Today is officially 1 month until we kick off the ride from Melbourne to Perth. We depart Perth on the 21st of September, packing our gear into 2 vans and making the presumably much easier drive across Australia. Then, on the 27th, we hop on the bikes and cycle back the way we came. Sounds a little ridiculous doesn’t it?
I’m both excited and a little nervous at the prospect. I don’t think any of us comprehend exactly how difficult this is going to be. I for one, fear I may have underestimated it slightly up to this point. I remember the long arduous days cycling the length of Vietnam and the oath I made never to do anything like that again… It’s the combination of accumulated physical fatigue and perhaps more strikingly, the mental fatigue we’ll suffer from doing an incredibly repetitive and arduous task day after day after day.
This is different in many ways, there is a huge improvement in the following;
- I’m much more prepared training wise. I went into that Vietnam ride without having ridden a bike for a good 5+ years. I wasn’t overly fit, I hadn’t been doing these endurance activities for long. I was completely unprepared.
- Much more multi-day/week endurance experience under my belt. I’ve now completed multiple 7 day+ endurance challenges that have had me pushing hard for hours and hours almost every day.
- More comfortable bikes with proper equipment and
- Perhaps most importantly, proper nutrition. The majority of my calories in ‘Nam came from sweet tea drinks and pho, a hot noodle soup dish that was both repetitive and not suited to the heat we were riding through. I didn’t get anywhere near the level of nutrition I needed.
It’s also a lot more challenging in many ways;
- Almost twice the distance in as many days
- Much less leisurely- we’re on a time schedule and hence we have to push every day to ensure we get to where we need to be. We can’t just take a day off or cut rides short if we feel like it…
- Team Environment- I’m used to doing these things at my own pace. Sometimes I push harder when I’m feeling good, other times I sit back and cruise. In this ride, i’ll have to be going at the teams pace the whole way.
This is going to be a hell of a challenge.
The boys are all looking good. Josh, in particular, has been putting in huge km’s weekly and looks pretty set to take on the journey. Although I’m 100% confident I’ll do it, the ride definitely won’t be the relatively straightforward cruise each day that I initially pictured. We’re all going to have ups and downs and some days are simply going to feel like hell.
This has already happened on training rides, including one on Saturday. I only managed 85km and was absolutely shattered afterward, to the point where I felt like throwing up for a couple of hours afterward. I don’t really know what caused this (likely something I ate the day before) but it proved a demonstration as to what can go wrong and what we’ll all likely have to push through at some point on the ride.
This is going to be a true test of character for all of us and I’m genuinely looking forward not only to experiencing that test again myself, but seeing how all the other boys respond and push through it. This is a team effort at the end of the day and we all need to ensure we’re there to motivate and encourage each other to get through the dark patches we’re all bound to encounter at some point.
Am I really looking forward to cycling a bike across Australia? Not really to be honest. What I am looking forward to, is testing myself in a different way once more. Overcoming the struggle and the mental battle that goes along with it. Particularly getting to experience that with a great group of people.
Bring on the Tour For a Cure…