As part of our cycling immersion and mental prep for the imminent 24-hour race and JoBerg2c, we've recently re-watched Inspired to Ride. This excellent film, follows a bunch of ultra-endurance cyclists riding the inaurgural 4,223 mile TransAmerica race from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. The format is similar to the Tour Divide in that it is a completely unsupported bike-packing race.
What comes across from many of the competitors is the mental strength and coping strategies employed to deal with the magnitude of the endeavour, as well as the severe sleep deprivation. I think that British cyclist, Mike Hall, winner of the 2014 event sums it up perfectly:
'It's more about settling in and getting comfortable, and just letting your brain wander off elsewhere and you're not going that fast, you're not going lactate threshold type pain. It's not muscles burning and teeth clenched and smashing down the walls of human adversity and things. It's riding your bike, and then riding a bit more and then some more’
We’re hoping we can a develop a similar mindset for our upcoming races!
Needless to say the film is highly recommended and motivational. It also features ultra-endurance cyclist, Juliana Buhring who rode around the world, and there’s an excellent article on her life here, https://www.outsideonline.com/1970876/toughest-woman-two-wheels.