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Another year of racing gone by! Where does time go? Well, I suppose "All Good Flings" come to an end...
I didn’t expect to end up in the middle of a cattle muster at the Fling, but that’s how I spent part of my race on Sunday.
I went into this race not sure how I would go. Last year my training was very structured and consistently around 12 hours+ per week. That resulted in 11th place in a field of nearly 300. This year it was more like 7 hours a week, but did include some power-based training at Cycle Studio with James Lamb (highly recommended). Overall I knew I was reasonably fit, but not sure if I was as fit as last year.
So i had been training for quite a while in the lead up to this event and thought i may not have done enough technical stuff, well i was correct. I arrived on Sat arvo to stay at the pub in Bundanoon, it was foggy and drizzly and cool, the place was buzzing though so i checked in to my digs and headed of to rego.
Well yesterday I reckon I had one of my best days ever on a bike. Not in terms of results – I pretty much came last. But in terms of fun, camaraderie, smiles, all mixed in with just the right amount of suffering – yesterday had it all!
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.
Reader warning: Settle in - this will be a long one!
Lets start with the specifics - I came 7th, which turns out to be my best finishing position at The Fling. I also had the most in any bike race I have had for years. Any previously lost mojo seems to have been returned, with interest, and along with it came good(ish) legs and a carefree spirit.
But there was so much about the race that wrong. Furthermore, almost every aspect of this event was contrary to how anyone would advise you to go about it.
This was my big comeback event following my crash back in March. I’ve been doing lots of base km over the last 2 months but no specific training yet so came to the event knowing I’m underdone but desperate to have a go.
I also built a new bike during the week and only tested it on the road over few short km.
We arrived half hour before the start, checked in then arrived at the event centre to be surprised at how few cars were parked compared to previous years. Another shrinking event? Not sure what’s happening to our sport but events are getting smaller.
Weather was not real auspicious on the drive down on Saturday arvo and it continued misty / drizzly into the night. I never sleep well under canvas when it's wet, so woke up well before the bagpipes and feeling like I could do with a few more hours.
First race as an over 60 competitor and first podium!
Pity there were no other old bastards willing to tackle the hills and heat out at Mowbray Park, as first in a field of 1 does not mean much other than a free 6-pack of sponsors beer. - not sure who to thank, as I got 6 Peroni in a Bakalar Beer package!
Winters has been a pretty quiet affair as far as racing goes.