Firstly let's start off with why on earth I decided to have a crack at this? This is a question I've been asked a few times and I think it's a simple answer.
In May 2016, I'll be competing in the Ultraman Australia championships in Noosa, QLD. Day 2 of the 3 day event is a 275km bike leg and therefore I needed to ensure that I can mentally handle this distance within the required time cut-off. I need to get off the bike that afternoon in May feeling comfortable and ready to run a double marathon the next day. So there's the why!
Here's what happened on the day...
The alarm went off at 3:30am and I was up and the toaster was on within 10 minutes. Some peanut butter on toast and a quick check of the weather....beautiful! Bike lights charged, podcasts downloaded, Spotify playlist ready and I was out the door by 4:30am to tackle a huge day on the bike. I was suprised actually at how positive I felt and that i thought of this mammoth task as just another long ride day.
The first hour or so I rolled along nice and easy and as the sun was rising I found myself at Richmond stopping to watch a hot air balloon ascend for the morning. It was awesome to see something I've never seen before and before long I was back rolling again around the Richmond turf farms and then heading back to Bella Vista. By 8am I'd knocked over 80kms and met April for a coffee (oh by the way it was my birthday also) and was feeling like I hadn't even started the day yet.
These long days are always about the mental battle as opposed to a huge physical exertion for sustained periods of time, so I took my time to break it up just a little with the hot air balloon accent and the coffee with April, all by 8:30am with 90kms knocked off and I was mentally reseting myself to just ride 210kms more, a distance id ridden more than a few times previously. There's something awesome about getting off the bike for a coffee after 90kms and feeling like you've not done a single thing yet. I wish it only felt like that when I hit 250kms!
So on I went. I rolled out of Rouse Hill and hit the M7/M5 motorways for the next couple of hours and rolled into the sunny south west Sydney suburb of Campbelltown and had hit 150kms and was on the home stretch......well, if you could call another 5hrs of riding the way home lol. My trip home next consisted of a spin over to Maroubra and the beach in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.
By this stage of the day, I was well into 7 hours of riding. I'd eaten no food since 4am and had fueled my body with Temple Nutrition Nuturafuel and Naturalyte. I've been testing and using these whole food sports nutrition products and many other Temple Nutrition products in the long lead up to Ultraman Australia 2016. I've previously spoken about my battles with digestion in long distance endurance events over the past year or so and my change to Temple Nutrition was not a decision I took lightly. Competing in an event that goes for 3 full days requires my body to be absorbing the vitamins, minerals, energy and water perfectly to be able to continue. I simply cannot afford to be on the side of the road depositing my stomach contents onto a grassy nole in Noosa, so this partnership with Temple Nutrition is perfect for me. Not only did I not need any actual food for the entire ride of 300kms but I felt great all day. I stopped at service stations for cold water and at the last pitt stop at 275kms, I treated myself to a coconut water after having my first banana just 30mins before. I simply wanted to eat something rather than needing it to continue.
Temple Nutrition only uses natural wholefood ingredients in all of its products. The Nuturafuel I used throughout the entire 300km ride is simply the following:
- Natural Tapiocca Maltodextrin
- Banana Powder
- Himalayan Rock Salt
- Honey Powder
- Whole Pea Protein Powder
- Pomegranate Powder
- Berry Powder
Sound simple? Sound like it wouldn't work? Well I can guarantee one thing...this is the product that I'll be using in ALL of my endurance events. The Naturalyte electrolyte is just as simple and with both of these products working in conjunction, my entire nutritional needs were met for the entire day with no GI distress or the need to carry bulky food.
So what happens when you hit 210kms and your body starts to say, "I'm getting tired" and your mind says, "I've had enough"?
Well...you start to head straight for home which is what I did. I decided to take a little scenic route home and rode straight across Sydney and indeed Australia's biggest tourist icon, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This helped to break up the monotony of such a long day.
After 5 hours though, I had an issue. My phone (which i was playing podcasts and music from) ran out of battery and while this doesn't seem like a big deal to most, I thought it could be. However, I look back on this now as on of the highlights of the day. I had 7 hours of silence. Literally the only people I spoke to were the 7Eleven cashiers and one guy on a bike who thought his super commuter and him were actually a little too cool for a chat anyway. It's amazing what you think of when your only noise is the bustling sounds of Sydney traffic for a long part of the day. I took myself mentally to my race on a number of occasions, to play out in my own head how it would all roll out. I calculated on at least 300 occassions the time I would finish and in the end I think I nailed this one. I thought of where I'd been over the past few years and more importantly I think where I was going in the future. I seriously can't wait for 2016 and what we are going to tackle.
So there was one more test before the day was done. I didn't think about this one prior to starting out in the morning and didn't have any plan for how to tackle it, except to just keep riding. I got to my final destination and the Garmin watch only had 260kms on the clock. This was already my longest ever ride, it was getting hot, it was my birthday and id been riding for over 9 hours by this stage. No one would care if I pulled the pin at 260kms. It's amazing to ride even that far. It wasn't a race and I had a party to get to. These were all things going through my head and telling me it was ok to wrap it up. This was certainly the hardest test of the day and it took a little more strength to go straight past the 'finish line' knowing I had a decent bit to go. The decision wasn't too hard for me in the end. There actually was only one option and that was to continue. In my past, I probably would've pulled the pin and called it a day but in my past I can also guarantee I wouldn't have gotten out of bed at 3:30am on my birthday and ridden my bike for the entire day.
So there you go, I made it!
Clocked in at 300.1km (just to be safe).
Goal ticked, mission accomplished and I now know I can tackle Day 2 of Ultraman Australia knowing I'll have the right formula to get my running shoes on for 84kms of fun on Day 3.
Stats For The Day
- Distance 300.1km
- Time taken 12.5 hours
- Riding Time 10hrs 9mins
- Calories burned 6,920
- Elevation Gain 1,809m
- Avg Heart Rate 127bpm
- Nuturafuel consumption 6 litres
- Nuturalyte consumption 5 litres
- Water consumption 2 litres
- Food = 1 banana, 1 fresh coconut, 1 coconut water
Thanks to everyone who sent me messages, shared my posts and video diaries, supported me and followed me throughout the entire day.
Moral of the story? Set a big scary goal for 2016 and make it happen.....I dare you! If the goal doesn't scare you or make you uncomfortable, then you won't grow as a person and achieve things you never thought possible.