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The Fuller Fling

GarethP's picture

By GarethP - Posted on 09 November 2015

Re: This ride meeting: 
Highland Fling 2015
Position (Overall): 
Race Category: 
100mile - Men
Position (Category): 

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!

The weeks before the race was the usual stress fest. My training had gone really well and I felt ready to go. Things came slightly undone mentally in the 2 weeks before the race – I didn’t have the taper I wanted and the weather was doing my head in – the last thing I wanted was to ride 100 miles in the rain. So I felt mentally a bit uncertain and knowing how mental these long races are had me a bit worried.

I drove down the night before in light drizzle and spent a restful night at the NP campsite just out of Bundanoon. This place was a great little find – BBQ’s, toilets, hot showers all 2 mins out of town. After a drizzly night dawn broke cloudy but not too cold. Time to rock and roll!

It was quite funny being called up to the front of the race, especially knowing most of the field would blitz past us in the first 100 meters! My friend Meredith (being the only female 100 miler) was called RIGHT to the front and led the field out of the Ferndale event centre.

Sustainability was the order of the day – we needed to ride at a reasonable pace (to make the cut offs) but never in the red zone. Very early on we picked up another miler – Lewis and the three of us cruised through the beautiful countryside, enjoying the scenery and having a chat. It was all very social. It’s always a thrill watching the elite train come through, and this year we were caught right in a boggy, grassy section which was a bit tricky.

We ambled through transition and headed off into the Wingello section. I don’t think I was the only person who had a grin from ear to ear along here! The new sections of single track were absolutely amazing! I was blown away, just so much fun. The trails here were in good nick too – perhaps slightly on the greasy side but nothing major. Still felt great along here though there was a moment when I looked at my Garmin with 50km on the clock and realised I still had a Full Fling to go! But I decided to just break the race into 3rds – one down, two to go!
We were still riding together as a threesome – not always side by side but never far from each other and we’d periodically re-group. It was brilliant to have company – it would have been MUCH harder alone and it really helps to have friends nearby to keep spirits up. If I was feeling down I sometimes drifted off the front or back for a bit of ‘me’ time but we were always close. Halfway Hill and the Kick came and went, love those screaming FT descents but you need to pay to play!

We rode into the 100 mile feed station at the end of the first Wingello loop feeling great and thinking we were well in front of the cut offs. Heading off into the unknown of the second loop did have an element of craziness to it! But we had loved the trail so much – let’s do it again. All of the single trail was sampled and enjoyed again and we went through the midway aid station. Things slightly fell apart here – there is some good riding but we could not really take advantage of it. I realised that the 4pm cut off to begin the final stage was actually going to be really tight. Sure enough we made it with 5mins to spare and were hustled out of the aid station. A single flat tyre or a hotter day and we probably would not have made it. The extra single track in Wingello (while super fun) certainly slowed that stage down a bit I thought.

The final stage – it lures you in with the promise of easy miles and the tantalising closeness of the finish. Then it smacks you down with the roller coaster section and the final single track! Boggy, muddy, rooty, treacherous. Plus all the pinch climbs! But honestly – it didn’t matter. We were so happy and knew we’d finish. Up the shorter, steeper section of your call and the last few easy road km’s Across the line and it’s all over!

I actually felt OK afterwards. I still think going really hard for the full fling is tougher – intensity really hurts!

Love this race – the whole vibe, the way that for one weekend the whole village of Bundanoon gets taken over by bikes! Bikes everywhere! The volunteers are amazing, we finished after 6pm and there were still people there to give us a rousing cheer! I was handed a hamburger and I would have done my Rottweiler proud the way I wolfed it down!

Antsonline's picture

You are crazy!! Well done though. An incredible effort, and it did strangely sound like fun. Rest up well and enjoy a few more burgers I'd say!!

GarethP's picture

Haha it was pretty funny with the burger - bit of a long story but I had a tick bite and I thought I had developed a red meat allergy (had some funny symptoms blah blah). Anyway - was going to give red meat a miss for a while - ate the burger in about 3 seconds and it didn't even cross my mind. About 2hrs later I suddenly remembered - hey, I said I wasn't going to eat meat. I think I would have eaten it either way!

the pedaling donkey's picture

kudos to ya Gareth, mega congratulations on an amazing effort for a seriously long day at the helm ( I know I couldnt do it)
cheers for the read & insight to those who ventured out all day !
Let the bragging rites flow cause they're richly deserved ... even if you are crazy

Warthog's picture

Hats off to you crazy bunch of 100 milers. That is a great effort.

Fatboy's picture

Great ride Gareth. I did check the results last night to see how you did as I've seen your weekly km and I think that's amazing to finish Wingello and then go again. Most humans feel we have done our annual pilgrimage just to get out of Wingello in tact and certainly wouldn't consider doing it again. Well done!

jp's picture

Awesome effort Gareth.Well done.

obmal's picture

Great Stuff.

Welcome to the crazy club...

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