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Port to Port - Stages 1 & 2

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Having some connection with the Hunter Valley, I have been keen to give the Port to Port a crack since its inception.

This year is it's third and I finally got around to entering it, but could only make it for the first two stages. Having completed them now, I think I would have only lasted the first two anyways!

I went into this completely underdone but was riding with an old mate who had come over from South Australia for it and so it was a very social affair. I wont post times or position and the like - suffice it to say I was very much towards the rear on both days.

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First Lap Based Event - not racing for sheep stations!!

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So, with a truly last minute leave pass granted at 3pm on Friday (thanks you Mrs. Pyrate!!), I quickly registered on-line for the 4 Hour Solo and started thinking about the logistics of getting ready for the race - what kit was clean? How many gels have I got? Hydration pack or bidons?

I was keen to give this race a go both as a solid training hit out but also to get a feel for lap based events, which I had never done before, as I have an eye on the Chocolate Foot Single-track Mind series later this year.

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What a difference a year makes

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So, last year was my first time to the Highland Fling and I gave the Half Fling a go.

At that stage I had been riding for just over 6 months and so I was given a rather rude shock with that race. Finishing was a feat unto itself for me and I got around in a little over 5 hours, finishing in the bottom 10% both overall and in Masters.

This year, I was after some redemption. I had been more rigorous in my preparation and simply had 12 months worth of riding under my belt, and so I was hoping to get around in a little under 4 hours, mindful that the course was shorter this year.

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Kowalski 50Km

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This was my second ever 50Km race - the other being last years Fling.

In the lead up to this two things happened.

Firstly, I took Mr Shippards advice and rode as much single track as possible.

Secondly, I got a cold.

Swollen glands and a bastard of a sore throat greeted me every morning for the last week and I seriously considered pulling out or at least dropping back tot he 25km race.

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Bit by bit. Little by little.

So, I entered this race again this year to test how I have progressed over the 14 months since I first got on a MTB.

Last year I finished in just over 1 hour 15 minutes and going into this one I really wanted to come in under the hour.

Though I missed out by 67 seconds on that goal, there are other ways to measure progress. Most importantly for me was that, unlike last year, I rode every climb and didn't stop once.

May not sound much to many here, but it is a quiet victory for me.

Thanks to the organizers for a lovely little event.

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First Ever Half Fling

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First ever Half Fling, second ever race, and I am equal parts shattered, disappointed and satisfied.

Even though I was going in knowingly underdone (life gets in the road of training more often than not lately) I had hoped to get around in 4 hours, but as I approached Wingello I realised that was not going to happen.

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My first "real "race.

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I got on a bike 4 months ago knowing nothing of the sport or anyone in my group of friends and acquaintances who rides. I basically wanted to drop kegs and get fit and was very quickly surprised how much I thoroughly enjoy getting out for a ride when work and family allowed it.

My inner competitive streak was tweaked when I realised how much racing has a part to play in all this, and so I had been looking for a pathway into racing that wasn't going to flog me, whilst still allowing me an opportunity to get a taste of racing.

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