The multi-talented Peter Hatton (Clarence St Cyclery), who seems to be as comfortable on dirt as on tarmac, and Leonie Aisbett (Illawarra CC), better known as a road and track rider, took out the inaugural 102km Vaude Highland Fling in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales on Sunday.
Hatton was the first home of over 450 riders who tackled the challenging 102km course that incorporated dirt roads, plenty of singletrack, sand, dust, mud and creek crossings. Aisbett's victory is all the more remarkable because it was only her fourth time on a mountain bike, and she was wearing borrowed size 47 shoes! At the presentation, organiser Huw Kingston quipped that maybe Aisbett should spend some of her $1,000 prize money on new MTB equipment.
The 700 riders who would take part in the day's racing (including the shorter and three-person categories) were woken at dawn to sound of the bagpipes drifting across the light Highlands mist in the village of Bundanoon. This soon cleared to a warm but not too hot day. Good rains over recent months had ensured the Highlands looked their best - full creeks and lush paddocks.
Read the entire Vaude Highland Fling race report and results here.