By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
When most people are tired, they do things conservatively. Not Phillippe Leroy. Riding on what he described as ‘tired legs’ from hard training during the week, he attacked the course from Apple Bay to Carrot Bay, through Belmont and Steel Point before returning for a loop in Carrot Bay and finishing in Apple Bay, to win in 48 minutes even.
Leroy described the course as lovely for mountain bikes with a bit of off road, mud and water. He said one had to be careful on the slippery downhill and a few cars on the circuit.
“I decided to go very hard from the start and on the first hill, then kept going just for fun,” he told Island Sun Sports. “My legs are tired from too much training this week and I wanted to see what I could do on tired legs. If it was a two laps race, I would have gone a little easier.”
Leroy said he was pushing between 400 and 500 watts towards the end of the race heading back to Carrot Bay, which amazed him.
“I didn’t know I could do that,” he said, describing the climb to and from Carrot Bay as ‘very short.’ “You don’t have to set your legs too much for it, just take it a little easy and go hard at the end of it, then go for it. When finishing off a hill, what I usually do a put a gear harder when it’s steeper and push harder just at the top. Most people slow down there because they’re hurting and that’s where I drop people.”
Leroy added: “That’s what I did at the beginning. I put a gear or two harder and then just went for it.”
Biff Smiff who was second in 51:32, said it was an awesome race with a great course.
“Could have done with a bit more off road, but that’s my thing anyway,” he said. “Great downhill, loved the friendship and I only drank two beers last night as part of training.”
When asked about Leroy, Smiff referred to himself as the first human across the line.
“I was the second best apparently, but first human. It’s like he’s a pro rider and we all just mess around,” Smiff told Island Sun Sports. “I only saw him on one of the hills. But it was cool having lots of fun on our bikes.”
Fourth place finisher Gareth Thomas, said while it was the fourth race of the season, it was the most technical of all.
“You had to be good with your bike handling skills,” he noted. “But there was something for everybody. It was miserable in terms of the conditions for me, because I’m a road biker, but the guys on the mountain bikes, they absolutely loved it, because they could power through the puddles, got nice and dirty and hammered the descents. So it was a really good race.”
The pair of Adrian Dale and Kay Reddy came down to the wire, with Dale edging Reddy, 1:13.36-1:13.38. Reddy said Jim Cullimore did a fantastic job marking the course.
“People might know by now that Adrian is my partner, so I had to let him win,” Reddy said with a roaring laugh and said she didn’t want to smash his ego when asked. “I’ll tell him the gloves are off next time. I had him on the hills but on the flat, he was going into time trial mode and I couldn’t quite catch him, but it was good fun.”
Dale admitted that Reddy let him win.
“She was well ahead of me, but I took her on the downhill,” he noted. “She’s not very fast on the downhills, so I managed to catch up there. Uphill, she’s brilliant but in the last two kilometers, really, she just let me go ahead, sat behind and I got the prize.”
Final results: 1. Phillippe Leroy, 48:00 minutes. 2. Biff Smiff, 51:32. 3. Mark Stephenson, 52:22. 4. Gareth Thomas, 53:38. 5. Alistair Abrehart, 1:05.51. 6. Shane Donovan, 1:09.40. 7. Adrian Dale, 1:13.36. 8. Kay Reddy, 1:13.38. 9. Jim Cullimore, 1:15.30. 10, Laurens Blok, 1:31. 54. 11. Johan Blok, 1:13. 54.