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Fling 2013 - Death by Cramps

hawkeye's picture

By hawkeye - Posted on 10 November 2013

Re: This ride meeting: 
2013 Highland Fling
Race Category: 
Half/Male/Super Masters
Position (Category): 

As my first Fling this was a real "learning experience".

I've had a mixed last six months since the Mont with rib displacement, a couple of winter chest infections, infected sutures needing 3 weeks on IV antibiotics (and no riding) and then another bloody headcold. Each one just as I was starting to get some training traction. But I've had a good last month or so ... so when PeteB suggested I give the Fling a crack on the back of some reasonable recent training sessions I thought why not. It's only 50-odd km, how hard can it be?

Well, today I learned that one 3 week cycle of base training does not prepare one for racing in anger.

I felt pretty good at Wingello oval and had been riding at a good pace playing tag with Lach but then in one of the single track sections at 40km or so I had a slip on a wet tree root and went bush to avoid hitting the deck ... and then felt the first cramp hit me in the hamstring. Then I found my pricey prescription Oakleys had come off ... uh-oh!

A quick backtrack on foot and I found them where id gone off the trail but now I was off the train and battling cramps every time the trail pointed up.

The last 16km consisted of spinning where I could, walking where I couldn't and occasional panic stops to crouch on my haunches when a bad one threatened to lock me solid.

I was in a pretty dark place for awhile and I felt sad for the guy a couple of bikes in front who went down hard in the rocky singletrack and was clearly worried about a fractured hip. So with my disappearing stamina I walked a lot of the damp sand covered rocky obstacles and I think it was the right call.

Brokeback mountain was never gonna happen but funnily I only lost a few bikelenghts to those riding.

So I was very pleased to finish and it looks like I even managed to reel a few in the last couple of km ... but I clearly didn't have as many matches to burn as I thought.

I'll be back next year if only to show this course who's boss.

The bike performed really well. Perfect steed for this kind of course. Too bad the engine sucked!

Lach's picture

You seemed to be going pretty well each time you passed me up until that point!

hawkeye's picture

Yeah ... I thought so too! Smiling

You did well. You were certainly a lot ssmoother than I was. A couple of poor line choices on my part like getting on the off camber side of the fire trail and you instantly put 50m between us.

I think sticking with a group on those fast flat open exposed fire trail sections might help a bit too.

obmal's picture

Bad luck on the cramps.

I agree that it was a bit (very) slippery on that last single, I saw a few people mess up there.. walking it was the safe choice for sure. Even the fire trails had very slippery rocks, I saw one guy on a niner hard tail have a true butt clenching moment at speed.. I tried to chase him down to congratulate him on the save.. but never saw him again

The new section would have been awesome in the dry.

hawkeye's picture

in the dry. I was thinking it would be good to go back and practice it a few times in the dry ... if you could find it!

Lach's picture

.. I think it's one of those bits that are off limits except for their annual outing at the Fling.

jp's picture

Yes, it's all on private property - Jumping Rock Station, where the owner kindly gives us access every year for the Fling.

Cramping makes it a tough day out - we've all been there, and it's no fun at all. You did well to finish.

hawkeye's picture

Well you've answered the other question.

Shame about that ... would be a superb track after a bit of bedding in.

Tristania's picture

Indeed cramps suck; just adding insult to injury. I'm sure we've (to some extent) experienced it at some point in some race or other, but know that I still religiously follow the nutritional information you gave me after my infamous CP this year which I much appreciate and hope to see you around Terrey Hills sometime soon.

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