I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
Henry David Thoreau
We have now both registered for the insane challenge of 1000kms in the Bikingman Oman ultracycling event. Solo bikepacking, unsupported and with 9000m of climbing thrown in just for fun, this will be a huge challenge. John and I are busy scoping out our new bikes and gear, as it is a road and gravel race that will require a different setup from our usual road and mountain bikes.
I have just started training again with Szymon, and with such a tight turnaround after my 5-month hiatus, this is going to test my limits. With no mountains to train on in Qatar, we will have to get creative with our methods and perhaps take a trip to Oman in the New Year or sooner.
Last weekend, I set out with my friend and training buddy, Nats, to do an "easy loop" around "The Fence."
The Fence is basically a 25km conservation area where oryx - the beautiful but now rare national animal of Qatar - and ostrich live. We got to see some oryx babies this past weekend, which is always very cool to see.
But I knew something was wrong as soon as we turned out of the headwind and upped our pace and I started to feel sluggish. I kept looking at my speed on the Garmin and something didn't seem quite right. About halfway around the fence, I was boiling hot and feeling the "bonk" coming on. I had been drinking, but underestimated the heat and it's toll on me having been easing back mostly on the indoor trainer so far. In my head, I was expecting to blast around the fence like I did in April - the last time I rode it. Oh, but five months off translates into a big physical difference.
Luckily, Nats waited patiently and made sure I got back to the car alive and well. Just in time too, since my water had run out.
Of course, my inner critic was going mad! "You think you're going to be able to ride 1000km on your own and climb Jebal Shams when you can't even get around a 25km flat loop??" I caught it - the harsh critic that wants to hold me back and keep me safe. I'm learning to question that voice more now. Listen to it. Understand what it's trying to really tell me. It fires me up and makes me want to be a better person - to elevate myself to new heights. Which is what these crazy races are all about, right?
Hopefully this weather cools down a bit more and the training starts to take effect. Keep following our blog for more posts on how the training is going.