“I’ve ridden other hill events before, but there’s nothing like Fitz’s”

14 Sep 22 | By pp-admin | Fitzs, Pedal Power

For Jacob Mulholland, it’s all about the hills.

“I’ve ridden other hill events before, but there’s nothing like Fitz’s,” he says. “The course itself is the challenge – it’s anything but flat. Other events have hills, but they have flat sections in between. With Fitz’s, it’s hill after hill. The challenge runs the whole way”. 

If you’re someone who likes a challenge (a sucker for punishment perhaps?), you’ll relate.  

The Fitz’s Challenge has seven routes to choose from, varying in distance from 50 km to 255 km. The hills grow with the distance – riders in the 50 km Tidbinbilla Challenge will enjoy 880 metres of climbing, with grades of up to 11%, while those tackling the 255 km Fitz’s Extreme will get to experience 5000 metres of climbing with grades over 12%. 

Jacob will be riding the 165 km this year, which is the most popular of the routes. Why? Because it’s the classic. The 165 km Fitz’s Classic has a long history with the Canberra road cycling fraternity. With almost 3000 metres of climbing, it tests riders’ stamina and endurance.  And it includes the big one: Fitz’s Hill. 

So what’s the appeal of putting yourself through hour upon hour of uphill riding?

Let’s be honest: it sounds difficult. So what’s the appeal of putting yourself through hour upon hour of uphill riding? 

“It’s the experience,” says Jacob. “For me, it’s just about getting out on the bike with a group of other riders. I’ve done those back roads before, but Fitz’s is an opportunity to do a full lap up and down those hills and mountains, with the support of other riders and the volunteers on course”. 

The social aspect is a big drawcard for Jacob. “The first year I rode Fitz’s, I started by myself but met up with a group and tagged in and out with them the whole way. I was new to cycling, so this was a way to meet other bike riders from Canberra and interstate”. He said he’d cross paths with other riders throughout the event, and then catch up with them at the finish line. 

Reflecting on that first Fitz’s, Jacob says he never doubted his ability to finish, but there were moments he had to fight to keep going. “I never doubted myself, but there were definitely points where I struggled, especially climbing Fitz’s Hill. But I never thought about giving up – I wanted to cross that finish line, knowing I’d completed it”.  

Despite registering back in May, Jacob says he hasn’t taken training too seriously. “What training?” he laughs. “I use an indoor trainer sometimes, and I get out and have a ride when the weather’s good. I might get out and go a bit longer, or a bit quicker up a hill. That’s it”. 

Jacob sums up his take on Fitz’s: ‘It’s definitely challenging, but definitely fun’. 

Registration for the 2022 Fitz’s Challenge is OPEN. You can register here.