A late decision to compete at the Australian Marathon Championships has paid off for Peta Mullens, with the Victorian claiming the Elite Women’s title at Derby, Tasmania.
It is the second time the Bendigo rider has taken out the XCM National title, the last back in 2012.
“I was originally going to race and after Oceanias I had a rough run and thought I probably need to have a big break into Cairns. But was feeling good in training and couple of ergo sessions and really had the itch to race.”
Mullens would finish right on four hours.
“All I had to think about was getting to the top of the climb in the last lap and last hour was great fun.”
It was an intriguing battle for the minor placing’s with Jenni King (VIC) silver and Briony Mattocks (NSW) bronze.
An overcast sky and some light drizzle greeted riders ahead of their 70km journey around the famed Blue Derby trail in Tasmania’s North-East.
For Mullens, it would be a cautious start despite coming into the course blind.
“Wasn’t sure what my tactic was today and didn’t know whether I’d sit with the girls for a lap to see what Atlas was like cause I hadn’t ridden it.”
But the confidence grew and from there, and the former Australian road champion put the hammer down on what riders described as a technical and challenging course.
“I felt good on the first climb and thought I’ll try and dishearten them and go out and hurt myself.”
While it was only a battle with the clock for the Victorian Mullens, King had to overcome an ordinary first lap where she was sitting in fifth.
“I felt terrible at the start but really lucky on the technical descent and those other girls were climbing really well. And I had to put everything in to get second today.”
Briony Mattocks, who finished second at the recent National XCM Series in Alice Springs, would produce a gut busting performance.
The Sydney rider, dropped more than a minute on the third and final lap to over-take Eliza Kwan (ACT) and Anna Beck (QLD) to snatch bronze.
“I would’ve thought top 5 for me would’ve been exceptional so third I’m beyond happy.”
It wasn’t a happy hunting ground for National XCM Series leader Imogen Smith who suffered a technical on the final lap to finish back of the pack.