The weekend of riding started on Friday night after school. One of my friends had just bought a new mountain bike and there are some tracks near my place I've been meaning to try for a while so we went and did two laps and ended up riding for an hour. 
On Saturday was one of the most unique races of the year. The Dirt Berg. The Dirt Berg is a 21.5 km  handicap with the last 8.4 km's being dirt. I started on scratch (the last group) 9 minutes behind the front group. The front groups were not the people to worry about though. The group 4 minutes ahead had many strong riders, Steve Damm (last years winner), Lisa Barry (team Bicycle Superstore), Charly McMillan, Clancy Lloyd and Liam McAllister. 

Our group's plan was to keep it together on the climbs and work hard as a group on the flat. We did the first bit well but I think a few people in the group struggled a bit so after the climb there was only a few people still rolling through. Because of this I decided to push the pace as soon as we hit the dirt to see who was actually struggling and who was just sitting on. This shook a few people off but not Liam McAllister (who we had previously caught). Liam attacked and I tried to close the gap quickly. In hindsight this was probably not the smartest thing to do. I would of been better of letting Liam go for a few reasons. Firstly he had been dropped from his group and we had caught him so therefore he wasn't so strong and secondly it would of forced other people to do more work. 
After closing the gap to Liam I decided to keep the pace up. This dropped Liam and left three of us trying to catch the remaining riders. Our group of three riders wasn't working too well though. It seemed like we were more worried about each other than catching the people in front.  At about 15.5 km into the race the attacks started. At around 4 km to go Andy Kaye put in a big attack and then after he was bought back Declan Gregory attacked as well. This all most finished me, after we caught Declan I was struggling to hang on the back. 

I knew that if Declan or Andy attacked again I wouldn't be able to go with them. So I decided to go to the front and try and keep the speed high enough to keep Declan and Andy from attacking. This worked until the last rise where one of them attacked and I couldn't hang on any longer.

This wasn't the end of the race though, even though there was only 500 meters left there was still another rider I had a chance of catching. So I kept going as hard as I could and caught him just before the line.

I was happy with this result because I kept up with much stronger riders right until the final climb. But I felt our group could of worked a bit harder before the dirt to try and catch a few more riders.

1st Stephen Damm (41:05)
2nd Robbie Storey (St Kilda CC)
3rd Rob Belsher
4th Zac Drury
5th Rohan Christmas
6th Andy Kaye (FT - 40:29)
7th Chris Little
8th Declan Gregory
9th Ryan Allen
10th Mark Dunlop
11th Adam Farrugia 

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