Fitz wrap up... flat tyre edition ... (long version with tears)
Its 4am...Its thundering and raining outside, I'm laying in my tent wondering about the long day ahead. I hear Rob S stirring in the tent beside me beside me fart ,He is awake too. The rain stops for a while we get dressed, have cold coffees out of our thermos jugs (lol) and look towards the skies..Seems to be clearing up.we are both feeling optimistic.
5.45, The heavens open up on the start line and it rains buckets..and I'm thinking to myself.."wow, this will be a hard long wet day" but, the best (worst) was yet to come.. I'm standing under the marshalling tent, trying to stay dry..I'm watching Megatron riding around the carkpark in the rain..I yell out to him.. " what are you doing, are you crazy!!" he replied " I'm getting ready for wet weather conditions" ..He was jumping out of his skin...you could tell he was ready to go no matter what! .He was looking good.
6.03. The race begins,the roads are now wet. The usual 5kms or so of hubbard riding is on full display...People riders going left and right, fast and slow... Blowing snot everywhere in the bunch (I hate that)..Rob and I move out way through the bunch trying to into some clean air..
We get on the back of a fast moving group..I think to myself, if we can just roll along with these guys we will make good time, and do the the easier with the help of the bunch..
15kms mark.. I see a rider on the side of the road with a flat tyre...I say to the guy beside me .."wow.. He is having some bad luck"...
Nek minit, I feel the dreaded bouncy feeling of a flat tyre...Rob and I pull over to change the flat...the first of many .I changed the tube fast and we are rolling again..disappointed that we lost the good group we where rolling with but still optimistic about the day.
around the 50km mark we ride over the crest of a hill...and you could see we some bogans had been doing burnouts the night before...shredded tyre was all over the road ..you could see the bits of wire everywhere.. I thought to myself.."this looks bad!" We rode through it and tried not to think about it.
As we continued on...the amount of riders on the side of the road with flat tyres was unbelievable.....I'd never seen so many people with punctures , Rob calls out me "flat tyre!!" we pullover again...that one each.
We both must of picked up some wire from that burnout patch ..I turned my tyre inside out trying to find something.. Every hour my rear tyre would go flat...It was so frustrating, I couldn't believe the bad luck both Rob and I were having...At about flat tyre No#4 ...I lost it and blew my stack...Lucky Rob was there to council me...otherwise the bike was getting thrown of the side of the mountain and I was getting the sag wagon home..
On the next flat tyre we were greeted by out club mates Riki, Sean and Neil...They were a god sent and got both of us out of trouble...they helped us fix Robs tyre.."both of us were over changing tyres at this point. and we rode as a group ...
Both Rob and I had been riding on un-inflated tyres from most of the ride, and had decided not to continue on the 210km route .but just try to limp home...
we all continued on....my legs were gone and I could keep up with the group....Just one of those days where I had nothing....I knew at the start of the day that I wasn't at my best. I just kept rolling along trying to get home...without any more flats..
20kms from home the rain started again...my legs were destroyed and I thought....what a way to top of the ride....with some rain !! lol..!!
by this time I had fallen way off the group and was just rolling along ...unable to hold 100 watts , survival mode...Rob waited up for me to get us both home....
5kms from home....another rear flat....By this time I was wayyy over the whole day .. I had no tubes no Co2 and either did Rob..I told Rob to continue on home...I got off my bike and started walking thinking it was only 5 kms.. I soon realised that 5 kms walking in cycling shoes is a hell of a long way..so I was begging passing riders to give me a tube and a Co2 canister....A nice guys came to my rescue, I changed the flat ...and limped home..
This by far was my worst day of cycling ever!! ...
But later that night after a hot shower and a few drinks, I could have a laugh about it... :p
In saying all this...Fitz is a very well organised event..The year before I had no flats at all !
All the food stops are great and the lunch stop was excellent too..
lots of road marshals around to guide you.
I would do this ride again...I was just having one of those days where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong...And at the end of the day as Rob pointed out to me ,in one of the many counselling sessions he had to give me....its only bike riding !..and he is right...
I got to thanks Rob Stevenson for putting up with me for two days ...He is a great guy.. :)
I also have to thank Riki, Neil and Sean for helping Rob and I ...without them we wouldn't have made it back..
In the end...I got 7 flats...and Rob got 5.... Tough day !
Congratulations to Paul Murgatroyd for winning the 210km event...He was on fire ....we seen him around the 100km mark on the return and he was smashing it on the front solo.
also worth a mention ...congrats to Diego Torres... for having a crack at the 255 extreme distance....I've never meet a guy who just backs himself and had a crack.. Doesn't care about winning just wants to complete the ride...Good on you ;)
Sorry for anyone I didn't mention :)
Once again Fitz is a great event ...I will do it again next year...
anyone who wants to do it.....its the hardest ride you will ever do.!