This year will be the 10th anniversary of the Flight Centre Epic, starting in 2002 as a 117km challenge amongst mates, the event has shortened slightly but gained momentum and become a weekend tradition for many local and interstate riders. This year will be my 7th FC Epic. Over the past seven years I have ridden the Epic on every breed of bike except a 29er duallie and in practically every type of climatic condition except snow, snow would be most unusual for QLD at FC Epic time of year. This years course is very different to the course I first rode in 2006, with Ma Ma Creek decimated in the 2011 floods the course was rewritten to a logistically more amenable circuit rather than a point to point course. The course is divided into a 50km loop and a 37km loop, starting and finishing at Spicers Hidden Vale, Grandchester QLD with around 2514hm over the total 87km course.
A little bit of trivia that I like to aspire to is that of Flight Centre, founded by Graham “Skroo” Turner in 1981 following the success of his bus trip company in Europe called “Topdeck”. Skroo Turner was raised near Stanthorpe and trained as a Veterinary Surgeon. In 1973 Skroo and some mates bought a couple of double-decker buses in England and started a holiday travel company. There is a book about it and hope for all Veterinarians around the world! Needless to say Skroo loves riding his bike and I once heard a rumour that he would ride from Brisbane to Toowoomba on the Saturday to then ride the FC Epic on the Sunday, in those days the Epic was a race from Toowoomba to Peppers (now Spicers) Hidden Vale, point to point.
Since its inception in 2002, this race has come a long way and as a circuit from Spicers Hidden Vale to Spicers Hidden Vale, logistically a lot easier. Accommodation at Spicers is booked to overflowing but Brisbane is not too far away (approximately 55-60 minutes and a bit; race briefing 0745) and the camping at Spicers is well facilitated ($5 per night). The course is going to suite my Bianchi Methanol 29er perfectly, not to infer that it is a ‘road race on mountain bikes’ as many seem to think but the Methanol loves the single track more than most 29ers and there is enough single track on this course to make a substantial difference (I should know!). The course does cover a lot of open fire road and some tar in its 87kms but there is, as I mentioned, more than enough single track to make me more than a little uncomfortable in previous years (aka. Zimmer frame). Riders not so keen on the whole 87km are more than welcome to enter the 50km pursuit or the 20km chaser and with plenty of trails to ride at Spicers and the schedule of festivities over the weekend it is a great excuse pack up the family and escape the city.
The competitor list to date is available online so you can check just who will be there and so far I get the impression EVERYONE will be there and why not with first place in the male and female categories worth $2500 each! The female elite list includes last years winner Jenni King against the formidable Jody Willett and I will definitely be there somewhere, lurking in the shadows.
SEPTEMBER 15-16th SPICERS HIDDEN VALE