Another Fitz’s is over and you can find all the results online. 655 participants registered, 523 riders started and 474 completed this year’s challenge, which of course would not have been possible without the tireless work of all the volunteers, led by the unstoppable Clem Tozer and John Widdup.
This challenge was also the last organising endeavour of Events Coordinator Perdy Sutherland who has now moved on to a new adventure. The PP team will miss her friendly yet super-efficient presence!
For over 30 years, Fitz’s has been one of the greatest personal challenge bike rides in Australia.
This year, two riders unintentionally took this concept to another level by creating their own personal challenge, while doing the 165km Fitz’s Classic.
Luke Cameron-Clarke and Patrick Noble met at university nearly twenty years ago. But this year is the first time they were undertaking a ride of this type together. “Pat has a background in track cycling while I have no pedigree whatsoever!” Luke explains.
Their preparations for Fitz’s were also quite different. Pat is doing a full iron-man in Western Australia in early December and has been doing the full swim/bike/run preparations for that – Fitz’s came at a good time to test his riding fitness. Luke, on the other hand, pedalled his mountain bike around Stromlo for up to an hour or so, three mornings a week. With Canberra’s weather over the last six months, that must have been a test of motivation, but Luke had a good ‘coach’ egging him on: “My 8 year old son is as keen as mustard” says Luke “he gets me out there rain, hail or shine”.
So how did Pat and Luke create their own personal challenge?
Luke tells it like this: “During the ascent to Honeysuckle Creek I was overtaken by a handful of riders who quickly put distance between me and each of them. Pat had already ridden off ahead of me by this time. How had we managed to get in front of these more elite riders in the first place? I wondered. As this idea ticked over in my mind during the climb, I expected to see many of the bunch of 165ers descending.”
At this point, it’s probably worth pointing out that the “ascent to Honeysuckle Creek” Luke mentions is an 11-kilometre climb, with some pinches probably around 13-14% gradient. That’s a lot of ascent. So, how did he and Pat get ahead?
“I hadn’t seen the 165ers descending and on arriving at Honeysuckle Creek, I was a bit surprised to not see them having a leisurely break at the checkpoint, either” continues Luke. “When a kindly Pedal Power volunteer asked for our ‘throw-and-go tag’ at the checkpoint, that question ticking over in my mind was rapidly answered” he said.
Honeysuckle Creek checkpoint is only for 210km and 255km riders. Pat and Luke had inadvertently created their own personal challenge by adding an 11-kilometre ascent to their already challenging Fitz’s Classic 165km ride!
By the time they returned to the Stromlo start point, plus their detour to Honeysuckle Creek and riding home after Fitz’s, they clocked up over 200km that day.
Luke is planning on being back for Fitz’s next year, perhaps at the 190km Fitz’s Classic Plus … with no Honeysuckle Creek detour!
In the meantime, we wish Pat all the best for his full iron-man in Western Australia next month.