2013 Highland Fling (Brian)

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Our results at this event
Rider Overall Category Pos. Time
Graham 22 Veteran Men 7 2:33:49
Wayne 40 Masters Men 4 5:01:41
Brian 41 Veteran Men 14 5:04:38
Gazza 42 Masters Men 5 5:05:12
David 66 Masters Men 8 5:16:51
Michael 81 Veteran Men 31 5:22:58
Gary 170 Masters Men 49 6:02:29

Back in June after having a break from all the races in the first part of the year I approached Anthony and Kyle for some ‘official’ help with training. After working out what races I was planning to do, come July, Kyle was set to coach me.

This is the first time I’ve ever had a structured plan for my training so I didn’t really know what to expect. The Fling was my target race but that being said, I still had other races scheduled and every time you line up at the start line you still want to go well. The weeks and months ticked over, races came and went and besides getting sick once, I really had the perfect lead into this race.

The week leading up to the Fling the weather wasn’t looking and I was getting pretty obsessed with checking it. I got down there late Saturday and it was still looking good. Sunday morning was overcast and it was still dry doing the warm up.

We get to the start line for rider briefing and this is when the rain starts. Standing there it was freezing. All the SXC guys lined up together but it must be GAZZA’s CX riding, the gun goes I look up and he’s gone. It didn’t take long to warm up and my goal was just to keep pushing a steady pace but mainly stay out of trouble. My HRM wasn’t working properly so I was going by feel which I don’t really like doing as I’m so use to having HR data. Gazza’s group was too fast to hold. I paired up with Michael and we took turns eventually getting back to the group. It was good we were all in the SXC kit as it was easier to pick each other out. Last year Michael rode past and I had no idea it was him.

So with the first section done there were some definitely solid efforts put in and I imagine my HR was running higher then normal. We got to transition, instead of topping up my camelbak I just grabbed a bottle, lubed my chain and headed for the other timing mat. I really didn’t want to be caught by a train. Here I had plenty of time so I stopped and cleaned my glasses. This is when the group rolled on through and as I wasn’t ready I had to wave them goodbye. I get my stuff together and wait to see if anyone else was coming through but nothing so I head off solo.

The start of the Wingello loop was a solo time trial which wasn’t a good way to start the loop. I caught the group just as we were heading into the first bit of single track and I was back on Michael’s rear wheel. This is when someone stalls on the little pinch after the rock chute descent and suddenly the last few riders are split from the group. After the ST I catch back up to Gazza on the fire road and then we rode the rest of the red loop together catching up to another group. The only rider I recognize was Chitts and we push past the drink stop and all of a sudden there were just 3 of us. I’m not sure where Gazza is at this stage but all I know is there are some big climbs coming. We hit half way hill and then the kick I’m not feeling good at all. When we get to the outer limits I start feeling twinges and I’m not in a good place. I’m starting to pay the price for burning too many matches early on. This is where Chitts team mate Minter comes past, after suffering an early mechanical, picks him up and I had nothing. Again, another solo effort now back to Wingello.

Back at transition I get more water, lube my chain and get ready to head off when Wayne comes in. I had already spent too long there so couldn’t wait and head off. I hit the road section and basically my legs were shutting down. Wayne caught up but my legs were cramping now and I was gone. I wasn’t happy and had to walk any loose pinch as my legs couldn’t handle any sudden movements. It was going up your call where Gazza catches back up and we rode the last few kms together.

When I finished I can say I was very disappointed with my race. Not because of my time or who beat me but the fact that I didn’t finish well.

After I got home and going over the results I can say a feel a lot better. It was definitely one of the hardest days on the bike for me and like they say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. The sub 5 Fling still eludes me but I’m getting close and there is always next year.

Now comes time to thank everyone. I’ll start my coach Kyle Ward and obviously Anthony Shippard from Pepper Coaching. I saw what you did with Wayne and thought “I need to get me some of that”. I think you guys are super human because you’re doing this on top of your own training, work and life in general.

A big thanks to the guys in SXC Racing. I know it’s been said before but what a great bunch of guys. We just keep going from strength to strength and knowing all the training you guys are doing keeps me motivated for those 4:30am starts.

For me the Fling was the last race of the year so its time for a break and some social rides. In March Wayne and I are doing the Cape Epic in South Africa so it will only be a short break ;-)

See you on the trails.