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2013 Highland Fling - Done and Dusted

Chitts's picture

By Chitts - Posted on 11 November 2013

Re: This ride meeting: 
2013 Highland Fling
Team Magellan
Position (Overall): 
Race Category: 
Position (Category): 

I was training well for the Fling when disaster struck. My 3 year old got the flu and passed it onto me, fever, snot, and a chesty cough about 3 weeks ago. It knocked me out training for about 8 days and really got me worried as I looked at the Strava data for my riding buddies and saw them smashing out intervals during the week and putting in some serious weekend rides. My lip was dragging along the floor, my wife was ready to kill me, and my 3 year old was indifferent.

Anyway, race day rolled around and Minter and I headed down on Saturday arvo and set up camp with some riding mates before heading out for pizza for dinner. Minter had 3 or 4 beers (a ritual which has taken on a level of religious significance for him - a winning formula), while I sipped on my water.

We then headed back to our tents for a night of very mediocre sleep as my cheap-as-chips tent was blowing in the wind, with the sides frequently bowing down to tap us on the head....nice!

The alarm went off at 5:30am and the morning was off to a fantastic start as my bowel was ready for action by 5:33 and there was only one person in front of me in the toilet queue....happy days!!

Given the shite weather, we really didn't get a chance to warm up properly and headed over to the start line for the pre-ride briefing. I am sure Huw had some interesting things to say but I couldn't hear him over the chattering of my teeth. I think being bald makes me colder!

The race starts and so does my race stay with Minter (NOBMOB name Wathog....coz he looks like one) as well as Paris Basson (another mate and Magellan rider who would no doubt be in that front group too). We head out....about 3 minutes in and I am executing like a legend...Minter is right there in front of me, and Paris is locked on Minters tail like a heat seeking missile and I am in the lead group. About 5 minutes in and "where the fck are Minter and Paris and that lead group" and who are these people around me?

I am cross with myself for failing in my promise to myself to try stick with the front group until the point I explode into a world of pain. What a fckn pu%%y!!

Anyway, I plod on dropping some people and getting dropped by others...they must be doping and I am clean Smiling

At some point in the 2nd stage, I see Minter with his bike was upside down, his wheel was off, and he was kicking and head-butting a tree while using language that would make Eddie Obeid blush. My heart dropped....the poor poor unlucky can you get! When you train and ride and share so much with someone over so many years, you really do become emotionally invested in their success. Ant Shippard talks about it in his post with guys he has trained like Brian and Wayne, and he is spot on.

Anyway, about 30 minutes later I ended up riding with Brian and someone unknown. I was struggling up one of the steep firetrail climbs when I feel a hand on my lower back pushing me and it is Minter. He says "lets go" and that was all it took to give me a massive 2nd wind. We accelerated (I have no idea where it came from), but when I looked back, Brian and "unknown") where nowhere to be seen. That is the power of motivation and friendship! A hand on the back and a word of encouragement is very powerful.

We rode in to the transition together and refilled our bottles, but then Minter was fixing his hair and make-up (tough gig when you look like a warthog) and I was worried about a penalty so I departed. Minter caught me about 15 minutes in (at a pace that made it appear like I was looking for parking) , but by then I was starting to get twinges of muscle spasm and decided not to try stay with him. I ended up riding most the last leg with two guys who were both in my category (vets). Half way up the short and steep, I accelerated with all my worth....I love technical climbing Smiling and when I hit the smooth open firetreail, I tucked into a TT position and went balls to the wall. The head/cross wind was strong and my triceps were screaming (despite my guns being massive)....and I kept looking around panicking that they would work together to reel me in, but they had nothing left and were not chasing. I rode into the finishing straight to clock just under 5 hours and 10th in category.

Was I happy...hell yes. Was I disappointed.....hell yes. Truth was that I had been hoping for a top 5, and had been targeting a time closer to 4:45, but the field was too strong and I know I put in a good effort and enjoyed the race.

Next year, I am moving out of home 8 weeks before the race to avoid my (soon to be 3) children and the inevitable germs they seem to carry. Either that or I will ask the wife for a haz-mat suit for Xmas Smiling

Well done to all who rode and the great sport of mountain biking!!

Paris crossed the line first in the Full Fling, but had only taken about 2 or 3 minutes at transition, so very disappointingly (for all of us), he ended up 5th in the Vets category, but considering he placed first at the Whaka 100km in NZ 2 weeks ago in his category, and raced the Cranleigh K2.... a 200km road race in NZ last weekend placing 9th in category)that is a stupendous result.

Despite losing a good 15 minutes with what turned out to be 2 punctures, Minter came in 2nd in the Masters (7 or so minutes behind the winner), so all was not lost. I was really chuffed coz I got to wait around until 4:30pm in the bloody freezing cold rainy Southern Highlands weather so he could collect his prizes...which is exactly what I felt like doing before driving him home. He did buy me a coffee to say thanks. Well done are a legend!

Many thanks to Magellan for the sponsorship of both us and The Fling. The GPS units are great, the Cyclo 105 that the team riders all use is an excellent unit ( and the new 500 series is top notch technology....with the full colour maping etc, and weighing in at just a smidgen more than the small units despite the larger size. Best of all, it will be available in time for Christmas

As Huw said at the Fling....please support the race sponsors!!

Lastly, a thank you to Syntace, whose top end products grace the most aspirational bike out there...the legendary Epic-Sworks 29'er. I personally am running the full Syntace stem, bar, seatpost combo, and they are not only aesthetically beautiful, but I love knowing that my all important carbon bits are produced by a manufacturer who offers a 10 year warranty. That is true faith in one's product.

Dicko's picture

well done Ian great ride ,

I was chasing hard, as I Knew you couldnt be far up the road, as it works out you were just far enough ahead.

Great story, and yes Minter is a powerhouse. But i guess you can't be fast and goodlooking - right ?

doc's picture

Didn't see you on the day, but obviously you were on a mission.

Nice yarn and well done !

Brian's picture

Well done Ian on a great ride. I was done by the time Minter came along. I'm not sure when you change to the Masters category but this was my last Fling in Vets. One thing is for sure, Masters looks just as competitive.

Chitts's picture

....and congrats to you all too.

Brian, I am unfortunately turning 39 on Wednesday (tomorrow) implying I will still be 39 for next year's Fling by just a few days. I will need to look in the small print to see if there is anything that could allow me to enter the old boys race. I think Convict is the "month or year you turn 40".

While it is competitive in the Masters, I would have been 4th I think instead of 10th, which is a very big difference. The Vets category is insane!!

Just think how scary-strong you and Dicko will be at the Convict after completing the Epic next year....Us Magellan boys will need to up our game big time!!

Brian's picture

I just had a look and the Fling is your age on the day of the race. The Convict is what you turn in the year of the race.

Chitts's picture

.....Nooooooo....oh well, will have to resort to training hard then. At least you will be out of my less SXC Racing person to worry about Smiling

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