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Another (small) step in the right direction

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By pommyracer - Posted on 12 November 2013

Re: This ride meeting: 
2013 Highland Fling
Position (Overall): 
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My fourth fling and another great wkend in the Southern Highlands!

Have loved reading all the other blogs on this - def my favourite race of the year (not that I have a terribly wide base!). Since my first fling in 09 I've knocked 50 mins off my time...just another 8 to go and I will retire happy)

Here's a brief overview of my weekend
- I think I've trained harder and smarter for this year's race than in previous years. I was more confident going in and had set myself an ambitious target of sub 3 hours
- got to Bundanoon on the Saturday (in glorious weather - whats all the fuss about..)and enjoyed the usual activities going on in town. pitched the tent and turned around to see a wall of grey clouds. not especially happy at this as i'm less experienced in the mud and slippiness (the scott in 2012 and capital punishment a few years previous still give me nightmares)
- positioned myself in the morning towards the back of the 2-3 hour wave. didn't mind the cold and rain really at this point. decided against sunnies. usual chaos at the start but eventually it died down. my heart rate in the early stages was unsustainably high (went to average 157 which i didn't think was possible for me over 3 hours). was having issues with one of my cleats and seemed to always be in the middle of trains which made the wind hard work, but rolled into wingello on 1:12 which was the same as last year
- my superstar wife had made it to transition and helped me fix my shoe, top up my camelbak (which I proceeded to then just ride round with for the rest of the race) and change bottles. She helped my greatly but i still spent 3.5mins in transition and most of the people i was around were simply riding through. lesson number 1!
- it was around the 40-45km mark that in previous years i've started to struggle. this year, i was consciously easing back on the hills way before that. at the time i hated others riding away from me but it def helped later on. i walked parts of the rollercoaster but felt good up the longer climbs through the field. no sign of cramps yet although i was hesitant about pushing on.
- another area I need to improve on is my pace through the singletrack. it was slippy and I just didn't feel like i had any flow. i was making it v hard work. Plus it seemed to go on forever - didn't twig until afterwards that they had lengthened this section!!
- came out of the singletrack and realised I still had energy to push on. I'd never been able to do this before! the last 10kms or so I pushed as hard as I could. I was actually passing people!! A lot of people. Went right at your call and think it was the correct call at my speed.
- was slightly unhappy to see the 3 hour mark tick by but knew i was going to beat my previous times (factoring in the weather and the slight increase in single track, 7 minutes on last year i'm pretty pleased with)
- didn't hang around at the end. my wife had packed the tent and I was starting to get cold so just threw everything in the car and got back in time to start cleaning up!!

overall I'm happy, but know I still have a lot of things to improve on: train harder and smarter so i don't have to ease as much on any hills; don't waste 3.5mins at transition; improve my singletrack skills (my time on the KOM was 8.13 which was nearly 3 mins behind the top guys and they would have had backmarkers to contend with); imrpove my cornering on those firetrails - i'm too hesitant with a layer of loose gravel on the surface, especially if there are others around.

the whole event just confirms to me how much I love riding and competing (even as an average joe). bring on the next event!!

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