Observations From The Road
Phew! Big day out there and most of the camp is still crushing it on the bike. Wish I could say the same about my ride performance... I'm pooped!
We have a very challenging ~190K to finish off the camp tomorrow. When we arrive in Bluff there will be an optional ride up Bluff Hill (very steep) as well as the chance to run ~7K around the bottom of the country. My lower leg issue has not cleared up and it tends to be worst when I come off the bike... could be a hike around the bottom of the country for me!
By the way, ~55,000kj to ride NZ in favorable conditions and staying off the main highways as much as possible.
345w/384w for my CP20/5 respectively on the climb today. Haven't seen any impairment in my top end despite being very tired. For non-impact sports (bike/swim) this is a pattern that I've seen in the past. Do lots, train often, do a ton of steady... to get fit. That said, I've probably been going downhill physically since about Day 10, so a "proper" overload cycle would be structured differently.
However, all group training is a compromise and I wouldn't have done this training alone.
I have to say that our little "game" is really tough to complete with full points! I will miss my swim/bike/run bonus on three of the camp days. Still, a big cycle of training for me.
Observations From The Road
The trip has been challenging but I've made it a lot tougher than it needed to be. With four strong "epic-fit" buddies you could get the trip done, PROVIDING you were willing to work together on the tough days. The main thing that would make this trip tough with a small group would be support. I figure that you'd need a minimum of three fulltime helpers as well as three vehicles if you wanted to roll the country as fast as we did.
To go luxury, then add a fourth team member with massage skills AND make sure somebody (rider or crew) has bike mechanic skills -- we had more mechanicals on this single camp that all previous Epic Camps combined!
That said, if you had an extra week then you could probably go bare bones - for sure if you had a month. Having done trips both methods, my preference is full support and nice accommodation. Another tip would be to hire people - don't con a relative into a "vacation" helping you out. Support is a TOUGH job - just ask our crew!
I'm going to take a break from Epic and this will be my last camp for a while, perhaps a LONG while!
Just like Ironman Canada, it would have been great to go out on top but Steve is a true gent and I'm glad that he was able to win the camp. In many ways, he represents the positive aspects of the insanity of ultra-endurance sport. I'm glad that I was around to give him a push (and help get Petro his first EVER camp completion bonus!).
I have another blog with ideas for Johno/Scott/The Epic-Vets about how to take things forward. I'll write that up in due course.
So what do I think about when I am riding all day long? I think about the stuff that I write here as well as a lot of other things.
Something new this camp was thinking about my daughter hugging me. That was mainly the last couple of days because she's learned to say Da-Da and has been talking to me (as well as licking the telephone). I think about M a lot because that makes me happy and happy is a nice way to roll down the country.
When I'm tired (the entire South Island), I use music when sustained mod-hard efforts are required. That ride from Blenheim to Kaikoura was one of my better stages for pulling.
This camp has some challenging moments - not always when training! Here are some ideas:
Stay focused on self improvement and maintaining personal responsibility for my own actions - when we get tired, it is easy to get caught in the trap of wasting energy trying to improve others. I caught myself in this trap more than one time.
Release Pain - there were some tough stages on the tour. Sometimes we were pretty uncomfortable. In those situations, I try not to lock onto the discomfort. Easier said than done when I am near max effort (Stage 1 and Stage 8 had some maximal moments). When it gets tough dial into something that gives you strength -- for me, it is nearly always nature or my own breathing. Being in NZ, there was plenty of natural beauty around us and, for me, that's a big help.
To feel strong help others - I like helping other folks out when I'm tired. I only had one sense of humor failure this camp. By the time I am Molina's age... I just might be as mellow as him!
Give what you want to receive - I wrote about that earlier and it was a good insight. Of course, we need to figure out what we really want... ...and... 2400KMs of riding gives ample opportunity to clear the mind - if you aren't wrung out all the time! I've been off the back a few days and those are great times to reflect on my life, or wife (hi babe!).
Reduce 'noise' when stress is high - nutrition, music, email, tv, caffeine, changes from the routine... all of these can be additional 'noise' in our lives. In multi-day, high stress situations, making an effort to reduce noise helps. A quiet mind helps the body recover faster.
Make sure you enjoy unique experiences when they present themselves - a lot of folks would have liked to have the chance to ride across New Zealand, only a few actually did. When you have these unique opportunities - make sure that you get a chance to appreciate them.
If you can't handle losing then redefine the game. Epic provides us with a unique opportunity to transcend ego and release ourselves to some tough situations. I don't get that in many places in my life.