Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Big Realities

After recovering from my New Year celebratory actions it is now time to slide into the routine of spending a fair portion of the daylight hours aboard bikes - as well as some of the dark ones. Luckily I am feeling refreshed and gnawing at the bit to be knocking out the hundreds of hours it is going to take to compete at my two big events in the first half of this year.

The dates and venue for the 2009 World 24 hour Solo Championships have been set. The guys and 24 hours of Adrenalin have gone for "if it an’t broke don’t shift it". So again Canmore Nordic centre is set to become a masochism haven. As well the race will be held in last weekend of July. So naturally I am hoping for a repeat performance of reckless Rocky Mountain weather.

As for the other big ride this year, progress is being made. Reality is nipping at my heels. The 2000km is still a long way away. Things are starting to form and shape the true scale of the bit I have taken on. But with long thorough chewing, things should become more manageable.

At the moment I am working out (with able assistance); this task is going to cost much to do right. Scary the figures may be, but I am sure not to care once I’m riding. I am painfully aware of how inexperienced I am at ultra cycling, planning and gaining money for this type of thing. So I would like to appeal to anyone who might be able to help. Even if it’s the odd tip or even a few bottles of water at the gate en route.

Living back in my home town of New Plymouth with the imposing form of Mt Taranaki to the south, when it’s not obscured by cloud, it is always tempting to have a play on it. Unfortunately because of the silly classification of bikes as vehicles, and a few hot tempered traditionalist trampers enjoying the surrounding bush, access on bikes is not feasible.

But there are many challenges laid out for those not on bikes. A group of mates have been discussing the possibility of running the round the mountain track in a day. There are two different routes both of which are normally walked in between 2 and 5 days. We chose the much longer route of over 50kms of tracks of unknown quality. As far as we are aware no one has completed this route in one day. So with no run training ever on my part we set off at 4am. And 13 and a half hours later I was quite prepared never to set foot on the mountain again.

The tracks on the far side of the mountain proved to be very unmaintained as we expected. The rivers were down and became a cool relief as the day wore on. Running turned into shuffling. And the few others we passed on the tracks were left a little bemused or maybe ever scared. Truth be told, this ‘run’ hurt a lot and it took nearly a week for me to walk properly. As of yet I have not gone back on the mountain.

So running is definitely off the training menu for quite some time. Back to bikes, bikes and more bikes in the summer sun.
Photo credit Marcello, a harsh morning in Canada at 24 hour Solo Worlds.