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Fitz's Challenge ride report by Craig Stevens


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By shumey - Posted on 04 November 2014

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Fitz's Challenge

Fitz's Challenge

The idea to do Fitz's started with an email from Stu Robertson. Fitz's Challenge, who's in?
Stu's quote was, "Had a great time down there last year, so who's up for the challenge of 200k's with over 4,00 metres of ascent"? Personally I didn't have to think twice especially when you have riders like Stu, Lee Watts, Lee leethal Robson and Jason Stephens jumping on board.

A beautiful Canberra morning greeted us at Stromlo as the morning sun gave Black Mountain a gorgeous silhouette. There wasn't a breath of wind as the morning mist hung over the low lying plains around the mountain.
I'm sure the previous night conversations about tactics and predictions were ringing in everyone's ears. The only thing that I knew was that this was going to be a tough day, and tough it was! Jason and myself led the bunch out for the first 15 k's until we decided to pull away and sit in for a while. From then on the ride pace began to settle down, as the mercury began to rise!
We started the ride at 13 degrees but by mid afternoon the mercury hit 30+ degrees!

Canberra's topography is quite flat but as you head South towards the Rangers the country side starts rolling. The ride is tough for two reason's 1) The rolling roads and 2) The very steep pitches(20%). There is never a flat section of road! Even when you think it's flat it turns out being a "false flat".
Riders were strung out for some 10 km as the short, sharp climbs fractured the once condensed bunch. Conversation within the bunch ebbed and flowed according to the gradient of the road that lie ahead.
Fitz's Challenge is so named because of the very steep climb that comes about 50 k's in. The climb itself is 2.5 km in distance with an average gradient of 10%. It's all worth it though because as you crest the top a young woman dressed as the devil waves her trident at you. This strange scenario marks the end of your 15 minutes of pain!

And so it was that most of the NSCC bunch that had been separated during the testing ride would come together at the end to cheer each Club rider across the finish line!
Memorable parts of the ride for myself would include the wonderful scenery, long challenging ascents and the euphoric feeling of finishing such a punishing ride.

All the NSCC riders finished the event strongly with only Jason having to retire due to an incident with another rider. Fortunately Jason was unhurt and managed to join us all for our post ride de-brief! Along with the de-brief we were joined by NSCC's Grant Butler, Peter Beaumont, his brother as well as new club members Richard and Dave Lack.

Great event, which caters to all levels of cyclists. With shorter 50 k rides for the recreational rider as well as 250 k rides for the more elite.
A super day of riding with the NSCC riders with special thanks to Stu Robertson for starting the ball rolling! As the word gets out about Fitz's, I expect next year to contain an even bigger contingent of NSCC riders enjoying the suffer fest!

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