Another stunning day this time in Kadina, the sun was shining, the wind was blowing just a little and it was my first day in the yellow jersey. All of the guys had a pretty relaxed night and were looking forward to defending the jersey and take it forward into the next few rounds. As the race started we had our plan to ride the front at a solid tempo hoping to restrain the amount of attacks and bring the whole race back together for a bunch sprint. The first 10 minutes sailed by and I had Tom Allford plus Callum Pearce for support on the front with a few little attacks going away and coming back as the pace lifted and dipped with each lap we completed. Less than 15 minutes had passed and as we crossed the finish line Liam Nolan (SASI) and Matthew Gassner (Lightsview) attacked up the inside, then slid out around the corner crashing and taking down Tom Allford and Callum Pearce in one foul swoop, I narrowly missed the crash heading into the gutter and pulling up just in time. Two laps out was little relief as Tom was sitting in the gutter unable to stand, that was his day done. Callum stood with me as we assessed our situation, took a breath and got ready for the next 40 minutes of the race. As we rejoined the race Callum and I did the best we could to control the bunch, as time passed Callum’s crash started to take a toll on his young body and he started to struggle with the pace. I took over control on my own and the onslaught began. Twenty minutes down, 30 minutes to go, the one thought to cross my mind was “This is going to be a hard day”, no team mates to help and everyone in the bunch knew that. It felt as if each lap there was another attack and a few guys jumped away, all I could do was keep pushing and pushing, not allowing anything to get too far up the road. I was always hopeful of someone trying to jump across so I could get a draft, a rest and some respite. As those bridging the gap and ultimately assisting me, assessed the situation behind, saw me sitting on, the pace eased and another move went, everyone sat up and let it go and once again I had to take the reigns and continue to push on. Laps passed, Tom Kaesler and Harry Carpenter attacked and my legs were starting to buckle and I was starting to lose grip on the race. I just pushed and pushed checking my Garmin every now and then watching the time tick by, the power numbers rise along with the heart rate and pain filling my legs. There was no way I was going to be able to bring back two riders with such ability, I could feel the remainder of the peloton sitting behind biding their time before they flew past. The lap board came out and I saw two laps to go, I now knew there were only a few minutes of pain left and just kept pushing. One and a half laps to go still everyone was behind me, coming around to get the bell and I could hear the gears start to change and most of the peloton came rushing past. Head down and only 800 metres to go, all of a sudden I was dodging bodies for the second time as Tristan Jones (Lightsview) made the same move as his team mate in Gassner and met the same fate sliding across the ground just in front of me. I dug deep and just tried to get a sit on the back of the bunch as I had to chase to catch the guys who had just passed me, my legs just wanted to stop and as I crossed the line just on the back of the bunch that’s exactly what they did. Eleventh place meant a few points to go towards the overall series but not enough to hold onto that yellow jersey. Today was probably one of the hardest days racing I’ve had in a while, not just physically but mentally. I wont usually put up numbers from a race where I didn’t have a successful result due to readers having previously told me what I’m doing wrong, so unlike my most previous race blogs I’ll be keeping these ones in the back pocket for another time. An unlucky day for the Van D’am Racing p/b Butterfields but we’ll be back in a couple weeks with all our skin back and all cylinders firing.