Meet Marty McNamara ... the Natural.
On Saturday morning, the 34-year-old Singleton mechanic's mind was duelling with two major themes: the pursuit of longshot sporting glory, and the wellspring of humanity: regeneration.
So as soon as the presentation was over, declaring McNamara the winner of the Keegan Downes Memorial Sundowner Handicap Cycling Classic, he was in a car racing back home because his wife, Lisa Jackson, is heavily pregnant with their third child.
McNamara was born in Gunnedah and spent his formative years there, hence the gravitation pull the Sundowner has on him. His wife's family still reside in Gunnedah.
It was only the second time he had competed in a race. His debut came at the 2018 Sundowner, when he finished in 25th place.
"It's a bit of a surprise, really," he said of the win. "I didn't have any real experience.
"And I thought that I'd be beaten on tactics, I guess, because I didn't really know what I was doing - I was just pedalling."
The 121 starters were greeted sunshine and a tailwind.
McNamara started Saturday's race in bunches 10 and nine, the first to go in the 105km examination from Coonabarabran to Gunnedah, before winning his first-ever sprint finish.
The next four placegetters - including fourth-placed Angus Martin of Gunnedah and fifth-placed Emily Gilmour-Walsh of the Penrith Cycling Club - rode together for most of the race.
McNamara finished in 2hr 36 min 29sec, the same time given to second-placed Terence Wall, of the Illawarra Cycle Club, and third-placed Andrew Jackson of the Camden Cycle Club.
Commenting on the sprint finish, he said: "Basically, I was just trying to take note of stuff I'd watched on tele in cycling, to be honest ... and just tried to do those tactics - and it seemed to work."
Sean Whitfield, of the Canberra Cycle Club, recorded the fastest time: 2.01.09.
The fastest female was Haylee Fuller of the Dubbo Cycle Club: 2.22.11.
McNamara, who rides for "a bit of fitness", plans to defend his Sundowner title next year.
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