Rough route wrecks Roman return
A RUNNING battle with broken glass, nails and other bits of junk conspired against Morgan Pilley in his bid for another Rome 24hr title.
The professional mountain biker is in recovery mode after taking on his only 24-hour race of the 2014 season.
It is a long way from the days of old where Pilley rode exclusively in the long distance events, but for at least the last two seasons Pilley has focussed on marathon distance events.
"Yeah, it's a real mental change going from racing 2-4hr races to 24hr racing," Pilley said.
"I used to be able to do 24hr races every three weeks without even thinking about it.
"Leading up to this race, I had to get into the right head space and be prepared mentally for what I had to do."
With that background you would expect Pilley to be happy with his fourth-placed finish, but the Yamba boy said he was disappointed with how it unfolded.
Pilley's lowest moment came early on the Sunday morning when a flat took the tyre off the rim.
"I couldn't repair it and had to walk/run the remainder of the lap which was about 6kms," Pilley said.
"I got back to the race pits, changed bikes and grinded out the last couple of hours. I was in 2nd and closing in on first when that happened.
"Getting back on the bike for the final few hours wasn't very easy or comfortable. It would have been easy to stop, but you have to respect the race, your jersey and sponsors."
Flat tyres plagued most riders as the Rome park in which they rode was full of rubbish.
"There's glass, rubbish, and I even pulled a nail out of my tyre at one stage," Pilley said.
"Lots of riders had problems, but it was so frustrating. It cost me a lot of time and I slipped back in the standings."