b2b Blaney to Bathurst 2016

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I stood in the middle of a town I had never been to before, wearing not much and freezing. I’m about to do the Blaney to Bathurst fro the first time, this will be my longest timed event to date.
Back up to 4:30 this morning. It was even colder, 7c according to my phone and I had to get out to the buses at Mt Panorama for the transfer to the start in B We were staying on the eastern side of Bathurst and I had a short ride out to the start from here but I was torn. I had to carry what i wanted to race with and I did’nt want to lug a whole lot of cold weather gear. Opted for the leg and arm warmers but went the summer gloves. Departing it was cold, even colder with the morning air and my fingers were frozen in a matter of minutes. The trip out did take long but the tempreture never got any warmer. This got worse when I stopped to wait for the bus. It ended up being 45-50 minutes before they got my bike loaded and I was shiverring. This is about the point the sunlight finally decided to peek its head up and offer no warth what so ever.
The bus trip took about 30-40 minues, I don’t really remember, I chatted with the guy next to me but I was gratful just o be out of the cold. It at these points you reflect and go how the hell did I end up on a bus in the middle of nowhere with a large amount of middle aged men in lycra. It was 06:30 and my phone pinged to say I had a message. I opened it up to find some final words of encouragement from my coach and its these little things that just make me appreciate him more and am grateful for guidance. My goal here was pretty simple and that was finish to as close to 3 hours as possible. Tough with the 3 climbs be doable in my head.

Which brings me back to the start line, I’m still cold but have braved removing the leg warmers. Somewhere in my reasoning system I decided to go in the 45kph+ group, figuring once i got dropped the next group through would pick me up and so on. Wasn’t till the start when Crafty (who was MC’ing) made a point of saying how all the people how didn’t make the gold wave were all at the front of my group. I hung on for about 20 minutes but the pace was relentless. Dropped off the group with a couple of others and lost them within a few k’s. Felt pretty crappy here, thought I would have held on a bit longer. Took the second group another 40 minutes to catch me. I got in with them but ended up towards the back when we made the left hand turn into the first hill. Kept a good pace but just lost contact the the main bunch, tried to get back on with another rider but didn’t quite get contact. Ended up in a small group for quite while till my bottle cage cracked and I had to stop to fix it as the bottle was rubbing on the big ring. I lost my group and set back off. This was about the 52k mark. Pushed along on my own agian till I got in another group and stayed with them till the beginning of the main climb. This is where the front of the next wave caught us and everybody just splintered. Took the first k to get the gel to kick in but the hill was ok. I just paced myself and just stuck to my training all the way up trying to keep my cadence high. Came in at 19:54 which is a bit short of where I wanted to be on the climb but I didn’t have anyone over take me on the way and I passed several without going into the red. 
From the descent to the end was basically on my own. This felt the best of the day and I seemed to have more consistent power then during my earlier solo efforts. Pushed on to the end just trying to keep the cadence as high as i could and keep low in the wind. Got to the end and pushed hard to look good across the line.  Unclipped and just felt overwhelmed by it all, briefly till a kid handed me a banana, that solved it all. 3:21:58

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Till next year….

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15/16 Crit Season Review

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It was the last race of the crit season. Around the back of the course the headwind just smashed whoever was on the front. It seemed like there was just no shelter and by this stage the riders in our race had just relented themselves to a single pace-line to keep what energy they could.
 Connor having a practice lap
The 2015/16 Crit season drew to a close on Friday and whilst initially the wind seemed to be nothing but a distraction in turned out to be a defining force in the race. I got a call on my arrival from Dan the Bike man, it was hammering down with rain at Ourimbah. It was however bone dry here although storms were forecast. We had already lost so many race days to rain and flooding this year, not the last one!

 

Last crit of the CCCC summer season. Equaled my PR for the final sprint so at least I was there in the end. #avanti #racing #mcc #outsideisfree #whatyoumissedthisevening #CorsaSL #cycling #critracing #crits #cycling ?? Gary White #cyclingphotos #paceline #pushygalore
Last crit of the CCCC summer season. Equaled my PR for the final sprint so at least I was there in the end. #avanti #racing #mcc #outsideisfree #whatyoumissedthisevening #CorsaSL #cycling #critracing #crits #cycling ?? Gary White #cyclingphotos #paceline #pushygalore
For me this year had been one of positive goals and achievements. I started out wanting to go up a grade and finally take a win. Last year had been so close with a number of podiums in D Grade but none on the top step. The other goal was to get Connor from training at the velodrome to finally getting out there and doing a race.
 
After a delayed start to the beginning of the crit season I lined up with the other riders I had not seen for the last month or so before making our way up to the sign on table. I had started with Mick just a month or so ago and had my shiny new Avanti Corsa SL all dialed in and ready.
 
The goals here were pretty simple, move up a grade. I went to the table to sign on to D grade only to find I was now in C grade. Well ticked that one-off before I had even turned a crank. Turned out most of last seasons D grade was now in C. The racing for the first part of the season was strong. I regularly made breakaways but they never last more than a few laps. I felt good and only seemed to get stronger each race but could just not get it done.
 
In the last race before the Christmas break I found myself sitting at the back of the bunch. Don’t really know why but we were 3/4 of the way through and I was holding a conversation with the rider next to me. I looked down and my HR was really low and it occurred to me I had not put in any efforts this race, just seemed to be floating around. As we came into the hill for the second last lap the bunch slowed and started to play with each other. They opened up a massive hole on the left side of the road just as I came into the bottom of the hill. I grabbed the bars and just thought, “NOW”. I smashed it up the hill hoping to take them by surprise. So far this year I had been able to hold them off for at least one lap before my power reduced.
 
I turned the top corner and down past the finish line collecting the last lap bell in the process. My body went low and I put my head back on my trainer at home, focusing on each stroke and keeping it smooth. I rounded the next corner and pushed before finally making the turn for the last time up the hill. I afforded myself a look to the left as was amazed how much space I had put into the group. The top of the hill is always tough but I was able to dig in and get over, losing a light amount of ground but enough to keep a gap. Into the final corner and head down, not my fastest sprint but i brought it home. Once over the line a massive hoot 🙂 Got it by about 8 seconds.
Finally got it done :) Love seeing the work pay off and a massive thank you to @mickcurrancoaching I think I'm more excited to see where we are going then we have been :) Also a quick shout out to the Avanti Plus Pushy Galore #pushygalore crew for keeping everything working and this awesome machine. Thanks for your support 
Finally got it done 🙂 Love seeing the work pay off and a massive thank you to @mickcurrancoaching I think I’m more excited to see where we are going then we have been 🙂 Also a quick shout out to the Avanti Plus Pushy Galore #pushygalore crew for keeping everything working and this awesome machine. Thanks for your support
The damage was done and I was to be put up to B2 grade. On return from the Christmas break they regraded everybody and B2 got called C. So I went from C to C, but all the C’s went to D. This grade was harder and whilst i felt strong and could keep up but another visit to the podium eluded me. This was mostly due to me making big efforts of the front or trying to get into the breakaway. The sprint in this grade was stronger than what I had but I was unable to break away.
 
As we continued to circulate on this last week, any hope of trying to make a break had diminished. The preem bell went and they put down the power, my plan was to just hang in there and let them wear themselves out. I found a wheel and did my best to keep out of the wind. This seemed to work till the second last lap when everybody had the same idea. I finally got myself back into the group and found a wheel that I wanted. The last lap in this grade is always strong and the pace got higher and higher. We pushed up the last hill and I had the wheel I wanted but as we pushed hard another rider become quite aggressive with his request to have my carefully selected wheel. During this process I just lost contact and came into the final corner towards the back but I had enough to get another wheel and started my sprint. I clawed my way back up to 4th or 5th but just ran out of road.
 
Happy with the season, 1 first place and Connor with 2 3rd places. Just stoked at the progress he had made for the year. Now, bring on the road season!
 

Orica Kermesse 2016; DNF beats DNS

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As I waited the start line in the 36 degree heat one of my team mates stood next to me and learned over,”Just aim to keep in the middle of the pack and you will be fine”. I felt OK but a bit apprehensive. A year ago I was being dropped in our local D-Grade criterium races and I was now lined up in Division 3 of the Orica Kermesse.

I spent the morning watching the girls and juniors race. The division 2 womens race turned out to be a bit of a non event with the Central Coast Cycling Club (CCCC) women being outnumbered and not having the opportunity to have a hard race. The CCCC Juniors took out 2 other races available.

It’s been almost 6 months to the day since I started work with Mick Curran as my coach. I am sometimes confounded by where we end up, not so long ago I would never have dreamed of even riding my bike to work, let alone being under the guidance of a World Record Holder and multiple National Champion.

This was the first time I was competing outside of Central Coast Cycling Club and was one of my 2016 goals. The nerves where there but I knew I had trained hard and just starting the race ticked off that goal. The longer I could hang on to the race, the further I had come in my training.

Waiting for Division 3 to start
Waiting for Division 3 to start

With the heat I was mindful of the 2 bottles I had and spoke with somebody to try to get a refill mid race if needed. Once we were off the pace went out at about 40kph for the first lap. A 3 man break went out but my goal was to stay and finish with the bunch. It was both awesome and a bit daunting racing in a group of 60. The HEZ roads had us at 3 abreast most of the way.

2016-03-06 10.54.42
Heading out to the entry and turn around point for HEZ

The break came back about half way through the second lap. I was just feeling good because I had ticked off 1 full lap. There was some surging but nothing to drastic, just lots of 20 second 300-400w bursts. I found the hardest part of the course the start/finish straight but I think so did most of my division as they mostly coasted after the roundabout. The sprint out the entry roundabout proved to be the biggest repeated effort.

Screenshot 2016-03-06 10.18.04

I was still there by lap 3 and the group seemed to have fallen into a rhythm. I’m not sure if this was a good or bad thing but many around seemed to be tiring. Passing the lap board I thought “one more down, maybe I can hang on here”

I’m not sure what happened but on lap 5 the group got split into three just after the round-about a 4 man break had gone and a small group behind had formed. Somebody had let a gap form and within seconds it went right out. I wondered if this was the race done but moved up the front of our group and worked with another guy to bring it back. Didn’t take long and the group was back to one.

Screenshot 2016-03-06 10.13.51

A second rider went off the front but the group let him go, having said that they smashed it out of the turnaround at the entrance and it took a bit to make sure I did not get a gap. I was bunched in and moving with 3 other CCCC riders about half way back when I heard a motorbike. Thinking that we had to let a faster group through I turned around and I was on the back. I looked back at the group and it seemed like that last surge had wiped out half the group. I could be wrong but we started with over 60 and there was not 60 here…

Screenshot 2016-03-06 10.15.26

Coming back to finish area, down the hill we were on the second last lap about to tick over for the last. I was feeling a bit more confident with the race, and even trying to make a few plans of how I would approach the last stage and straight. I came around the bottom right hand corner onto the straight and just as I was straightening the bike back up I hear a bang and the front wheel goes into the air as it comes down I get the bike back under control and all I can hear is a hissing noise. I put my hand up and pull over. I’m not sure what happened but I’m pretty sure I hit something and hit it hard. (On examination after it was a pinch flat with a nice big snake bite) The motorbike behind me stepped and got some debris of the road but I was at the bottom of the hill by this stage. I looked around but with no team car with a spare wheel I was stuck in no mans land and begin the kilometer or so walk back to the were the club was soigneuring in the feed zone. I thought well at least I can have a drink, look down and my bidon is gone…

Taking the positives away I kept up for the bulk of the group and am confident I would have at least been with the bunch at the end. At the end of the day I was down the price of a tube and I did not have an accident. It was very cool to be in such a big group and soak up the atmosphere of such an event. And even got to through my bidon of to the side (Managed to land it next to my car)

I took the opportunity to take some pictures of other CCCC & MCC riders before heading down to watch the final finishes.

Big kudos to HDCC for putting on the event, CCCC for supporting us all and of course Mick Curran for getting me to a stage to tick of another goal. Did you attend or get some pics? Drop me a line and let me know how you went.

Check out so more images from the great photographers at;
TeamCar
Riding Focus

And as always big thanks to the Pushy Galore crew.

Gravel Grind to the Boarding House Dam

 I have known of the boarding house dam for some time but had never really had the chance to go looking for it. I always figured it was one of those non-literal things like the name of a rock formation or something. The last time I did the MT Faulk road climb some people in a 4WD stopped and asked me if I knew directions. I went home and googled it only to discover that it actually was a dam. On top of that the parks service had built some woodern boardwalks close by. Figured “Epic Gravel Adventure to find the dam” was on the cards.
The route was pretty simple, go up Mt Faulk rd (Cat 2 climb) past Heaton lookout and follow the road till I found Slippery rock rd on the right. It was about 11k from the start. I dawdled my way up the hill, still sore from the previous days climbing just trying not to push the the red too much. This climb is where my Avanti Giro comes into its own. With the CXKing tires on it just eats its way up the hill. I have done the same climb on my XC bike and it took me 4-5 more minutes to complete it. Cresting the top I veered past the lookout turn and headed for the dam. 

Stopped to check the map. No phone reception. This way looks good. #wymtm #cycling #vitaming #gravelgrinder
Stopped to check the map. No phone reception. This way looks good. #wymtm #cycling #vitaming #gravelgrinder

I reached a fork in the road which I thought was too soon from what I had seen on the map. I checked my phone but no reception so I elected to stay on what I thought was the main road. Turned out it was the main road but to Cessnock. I headed for some kilometers down the road before i wondered. I knew there was a slight descent before I got to the turn but the road went away faster then I had expected. I was now descending looking to my right for the turn when I around a bend and all I could see was farm land. Oops… A check of the map, as I know had phone reception, showed that I should have turned at the earlier fork and I was several kilometers of course. TO add to this I now had to turn around and go up the hill I had just come down. The return gradient was 21% at times and my garmin was showing 4.1kph. It was a slow grind back up to the top of the hill then the trip to double back to where I had come.

So it turns out that a/ this sign is correct and b/ I was on the wrong road and had to ride back up it. #farkkkkkkk #cycling #gravel #vitaming #wymtm #gravelgrinder
So it turns out that a/ this sign is correct and b/ I was on the wrong road and had to ride back up it. #farkkkkkkk #cycling #gravel #vitaming #wymtm #gravelgrinder

I found the original fork and went down the right way. It was now raining however for what its worth the rain was cool and actually quite nice. The descent was more what I expected and went on for about 2k before I finally see the right hand turn and the first of any sign mentioning the Boarding house dam. A small rise for 200m and then a quick little descent saw me in a picnic area and the dam in plain sight!
The dam itself was small but really awesome. There was a small set of steps leading down into it and a pathway that ran along the left side. I followed this path down to a small bridge that had been built over the creek that the dam flowed into. A few pics later then it was back to the gravel as I was running behind the deadline I had. The climb back out was a constant gradient for about 2k. Then back onto the undulating Watagan road for a short while.

This was pretty cool. #cycling #pushygalore #avanti #adventure #gravel #wymtm #baaw
This was pretty cool. #cycling #pushygalore #avanti #adventure #gravel #wymtm #baaw

Finally I passed Heaton lookout turn for the final 4k decent and time to test out the new brakes. In short the work! Its a rough decent at the best of times but on a full rigid frame it will shake the crap out of your arms. The actual track is not too bad part form about 1k down for 200m and the final 1k, which is the steepest and the roughest. Sometimes the back would skip and the brake would grab which on landing would be a quick slide. The relief of hitting the tar was welcomed before a quick dash back to the car and sitting down. Now I feel hungry.   

Ride Elevation Profile
Ride Elevation Profile


    

 

Dan Higgins – Home For Me (Official Music Video)

(C) Protected 2016 – Dan Higgins. All rights reserved. No copying or distribution without permission.
Now available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/hom…
And Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/music/a…

Directed by Oliver Higgins Productions.

Dan Higgins is a singer/songwriter from Nowendoc NSW. His passion for country music is taking him to new places exploring a world full of incredible inspiration. From the songwriter to the listener, it will capture the ear of those that hear it as a unique sound.
To keep up to date, follow Dan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danhigginsof

Old Road Rolling

Yeah come for a ride with us on the weekend, oh its you first time? Yeah we will just do an easy roll…
Ok I’ve adlib’d how I’m pretty sure thats how the conversation went to down but April organized a quick roll down the old road on Sunday with a  “Oh by the way the way I have somebody coming its her first time so an easy roll”.
When she meant her first time, she really meant her first time on a bike since being a kid! So a 65k round trio with 1500m climbing? Yeah sounds as good as any to start.
Anyway it was fun cruisy day out and she smashed it. 

  

Highland Fling 2015, well half anyway

For the past 10 years there has been a gathering of the clans in the southern highlands. The small town of Bundanoon gets overrun with mountain bikers preparing to undertake the Camelbak highland fling. This epic mountain bike rise has comprised of a 110km and 55km cross country race. These 2 races are known as the full fling and the half fling. Recent additions have included the insane 100 mile race, the shorter 23km (Some fling) and the flinging threesomes (team race).

I have some friends that have done the full fling and half flings in the past had informed of just how hard the ride actually was. Honestly how hard could it really be right? We had planned to go down the morning of but some last minutes changes meant that we went the night before. In a hastened rush to get packed I discovered that my Scott Spark had lost all the air from its rear shock. Rapidly running out of time I grabbed my CX bike (Avanti Giro AR2) and put it on the bike rack. That was plan B (or plan CX if you wanted to give it a cool code name)

#highlandfling #mtb #soocold #odie #mtb#cycling
#highlandfling #mtb #soocold #odie #mtb#cycling

We arrived on dusk to Bundanoon to what was a very busy little town full of people, bikes and a giant blue box. I went to find the shimano mechanics to regas my shock whilst Mick (who had come down with me) went to find the registration building. After 3 pumps (actual pumps, 2 were broken) the Shimano guys had my shock back and working again. Heres to hoping it would hold. We got rego done then in the falling light raced over to the pony club to setup camp. This actually proved to be quick and painless exercise. We got the bikes packed away and luggage stowed before heading back to town for something to eat. However by this stage the town had shut down. I swore I had seen a club on the way in but it turned out that the only place we could find was a small little Chinese restaurant. Quaint is the best way I can explain it, right down to the thick plastic on the table cloths. This however turned out to be in the favor of the staff as Mick and I seemed to get the bulk of the rice all over the table. We returned to camp and were asleep before long.

Camp: I hope that branch doesn't fall
Camp: I hope that branch doesn’t fall

05:42am My phone starts to go off. I see a big picture of Will on the screen. “Hello” is the sleep induced response I give him. “Were you asleep?”, “What the $^% do you think”, “HAHAHAHA, where do I register?”. Will had gotten up at some stupid hour and had just arrived. He headed to find the rego location whilst i lay there trying to come to grips with th reality of sleeping on yoga mat all night. Suddenly I hear a strange noise like a cat preparing to to die before the roar of “Scotland the Brave” being blasted through the valley by a bagpiper. Yes there was a guy in a kilt, in a paddock playing the bag pipes. Really don’t know why I bothered to set the alarm…

Don't know why I bothered setting my alarm this morning. #highlandfling #mtb
Don’t know why I bothered setting my alarm this morning. #highlandfling #mtb

We regrouped, got prepped, ok I got coffee, before getting the race plate on the bikes. We had a brief time before the start of my race, the “Half Fling” 55k. Mick and Will had entered the “Some Fling” 23k race. We wandered the exhibitions including the specialized truck and getting my free GU energy gel (pineapple for those playing at home) and rock and roll lube. The “Full Fling” and “100 Milers” set off as we were wandering around the start. Insane to think there were people out to ride 161k! Not just dirt but single track!

People you find lurking in the highlands. @april_pn
People you find lurking in the highlands. @april_pn

By this stage we had gotten into our riding gear and I was cold. Around me everyone had started to do some warmup rides and I elected to follow suit. A lazy wander ended at the back of the starting grid before I found the most awesome April, looking well tired and cold. We had a quick chat, selfie and wished each luck before the half fling field set off. The field for this even was huge. 503 riders set off and all tried to channel into a small chute. Yeah that was slow, but the moment we were onto the dirt it was all on. I had lost April in the mix but just set about finding a good tempo as we had a long way to go. My goal was to finish the race in 3 hours and finish high up in my age group. Mind you I had no idea at the time how many were in my age group.

#highlandfling start line for the half
#highlandfling start line for the half

We round the corner and found some riders of similar pace to mine. As we work our way forward through the group I found April and did my best to say hello and get a picture. The road started to drop away and I realized that I had not put my glasses on. At this point I also remembered I had forgotten to get more food and just had the GU gel squished into the bottom of my pocket under an inner tube. No more time to think, glasses on and up the first short hill that went through a dairy farm. This was the first slowing of the group as some rider struggled even here on the first climb. I followed another rider on the right before cresting the hill to a rapid set of grassy undulations and just as quick a second climb.

Go! @april_pn #highlandfling #mtb #cycling
Go! @april_pn #highlandfling #mtb #cycling

Now I had overheard Will say that if there was water he was not going to ride through it. At the time I thought really? I mean how much water could there be. This was answered quite quickly as about 2 km into the race I discovered what was the first of several deep creek crossing. Even if you wanted I don’t think many would have attempted to ride across it, I just didn’t want to get me feet wet but I’m precious like that. The next few kilometres was mostly fire trail and the pace was high. Heading down one of the hills i noticed that my front wheel appeared to be wobbling! Some quick onboard diagnostics revealed that the quick release had come open and I was forced to pull over and reset it. This was quick but getting back in the train of riders cost me precious seconds.

Yup that's water. #highlandfling #mtb #cycling
Yup that’s water. #highlandfling #mtb #cycling

For now the road remained basically fire road, winding up and down. We weaved through the pine forests and took on some fast descents, one of which proved to be really sketchy towards the bottom as it was all loose gravel. Our first and somewhat brief experience of single track and then on to what appeared to be a very long flat road with the most amazing views. I pulled my phone out to get a shot before realizing that the road dropped away, fast! I stuffed the phone back in to my pocket just in time to start the descent. The road ramped quickly up before turning left and into some think under growth. We were only about 15k by this stage and we hit the first of an insanely steep short climb and rough terrain. Most of the riders dismounted and I was forced to do the same, hunkering my way up the hill with my bike. Over the crest and down through some thick bush before an insane of camber left hander brought us to the bottom of a gully. Thick deep black mud awaited there and no matter which line you took it was tough. Bikes were going everywhere and you just had to keep peddling. The tires became heavy and full, the only thing left was to pick a rut and hope for the best. Thankfully I did not come off but others around me where not so lucky. Luckily for all involved we were met by another creek crossing. You would think that riders may want to get some mud off their bikes but hey…

Early days, not cactus yet
Early days, not cactus yet

At this point we entered a paddock and followed a trail winding up the left towards a farm house. This met up with some hard pack road were I was overtaken by a rider trying to catch up with his friends. I felt it best if i was to stay with him for company. By this I mean slipstream and get a tow. This work for a k or so before he caught his friends. I went around trying to make up some more time. We turned back off the road to some simple single track which wound on for a short period before arriving in the first transition area. This was a relief as in my head it was the half way point. It wasn’t really turned out I was not good at math and riding at the same time.

Hills. Lots of hills#halffling #cycling #mtb #highlandfling
Hills. Lots of hills#halffling #cycling #mtb #highlandfling

The road he was slightly down high and hard packed. I got down as low as I could, put hands in close to the bars and went into my best impression of a TT rider. What I neglected to realize was that I picked up a couple of passengers as i kept pace at 42kph. When i finally rolled off they came through and we took turns till the road turned back to the left and rolled down through a vineyard. More quick fast hills ensured before all of a sudden in the middle of a paddock everyone has stopped. It turned out a heard of cows had strayed across the course and we where being held until it was safe. I took the opportunity to go to the toilet and take a picture (Of the line and other people going to the toilet). It was a few minutes before they started letting us go again and we headed down another hill. And yet another creek crossing.

Had a break in the race. Cows. Yup cows. So pro. #tdf2015 #cowswithguns #highlandfling #mtb #cycling #halffling
Had a break in the race. Cows. Yup cows. So pro. #tdf2015 #cowswithguns #highlandfling #mtb #cycling #halffling

Coming up the other side we had about 4k of winding uphill single track. This is where it started to hurt, I could here all the people around sucking in the air as the climb just kept going. When cover finally broke we were back in the pine plantations we had visited about an hour before. The road headed up a few hills before doubling back to some long negative inclines. I was following the group here in the picture including the girl in pink, holly crap can she bunny hop! The road became tighter again before hitting single track that wound its way along the creeks. Man there must be some big wombats around here, the burrow entrances were huge. The trail run up slightly before the longest but shallowest of the river crossings. After this it was a looong climb that worked its up an too the left. I think this is were the entire field came to a grinding halt. Little did I know that this is where the hard stuff really started!

#halffling #cycling #mtb #highlandfling steeper then what it looks.
#halffling #cycling #mtb #highlandfling steeper then what it looks.

The moment we crested the hill and went past the carolers (yeah I’m confused too. If anybody knows what was going on please let me know) the trail dropped fast before a tight right. The rider in front of me hit the deck hard as his back wheel caught a root. It wound around rooty and rutted before a quick opening saw us enter a field with some rock drops, had a picture taken and then onto brokeback mountain. This climb just kept going and going. I was just about out of energy now but I couldn’t get my only energy gel out to use. Trying on the climb provided to be impossible. As I got to the top the guy in front let me past and I headed down the descent. Halfway down my back well hit something and bounced the bike in the air. No idea of how i did not crash but I became unclipped and landed on the top tube. Owwwww.

image

The track became really tight, the ups were steep and so where the downs. By this stage a lot of people were getting of their bikes to get off. Often you would not have the choice either due to the line that would form or if a creek crossing was evident. The track got tighter and more mud. This time I did fall off. Getting back up, one shoe undone i pushed on, doing ti up as i went. We crossed back through the original water crossing, dinosaur still in attendance. The final single-track beckoned on a few kms to go. By this stage everyone was exhausted, just kept pushing, over rocks, logs and bridges. People coming off, footing being lost and genitals being cupped. Finally it came out on to fire road, i don’t think I have ever been so relived riding. I pulled out the tube from my pocket, slung it over my head and enjoyed the best energy gel that has ever been created. the GU energy pineapple! With about 7 to go I pushed for what i could but with the slowing for fuel and the exhaustion a number of people passed me.

Wombat holes
Wombat holes

The trail ran past the 5k to go sign as two riders fought for the line on some fire road before coming off in the wet. I swerved to the right and got past as they started to argue with each other. We pushed on down a long hard packed road. I was pushing as hard as I could but could still not catch the rides in front. We turned and went through another vineyard before headed up a hill, 500m to go! At this point there was a free beer tent, I resisted and pushed on, under the road bridge before pushing as hard as I could with what was left up the hill and under the final banner.

Done and #cactus beer assistant? #halffling #cycling #mtb #highlandfling #odie
Done and #cactus beer assistant? #halffling #cycling #mtb #highlandfling #odie

I rolled over to find Will who took a pic before rolling slowly back to the tent for beer. The went and found my burger and cookie, then more beer. Finally we packed up and went home, the soundtrack of which was mostly me complaining about have sore quads and relegating each other with stories of how awesome we were. The real questions, would we go back. Yeah for sure, the others are already planning how many days they want to camp for next time.

Finish Time: 03:06:08.1
Overall: 135 / 503
Gender: 131 / 458 (Male)
Categ: 35 / 93 (Veteren Male)

CX gravel grind and single track

Just a couple of weeks out from the highland fling I figured I should probably put some more k’s in on the dirt.This was a pretty simple challenge. Get the Giro with some knobby CX tires and ride it up Mt Faulk Rd before my friends turned up to do a lap of Awaba. I rode out on the fire road on the CX bike, the narrow bars proved to be a bit twitchy but otherwise felt good. Turning right out from the Awaba entry saw a tared piece of road that started a steady climb up and to the right. I knew there was a bit of climbing being a Cat 2 climb, but how hard could it be right.

Mt Faulk Rd climb #gravelgrinding #Avanti #giro #cx #cyclocross
Mt Faulk Rd climb #gravelgrinding #Avanti #giro #cx #cyclocross

Turns out, hard. The first half was probably the worst. After turning that first corner the tar makes way for gravel and the incline picks up. It was at this point I regretted not having completed a decent warm-up and really my overall decision that this would be fun. The first 1.5k just stayed constant, hot and dry. After this the road eased in its gradient and the foliage offered up some coverage from the sun. The road was hard packed and I found I was able to shift back up a couple of gears.

Gravel grinding the cx #cycling #gravelgrinding #Avanti
Gravel grinding the cx #cycling #gravelgrinding #Avanti

The road turned sharply to the right in a uphill hairpin. The road here kicked up to its steepest gradient for about 200m. My heart rate picked up to its max and my saving grace was that I was over the halfway mark. Standing seemed to be the best way to balance power and traction as I just keep pushing.

The road turned back again to the left and I was now afforded the views for the 300m I had climbed thus far. This did last long as the trees became thick and the road continued on its now gruelling 8% average. Finally the last climb came up and I was greeted with a short but welcomed downhill section before another brief rise.

The road forked at a rather black looking dam and I headed down a road towards the Heaton Lookout. This was gravelly in sections but mostly hard packed. At this point I encountered a few 4wd’s who were exiting the picnic area. I arrived and was greeted with a spectacular view from Newcastle down to the top end of the Central Coast. I stopped briefly to take a pic before heading back.

The descent was sketchy at best. My cable discs did not like the descent and trying to handle a CX bike on the drops, at speed, on loose surface proved challenging. The brakes them selves required a lot of pressure to get good modulation which just lead to hand cramping.

That was an understatement. Descend on the drops hey ????????#giro #gravelgrinding #cycling #stateforest
That was an understatement. Descend on the drops hey ????????#giro #gravelgrinding #cycling #stateforest

I got to the bottom and met up with my friends before doing some single track on the CX bike. It was fun at the start but the appeal wore off pretty quickly. Mind you I set a PR up the camel back climb so must have been doing something right.


Old road to Bobbin head

Hanging out with April. Laughing and talking about socks. And eating. 


City2Surf 2015

2 years ago I sat in my house and watched the athletes run the City2Surf. I ate my breakfast and thought to myself there is no way I could complete that. The very idea of running was just something I was not interested in. To quote the rules of cycling one does not run unless being chased by a bear and then you only far enough not to get eaten.
 

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Baby Olivia Ellen

Welcome to this world baby Olivia Ellen Higgins, born 20/6/15 at 0502 3.940kg (8.11lbs for those still working in imperial measurements)