It’s no secret that I see the 15km distance at the OCR World Championships as the main event. It’s the original distance and the one that has become known as the ‘classic’. It’s also the race that I have won three years in a row. This would be my fourth time competing and considering how the 3km went the day before, I was feeling confident.
The 3km race removes nervous tension, worries, doubts and any other feelings that may hinder performance. All that is left the following day is the feeling that you are going to do the job as best you can and enjoy the experience…exactly the feelings I want before a race. I knew I had the speed, I just had to get it out of me on the race course.
The course would be similar to 2016. Changes would be a few different obstacles, an extra carry and some crazy steep climbs and descents in the first 5km. This start was going to suit me down to the ground. Nice hiking sections followed by steep downhills where many would hesitate, they even installed ropes on steeper sections! I was hoping to build a lead here, leaving me to relax out of sight for the rest of the race and hopefully cross the line in first
More rain had made these hills even more important. My VJ’s would give me a big advantage on the mud but I had bought a pair for Ryan (the most likely person to beat me) so that advantage was out. I’d have to rely on all the skyrunning training and racing I have been doing through the year.
This turned out to be enough and I put nearly two minutes into the field on the first 5km. It felt good to be racing nearer sea level and the added confidence bolstered me even further. The race was now mine too loose and I was focused on keeping it this way.
Halfway through I descended back into the village with an almost comfortable buffer. As with any obstacle race it’s not over till you cross the line and I knew there were many technical obstacles to come. It would be my experience from racing in the Toughest Tour this year that would help me now. None of the obstacles here would he harder than the fast lanes in Toughest, so I was well prepared.
Getting into the first carry I got a look at who was behind me, once again it was Ryan and my lead had grown a little.
Heading back up the ski slopes one final time I took my second gel. At the top, the technical obstacles would intensify and these were ones I didn’t get to try the day before. Carefully working my way through I was soon on the final descent.
Unlike the year before the course marking didn’t allow going around the wooden mountain bike ramps on the downhill. One in particular curved up to nearly 90 degrees, at about 20m long I painfully clawed my way along hanging onto the top. Finally through, it was just the wreckbag carry and a load of rigs to go before the finish line.
I wasn’t happy with how I did the rigs but maybe having a buffer was making me extra cautious, resulting in a messy execution. Trying not to dwell on it, I concentrated on ringing the bells and enjoying the final stretch through to the finish.
Zip line, floating traverse walls and final big wall done, I was over the line. Less intense than the day before but the same result. To execute as well as I did was necessary but also what I have been training to do all year.
Ryan Atkins had a good race coming through in second with Ryan Woods coming across after him. We were all happy to be done and promptly went for our drug test before finally relaxing and enjoying the end of the intense racing season.