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First Full Fling

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By Discodan - Posted on 11 November 2013

Re: This ride meeting: 
2013 Highland Fling
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Well that was a race, as my first full fling ever and first race of any sort for a couple of years I wasn't planning on setting the world on fire.

Things got off to a bad start when the diff on my car destroyed itself somewhere near Campbelltown on the way up but the gods took pity on me. I took the bike out the back so people would know I was a rider and stuck my thumb out and literally 30 secs later a car pulled up with a spare rack on the roof and room for all of my crap. My new mate even let me sleep in the back of his wagon and gave me a lift home on Sunday: Simon, you're a legend!

As for the race itself, I won't go into too much detail:

- Wearing a rain jacket for the first stage was a good move to avoid start-line chills and a gradual warm-up. I was really impressed with the Gore-Tex Active fabric which is sooo much more breathable than conventional Gore-Tex, I literally had no sweat inside the jacket when I got there

- Overall it was interesting how little fluid I took in, it would have been a third of what I planned/needed despite trying to keep it up. It didn't seem to cause an issue but meant I carried at least 1kg around all day that I didn't need to.

- The first pack of elites passed us in the stage 2 fireroads and the other waves when we were in the tight single track. There wasn't an issue, people made way, they were polite. It all just worked.

- Next year I need lower gearing, 1x9 with a 34t front meant I was really grinding on some of the stage 2 hills and had to walk a few times once I was toasted, I have a 33t at home ready to go but it may be time to go 1x10 as well.

- The weather was perfect, aside from not being able to feel my toes for 80km it was cool and the drizzle kept the track just right

- An interesting lesson in roadie sharing going into Wingello the second time. Those open winds were brutal so myself and an english guy I'd been swapping with took turns pulling and made good headway including adding a few other stragglers to the train. One of the Elite Girls (in third) had passed us on the earlier tracks but then spent herself on the open roads going solo and dropped off the back. Overall I was a lot more conscious about wind and draft than I have been in the past and it certainly helped.

- what's with that hill after ford with the choir at the top? A few years ago doing the half I cramped badly on it and yesterday as soon as I hit it I was off the bike in agony, my only time for the day. It's no different than a dozen other hills we did yesterday but now it's forever to be known as cramp hill.

- the technical section around the Magellan KOM was good fun but cruel at the end particularly as it was getting slippery, I'm sure a few people had oopsies there.

- In all it was a tough day but not as but as I'd thought it could be, I was toasted and just in survival mode for a while but overall it was fun. Well done to everyone who had a go and hats off to the guys that actually raced it

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