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Jet Racing - Highland Fling 2012

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By Antsonline - Posted on 13 November 2012

Re: This ride meeting: 
Highland Fling 2012
Jet Racing
Did not finish
Race Category: 

Its Friday 9th of November. I thought I would start my race report here.
Its been a hell of a week. One that I havent really shared with anyone other that my 'inner circle' of friends.
On Tuesday evening, I woke in the middle of the night with shivers and sweats. I lay in bed and just thought "why now?"

Training has been going so well. The trip to NZ was great, the other sessions I have done have really been perfect. Everything was getting itself together.
On Tuesday, I would have told you I was 100% confident of the best race of my career. Then - the flu.

I spent the whole day in bed on Wednesday, and then most of it in bed on Thursday. Drugs, fluid, and cursing - that was my diet for two days.
Thursday afternoon came and I could move around normally without any nausea. Within hours, I felt better and normal again.
How much damage was done? Maybe none. In fact - maybe some enforced rest was a really good thing.
Only when I continue this race report on Sunday evening and Monday morning will I be able to tell.

The Fling is a huge race. The biggest on the calendar. I have a lot at stake here - the XCM series comes to a huge crescendo, and the overall positional permutations are too many to list - but other than the top 2 (Lewis and Blair) the rest of the Top 5 can change. Lots of things to consider when watching for breaks and moves in the bunch.

From a team perspective, Jet has a lot of 'irons in the fire'. Kyle and Garry and Rob are all racing the 'half' - and the top 3 positions are up for grabs in the series.
Very impressive riding all season - which order they finish in - well, that comes down to Sunday too. Its not like Formula 1 either - there are no team orders here.
Jayden Ward - showing huge fitness gains since his mid-season injury - is back racing with the big boys (where he should be) and is really going to get amongst it in the half too. At 16.
Even the youngest rider - Callum Carson - only back from a broken collar bone a week or so ago - will be on the line. Not much expected from him this weekend, but give him a few more weeks of riding and he'll be right as rain.

With so much going on, its important to focus on your own effort….
It was all made much easier with some magnificent news - received early on Friday morning - from Mark Newton at Jet. It was a cryptic text message…
"We are expecting something exciting today - cant say anymore"

By lunchtime, it was clearer - out of the blue, with no notice - our 2013 race bikes had arrived. Specialized had pulled a rabbit out of a hat for us. S-Works Epics, with the fancy new Sram XX1
If there was anything going to make me forget my sickness, and give me an edge for the weekend, it was a brand new, top of the line, 9.4kg race bike.

Bring it on!!!

So - its Friday, I am leaving the office. See you on the other side…….

I return to this on Tuesday morning. Its 9.30am on Tuesday 13th of November. The Highland Fling has been run and won.

What happened? Well - if I hear the question 'what happened?' much more, I think I will scream.

For me, I had a very bad day.I became unwell again on Saturday afternoon, it really didn’t look good. Sunday morning dawned, I warmed up, I prepared perfectly, but when the pace went on, I felt I was lacking something. Out of the blocks and up the road things were fine, I was surrounded by the very fastest people in Marathon mountain biking in Australia, and was feeling ok. We hit the grassy climb in the first field, and I had to push a bit deeper than normal to stay in the first 10. Not great. I seemed to be just losing wheels, and when we crossed the first water hazard, I found myself losing ground up the climb. My team-mate Kyle actually put his hand on my back and gave me a push!
All the while, the bike was working like clockwork. It was incredible. Through sand, water, over the fast waterbars, through the fields, it didn’t miss a beat. The Specialized suspension technology, married to the XX1 gears made for a silent ride. Incredible.
On a fairly ordinary piece of double-track, I christened my bike and ended my race in one go. I threw up. All over my top tube.
I got off my bike, and spent 5mins in the bushes being sick. The race was over. I couldn’t believe it. Everything - all my prep, gone.
I rode to the first water point, and got a lift home. Distraught.

As I was being sick, every one of my team-mates slowed to see how I was. Kyle, Garry, Jayden, Rob Booker and Callum - all of them were concerned for me before their own race. Very touching.

Happily, the rest of the team went to some great rides.
Kyle and Garry rode at the front of the race all the way until the water point where the 1/2 Fling splits off. There were 4 of them at the front - Kyle, Garry, Andrew Ash and Cameron Ivory. After a further 20km of some fairly cagey racing, Kyle felt that enough was enough, and it was time to show his hand. He attacked and didn’t look back. It turned out to be enough. Kyle crossed the line as winner of the 2012 Highland 1/2 Fling. It confirmed his position as the winner of the 1/2 Marathon series as well. The week before, he won the NSW XC series. A very good season for Kyle.

Behind him, a real battle developed between Garry and Andrew Ash. Cameron Ivory had found the pace too hot and was dropped and gone. Garry and Andy went at each other with everything. In a great ride, Andy surged Garry one last time, and got a gap. No matter how hard Garry tried to get back - he just couldn’t bridge across. 2nd went to Ash, and 3rd to Garry. This result meant that Garry secured 2nd overall in the series.
A slightly dejected looking Rob rolled over the line a few places later. Unfortunately, the results hadn't gone his way, and the 'dream' podium for the series, of Jet 1,2,3 (as we had at the State XC series) wasn’t to be. Rob finished 4th in the series behind the always fast Brad Morton from Giant / Onyabike.

Jaydens race was going very well indeed. At the water-point, he was only a couple of minutes behind the very front of the race. A great ride. Unfortunately, coming home he punctured. He fixed it, albeit slowly, and rolled in slightly disappointed. I tihnk when he looks at the split times, and how his ride was looking until then, he will be happy.
Finally, Callum - pretty much his first ride back on an MTB since his accident. He rolled around very nicely. Always a very smooth pedaller, Callum has huge talent on the bike - his fitness will come quickly, and it was great to see him out there again.

We all finished, and were delighted to be guests at the Specialized Athletes Lounge at the event. Matt, Tanya and Con made us all feel so welcome on the day. It meant a huge amount to us.
Mark, the owner from Jet was out there with his boys, cheering us on, as was Kane - the team manager. It really felt like a perfect way to cement the team for 2013, and also to crown and end a 2012 season that has been successful beyond our wildest dreams.
A seasons review will follow, but it really has been bigger and better than we ever thought. Jet Racing has been created. In 1 year it has become one of the most recognised teams on the circuit, always threatening at the front of any level race.

Thank you to all involved so far - in particular Jet Cycles and Specialized. We look forward to the 2013 season with bigger plans, bigger dreams, and bigger expectations.

Logan's picture

Whilst I don't intimately know the prep you would of been putting in, I can but guess the amount of training you have completed to be ready for the race and certainty know the feeling myself from earlier this year. However fair play to you, you gave it a go and turned up and did your best.

Nice write up as well.

LadyToast's picture

Bad luck but a brilliant write up as always, it's great to have a track side commentary to what happens at the front of the pack with the best in the game.

jp's picture

Thanks for the reports this year Anthony - always great to read. My wife said you were referred to as Supercoach in an interview while we were all out on course. Nice!

Looking forward to the next video project.

Antsonline's picture

Ha - yeah. There was some talk of that.
To be honest, I am very lucky to work with incredibly capable athletes, all of whom really, really, want to win.
Jenny, Kyle, Garry, Jayden - talent in spades
The masters guys - Paul, Brian, Matt - all of them went extremely well, and have worked very hard.

Supercoach - not sure. But coach of super athletes - certainly.

Supagav's picture

IT does take a little bit of "super" from the coach to be able to get the best out of the athletes you are coaching so supercoach isnt far off the mark I reckon. You and the crew of Jet Racing Team should all be very proud of what you have achieved in you first year, it has been amazing to be sitting on the side line watching you guys grow as a group to the point now when you have a huge presence at any race you attend. Even rocking up to race in Rotorua you guys were a recognized force aye cuzzin'.
Tough for you to have to miss out on the last big race of the marathon season due to the flu, I guess sometimes shit happens.

So time for a bit of R&R now? Whats the plans for the Jet Racing Team over the summer?

GAZZA's picture

Once again, a nice write up.
I know the feeling of a big let down to a race you've been training hard for. It happened to me the week earlier with the State XC Champs and my bad back.
I'm sure you've got big plans for 2013?
Good luck and show em what your made of!!!!

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