I am thrilled to be participating in the Fitz’s Challenge again, and for the first time as the CEO of Pedal Power. Like most riders, I love cycling participation events, they challenge, stretch, and motivate me.
I have ridden the Fitz’s 105 km Tharwa Challenge twice before and is a hard ride! It is seared into my memory because it is the ride where I hit the wall in the most bizarre and spectacular way. It was 2016, and I was struggling on the return leg, when suddenly both my legs locked in some weird kind of cramp. I wasn’t in pain… I just couldn’t bend my legs. It was like the entire lower half of my body had become paralysed rigidly straight. So, I just kind of toppled sideways … still holding onto my bike. I have got to admit it would have looked pretty funny! It took more than 10 minutes for my legs to unlock, and oh, they were quite sore then! Thankfully I wasn’t too far from the end, and I completed the rest of the ride back very slowly.
This year, for the first time, I am also going to take on the Fitz’s Classic. I am going to be honest with you, I am a little apprehensive! It is a 165 km ride that extends from Tharwa up to the top of Fitz’s Hill. It will be the first time I have tackled Fitz’s Hill but it has always been something I have aspired to do. I hadn’t prepared anywhere nearly enough in 2016 so am also starting training early and following Dr Michael Hanslip’s excellent training plan.
The Fitz’s Challenge is just such an iconic event. Most of the ride follows the course of the Murrumbidgee as it winds its way through some of the most beautiful river landscapes the highlands have to offer, scaling some of the hardest hill landscape I have ever ridden! People have been doing this ride for almost 30 years – there are those who come every year, and some still participating from the earliest days of the event!
I love the fact that the Fitz’s Challenge features one hill that is so awesomely tough that the whole event is named after it! Despite the huge number of people who haul themselves up it every year, no one seems to know how Fitz’s Hill got its name so there’s an added element of mystery. Probably the biggest attraction for me is the sense of community around this ride. Fitz’s is run by a volunteer committee, who put in hundreds of hours into organising this event. Their passion for cycling is palpable in all aspects of this ride and it is exciting to hear about their plans to develop and enhance the ride this year. Bring on October 28! I can’t wait!
Ian Ross is the CEO of Pedal Power ACT