position and held it there as the pace gradually quickened. Not fancying my chances in a mass bunch sprint, I waited for an opportunity to go through a gap which might then close and impede anyone marking me and following wheels. The gap appeared with about 500m to go (a bit far out but you’ve got to take your chances) so I went for it 100%, chasing a MMAS7 rider who had attacked half way around the last lap. I didn’t look back, just focussed on the rider ahead. Approaching the line, I was dying a bit but hoping I could hang on just enough to get the win. Not to be; just before the line, two sprinters came off my wheel and pipped me – Darrell Wheeler, Dubbo and Marion Machado, Melbourne. Didn’t know they were there but it wouldn’t have made any difference as I was done by then. I was pretty pleased with how I managed to finish considering that I was not feeling at my best. Racing adrenaline must have taken over. Finished ahead of the silver medallist in MMAS7, so that’s not too bad. I had considered going home after the crit if I didn’t perform so after that result I decided to wait another day and do the road race.
Again we had a combined race this time with the MMAS9 & 10 riders so we were the young guns this time. The course was 3 laps around Lake Learmonth north west of Ballarat totalling just under 48km with no hills or wind to help create a breakaway. Most of the first lap was like a Sunday ride to Uralla only slower, with everyone chatting away so I decided to liven it up a bit on the little hill about 1/3 into the second lap. Darrell Wheeler and Chas Matters Qld were straight onto my wheel and we managed to get a break and stay away for a few Kms. However, we were eventually caught back by the main bunch, principally driven by the winner of the ITT, Tommy Gray from Melbourne. The same thing happened on the last lap; I attacked, Darrell and Chas were straight onto my wheel and we got away but we were again run down on the flat with a tailwind assisting the chasers. I concluded then that we were going to have a bunch sprint so I just sat in doing turns but conserving energy. I decided to follow Darrell Wheeler this time as he seemed to be the hot rider and he has lots of racing ability and craftiness (MMAS7 2008 World Masters Pursuit Champion on the track). Did exactly that, staying on the outside of the long left hand bend approaching the finish, the side where the gaps were likely to open. Darrell left his sprint quite late, I responded and was gaining slowly but the line came too soon and I didn’t quite get there – got a good clear second and close to a win so I was happy with that. Celebrated that night on my way back to another week’s holiday with my first real feed in three days and a half bottle of wine!
Awesome effort there from Col.