Cyclists will do it really tough
By TONY WHITE
LOCAL Fraser Chapman's debut in the arduous 228km Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic sadly ended in disaster when he was catapulted face-first into the bitumen road at Mt Mitchell. The 42-year-old cane farmer had just taken on sustenance at the second feed station and was attempting to change into a long sleeve jacket to help combat the freezing conditions. "It was cold and I swear it was sleeting," Chapman recalled. "I was trying to put on my long sleeved wind jacket when the wind suddenly gusted and my jacket got caught in the front brake. "I got flipped over the handle bars face first into the road." Chapman was treated by medics for facial cuts, grazing and bruising to his legs and arms. "I don't look too pretty. I'm not getting too many looks from pretty girls," Chapman said. "Up until that point though I was really enjoying it. "It was a terrific experience, but it was bloody tough." Gusting westerly winds, near freezing conditions with a wind chill factor of minus 10 in the Gibraltar Range, made for a harrowing ride. Less than half of the 186 competitors finished the event. It was even snowing in Glen Innes. "The worst thing was the difference in temperature," Chapman said. "We left in normal race gear but when we started descending the Gibraltar Range the commissar was calling on a loud haler the wind chill factor was minus 10. "It was unbelievable, absurd conditions. The wind multiplied everything by two." Despite his ordeal Chapman is already planning an assault on next year's event. "I learned a heap," he said. "I think I could have finished bar the fall but I realised I was under done. I hadn't done enough kilometres. "After my wounds were dressed and we were driving home at about 3.30pm you could see plenty of riders still strung out up the Gibraltar range over 100km from the finish. It was a long day. "I'm wiser for the experience. A lot of our club (Grafton) guys called to ask how I was and if I would have another crack at it. "They asked if I was going to throw it in or if it made me more determined. It's funny it has only made me more determined. "It's like bacteria, it gets into you and you can't get it out."