Why we want to suffer

Do you know the feeling when you are four hours into a race, not even having reached the halfway point yet? You are exhausted thinking about the long, long miles ahead of you with plenty of climbing. You curse yourself for starting too fast spending unnecessary energy in the beginning. You are behind on eating and drinking just waiting for that hunger flat.

It is hot. Shadows nowhere to be seen.

Your gaze has turned from looking up to a constant stare to the handlebars. Your pedal stroke has changed from circles to squares. Your bibs are becoming uncomfortable. You are checking your rear wheel for flats. Your speedometer seems not to function anymore. Why are the miles turning so slowly?

You are in a state of suffering. Serious suffering. Your body gives you a clear signal. Why the heck are we doing this?

Your mind starts playing games with you. Will you ever reach the finish line?

You are at a decisive turning point: succumb to your current physical and mental state or raise above the challenge.

The finish line has become more than just a white line across the road. It stands now for success, for accomplishment and for conquering the little devil in you that wishes you failure.

You know that body ache, the mental fatigue, the exhaustion, the dehydration, the misery are just temporary. The pain of failure forever.

Your mindset changes. Today, there won’t be anything that holds you back.

You can anticipate the flood of emotions overcoming you at the finish line. That feeling of immense accomplishment, achievement and success – a feeling that is hard to re-create in “normal” life.

You know you have to go through the lowest of the lows to reach the highest of the highs.

It changes you. It shows how much willpower you have.

This day, this challenge will be forever remembered.

It becomes part of you.

And you want more.

You sign up to the next challenge. To a bigger challenge.

You want to go through the next immense test of willpower.

You want to suffer.


How to make a 300km gravel ride even tougher – 8 flats and 2 bikes at Jam for Jamieson

A 300km ride by itself is a big day out. Throw in 7500m of vertical gain and that all on gravel, it promises an epic ride.

It would have been a tough day out.

But it wasnt supposed to be.

It would be a lot tougher than that.

So what happened?

It all started at 2:30am waking up for the ride.

The start was at 4am with 12 other riders doing the 300km ride. Lights were required because we were in a very remote area. No street lamps. Nothing that could lit up the way. Only 13 lonely headlamps.

Not even 10km into the ride, I got a flat. It was still on paved road before we would hit the gravel.
Ben and Owen were so nice to stop with me. We fixed the flat.
I brought three tubes with me. With two more tubes left I wasnt worried.
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Dark. First flat 10km into the ride.

We hit the gravel. The sun started rising. The weather was excellent. It promised a great day on a bike riding in remote Victoria.
No cars. No traffic. No civilization besides the odd camping ground.
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All gravel.

While Ben and I discussed world problems, the time and kilometers flew by.

We hit the first checkpoint just before 8am. 70km into the ride. It took us four hours. I forgot how much gravel slowed one down. A bit of calculations and I realized it would be a long, long day on the bike.
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Thompson Dam. Beautiful part of the country.

At some point, I found myself riding on my own. I tried to catch up with the group ahead of me. I caught them at the next checkpoint – Woodspoint – 120km into the ride. Five minutes later I was back on the bike with the group.
With the last 40km on my own, I was glad riding in a group again.

While heavily engaged in conversation, I got my second flat. On a downhill. On gravel.
Despite the annoyance I was in high spirits. It happens.
Richard and Simon stopped for me. Flat was fixed. Back on the road. So I kept chatting with them.

Third checkpoint. Jamieson. 200km into the ride. It was 2 or 3pm. I was told, the toughest part of the ride was ahead of us. Mt Skene. 1500m of elevation, 40km all on gravel. It would take a long time.
I was ready to get started to get it done.

We rode off in a group. Not even on the climb yet and I got my third flat.
This time I was by myself.
It was hot. Flies surrounded me. No soul in sight. I was very annoyed. Keep getting flats made a long day so much longer, draining and mentally exhausting.

I was considering throwing a tantrum but it wouldnt make a difference. So I skipped that part and just went through the motions of fixing another flat.

10 minutes later I was back on the bike. Very well aware that I could not have any more flats.
I had no puncture kits. No more tubs. And no lever.

I climbed Mt Skene through some brutally steep sections with no shade in sight. It got hot.

The van of the event volunteers came by. I told Ray and Andy about not having any more tubes left. They fixed my punctured tube on the fly. I had an option again. I felt like in a video game where I am getting lives back .

I passed Stuart (a 400km rider) and Richard on the uphill. And before I knew it I got my fourth flat.
This time I was in sheer disbelief. I was sitting on the ground trying to get the tire off the rim without a lever.
Both of them stopped and helped to get it fixed. We decided to re-tape the rim. I had brought medical tape along. That had to suffice.

The flat was fixed from the re-patched tube so I carried on. Stuart and I had different speeds (he had 100km more in his legs) and I tapped along. I had no more tubes left.
There was no volunteer car behind me anymore. Next flat would mean game over.

It was only 1 more km to the top. I could even see the top.
I got that game-over flat.
This time, it got me.
I had no tubes anymore. And my pump didnt work.
I was out of options. I just couldnt believe it.

But no way, I would quit for a flat!

On the practical side, there was no real option to throw the towel anyway. I was not exactly on a bus line. I was literally in the middle of nowhere. There was a reason this was a gravel road and not a paved road.
No one drives this road!

I put my flat tire back into the wheel and was ready to face the seven kilometers to the next checkpoint on a flat.
But then when I looked up an angel…ahem…Stuart popped up in the distance.
My savior!
He helped me to fix the tube – I have no idea anymore how. But then I was off.
Finally I made it to the checkpoint. I never thought I would arrive.

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I looked happier than I was. It took 3 flats and a whole lot of patience to take this picture on top of Mt Skene.

It was 7pm. On the bike for 15 hours. Another 120km ahead of me.
The sun was setting. I had an hour or so of daylight. But another 25km of rough descent.
And I had no tubes and no pump.
At the checkpoint, Andy once again fixed the already destroyed tube for me. Ray figured out what was wrong with the pump.
I left the checkpoint racing against the sunset.

It became colder, darker.

I was shivering from the cold and from exhaustion.
I was losing my concentration, trying to navigate the corners, the gravel, the potholes.

And then came pavement! It would be pavement until the finish line. 65km to go.

It was pitch black. Descending a massive mountain with a significant drop-off on the side into the valley.
It was beautiful and scary at the same time.
Monika, just dont lose your concentration!

I saw the next village already on my bike computer- Licola.
Only 3km of concentration and then I was back in the valley!
Destiny didnt like my optimism so I got my sixth flat. This time the front wheel for a change.

I was sitting in the middle of the dark, dark road exchanging the flat with a double-patched tube and pumped up the pressure to ca. 30psi – more wasnt possible. Another puncture was in the near future – I knew that.

Just after a second I got back on my bike, Stuart passed me. Before I could even say anything, he was already in the distance.

Suddenly, I saw movement to my left in the dark.
I slowed down.
And then a massive wombat jumped in front of my wheel.
I had to break hard.

No idea how I made it the last 3km down the hill but I made it to Licola – to civilization – probably a village of 10 inhabitants but at least there were man-built structures.

And I saw Stuart on the side of the road. I stopped. What was going on?
I forgot why he stopped because I realized I just got that near-future puncture. Number 7.
Poor Stuart couldnt believe it either.
We both realized we ran out of options. He couldnt help me anymore. No tubes left, no patches left. Nothing.

The race organizer and volunteer Gareth and Tim approached by car.

As there were absolutely no tubes for my 35mm tires left anymore, they tried to replace it with a 29er tube. It exploded – number 8. Now not only the tube was destroyed, but the tire as well. It made me laugh.
I was beyond the frustration phase. This has become pure entertainment.

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Weighing my options how to get to the finish line. A borrowed bike was my only option.

The second volunteer car approached.
It was 11:00pm. We were about 10 people in Licola, doubling the population of this village, all trying to figure out what to do about my flat.

One rider, who abandoned the ride and got a ride in the volunteer car, offered his bike to me.
A nice MTB with tubeless wheels. That must suffice for the next 40km.
While I was getting ready on my new no-problem rig, Ben came out of nowhere. That very Ben who I chatted with at the beginning of the ride.

Stuart, Ben and I then rode together the next 40 hilly kilometers to the finish.

At first, they were quiet but all of a sudden they seem to wake up and became so loquacious that I couldnt even talk anymore. That was ok – I was talking for the last 19 hours.

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Ben’s recap of our conversations

We finished at 12:30am.
21.5 hrs on the bike.
8 flats that cost at least 3 hours.
2 bikes.

I cant say thank you enough to everyone who helped me along this ride. There were times I was out of options and without the help of my fellow riders and volunteers, I would be still walking to the finish line.

Thanks to Gareth and all the volunteers for an amazing ride!Thank you, Tim Waters, for the pictures!

Why I go so many flats? Absolutely no idea. Wrong tire, wrong tubes, wrong air, wrong rim tape, wrong riding line.
Whatever it is, I am looking now for the best tubes, tires, wheels and pump that is out there!
Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!

Everesting: 177 repeats without going crazy

Everesting is all about repeating the same hill  over and over until you reach a vertical gain of 8848m.

I am not a big fan of repeats.

But I decided to give it a go when I had the opportunity to do it with eight friendly, welcoming guys. And we would even raise funds for a good cause.

I was now committed.

Our chosen hill (there is a strategy for choosing a climb) was short.

1.1 km long with an elevation gain of 50 m.

That meant 177 repeats.

Sounded like I better start liking repeats.

 

So although there is no question about the huge physical challenge, I was worried how I would deal with the shear amount of repeats.

Would I go bananas from all the repetition?

 

Friday 10 pm was the kickoff for many, many laps ahead.

It was a nice, cool temperature. Clear sky. No wind. Pitch black.

 

Lights and bike computers were ready. The countdown started.

We dispersed within the first few laps. Jeremy and I stuck together for a few hours. However, at some point our pace didn’t match anymore.

 

I was riding by myself now.

In the dark.

The only excitement were the other eight headlamps popping in and out of the night.

I got bored.

Boredom is the worst place to be in. I had time to think of all the things I shouldn’t be thinking of.

The remaining distance. The lack of sleep. Body ache.

It was 1:00 am. Only 3 hours into the ride.

I had to come up with something quickly!

 

I usually dont listen to audio-books but was recommended to give it a shot.

I gave it a shot.

5 hours passed and I cannot recall anything that happened around me.

Listening to an ultra-marathoner crossing the Saharan desert made my 177 laps look… normal.  (Audiobook: Running Man by Charlie Engle.)

Time passed quickly.

 

7:00 am. Within a few hours, a massive amount of cyclists, families and supporters started dropping in.

There was so much action going on. Meeting old friends. Making new friends. Eating pizza. Trying the new arrived brownies.

And the laps ticked away.

I realized that as long as I am engaged, I am ok. As soon as I am not engaged anymore, I would get into trouble.

But with such great support around us, there was always something going on. Plus, Danny, a newly made friend, dedicated himself to be a super domestique. He rode 6+ hrs with me until the finish.

My original worry was that the repetition would get me at some point.  But that never eventuated due to the fantastic support we had.

Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us. That was huge!!!

 

Special thanks to:

    • A fantastic Mo-Everesting group! Thanks to Stuart, Joel, Brodie, Daryn, Ray, Eddie and Jeremy for a great time – from preparation to execution!
    • Supporters. Thank you so much for the motivating and encouraging words. For the delicious meals and baked goods. For cleaning the road! For fixing four flats. For taking pictures. And for listening to my non-stop monologue.
    • Alistair for creating and monitoring the live tracking website.
    • Blake for letting me use his solar-driven battery pack
    • Mark O’Gara and Graz Ina for the pictures!

The ride:


7 Quick and dirty tips for your ultra-light bikepacking trip in France

1. Information on climbs:

Website that states what Cols are open: http://www.sport-passion.fr/parcours/etat-cols.php  (The German http://www.alpenpaesse.co is not always correct!)

The German website: http://www.quaeldich.dehas all information possible about a pass. Even as a non-German speaker, coloring and numbers tell more than any word. Just click on “Pässe” (meaning pass) and search for a specific pass or explore by region. Once you click on a pass and scroll down, you can see the elevation gain, profile and much more in detail.

2. Accommodation

For bike tourists on a budget, try www.warmshowers.org, a free “coachsurfing” website specifically for touring cyclists. I have used that site in New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and Switzerland and I had always fantastic experiences!

Otherwise, if you stay in a remote ski resort for a week+, they might have a great offer. I stayed in a 3 Star studio apartment in Modane, for 140 Euro/week. (In other places, I paid 50-70 Euro/night for a one person private bed and bathroom)

3. Maps:
I always navigated via paper maps (they never run out of battery) of at least 150000:1. I would not get anything bigger (like 200000:1) as the less-travelled cycling roads might not be on the map anymore.

Download the maps.me app. From there you can download maps for specific regions.

You can also make specific regions offline in Google maps.

4. Weather
The meteo earth app is fantastic as you can follow every single cloud and rain drop.
5.Phone
Always switch your wifi off while on the road, the battery lasts sooooo much longer.
6. Language
If you don’t speak French, I would get an offline French dictionary app. Otherwise smiling does most of the job.
7. Bike
Some stuff to know in regards to the bike might come handy like assembling your bike out of your bike bag and changing a tube.
Enjoy your trip!

What gets you up to ride your bike early mornings?

Just over a year ago, I moved to Australia.

I was able to enjoy the last two weeks of summer and then winter hit Melbourne. Having lived in Minnesota (where you still could be looking for your car under the snow in May) I should have felt relief.

-20 degrees Celsius with metres high snow was traded for drizzly, rainy, dark 5 degrees. I came to think that the sun doesnt exist in the Southern hemisphere.

I had absolutely no motivation to get up in the morning to go riding. But in Minnesota, I had no problem riding in -20 degrees with two other brave souls. What has happened?

Now, looking back, it is clear like a crystal ball: Routine.

After four months of getting up at 4:45am in the morning, I even wake up at that time on my rest days. I established myself a ceremony that would definitely get me up.
Those are my highlights in the morning:

1. Everything is ready to go the night before so I don’t have any stress in the morning. The only task for me is to wake up and to look forward to the ride.

2. Cold-brew coffee. The best! The evening prior I mix water and coffee powder in a French press and let it sit overnight. In the morning, I only have to filter the powder and I got some delicious cold-brew coffee. And man, that caffeine hits quickly!

3. Music. I put ear plugs in and listen to upbeat songs. Currently (don’t laugh), it is: Flo Rida- Wild Things, Die Antwoord – I fink u freeky and Lady Gaga – Born this way. (If you feel sorry for my music choice, feel free to make suggestions 🙂 )

4. But most importantly: my riding group. Every day, I am so excited to see my cycling group. By riding with the same people, you get to know each other very well. Who is grumpy in the morning and you shouldn’t talk to? Who could you engage immediately into a conversation? Who won or lost at the race yesterday? Riding in a group is like reading the newspaper; you got to do it every day to be fully up-to-date on all the happenings. Thanks THB guys for making me look forward to our training rides every morning!

What gets you up in the morning?


My (mental) preparation for the Three Peaks Challenge– Melbourne to Mt Buller (260km/5000m elevation, 161mi/16400ft elevation)

 

When you are planning on doing something longer and harder than you have done before, the extra weight of five kilos on top of your neck will be your key asset. (Your head)
Having decided three weeks out to ride the Three Peaks Challenge, one of the hardest one day challenges in Australia (235km/4000m elevation), I needed a long tough ride beforehand. I wanted to see how my legs feel towards the end of a long ride but more importantly I needed that kind of ride as mental preparation. Getting my head ready for whatever lies beyond the failure of my legs. There is a “going into the red” for going anaerobic, I call it “going mental” for going beyond your perceived body’s ability.
I heard on Thursday that a mate, Damian, is planning on riding the next day from Melbourne out to Mt Buller. 260km (161mi). 5000m (16400ft) of elevation. 40km (25mi)  of gravel in unknown condition.  35 degrees (95F) temps.
That was exactly what I was looking for! It had the length, the pain and the uncertainty to make it very challenging.
For those kinds of rides, key is to be able to motivate myself on the toughest parts. Naturally climbs and in this case the gravel section would be something that would drain my mental energy. So for the short time I had to prepare for this ride (12 hours), I learned all about elevation gain, gradient, length of climb that could give me the ability to measure my progress while climbing. Plus, the more numbers you have to play around with, the more you can make all kind of (un)necessary calculations to keep your head busy.
The gravel section seemed to become my lowest mental point. With a limited pool of mountain bike skills, I had a very tough time to navigate through a very rocky terrain, no matter if uphill or downhill.
We just didn’t make any progress. That put me off.
In those situations, I try to either sing to myself or compare my current misery with an even worse situation from the past.  Keeping perspective is key and not letting emotions take over.
After the gravel section, the toughest part was actually just starting. Mount Terrible*. A 10 odd km (6mi) climb all exposed to sun and heat.  It was north of 35 degrees (95F). We were already dehydrated from the lack of water supply in the last 120km. We were 11 hours into the ride. I dealt with very painful hot feet. So in short: A great time to pull the plug, especially considering that our next stop, Jamieson, has a nice coffee shop to cool down, relax, refill and eat properly. Why would you want to leave?
As this the most dangerous time to waste time stopping, I was in “adventure racing” mode. Quickly refill on water and food and get out of there in the quickest time possible.
But when I strapped my helmet back on after all necessary refillings, I realized that Damian hasn’t even touched his food.
“Are you alright?”
“No, my head is still spinning, my heart racing. I am severely dehydrated. No way, I am getting out of here until I feel better.”
Wow. I was flabbergasted. I knew we were both dehydrated but I didn’t see that coming.
He must have been seriously dehydrated.
After an hour of recovery and rehydration in Jamieson, we decided the ride is over and we would ride to Mansfield. I left Jamieson still with the belief that I could get Damian safely to Mansfield and then push on.
But as soon as we got on the bike, all the adrenalin and excitement vanished. Seeing my ride mate in such a terrible condition plus the length of the stop put me mentally into a different state of mind.
Should I really ride on alone into the night?
Although it was only right to join him to get him safely to Mansfield, disappointment and a huge sense of failure set in. I couldn’t believe it. I was so determined to reach the top of Mt Buller. Now I had to give up short of it.
With those feelings setting in, I lost my motivation for this ride.
However, Damian seemed to wake up from the dead. He rode off strong and visibly got his energy back.
Although I had no desire to keep riding, I asked anyway if he wanted to change his mind to keep going up Mt Buller. I expected a “no” but to my big surprise he said, “let’s do it!”

What?!?

Thinking that the gravel section was the toughest mental part, this mental adjustment from deep disappointment to “hey let’s rock this” was huge.
It took me a few minutes to readjust my motivation to ride for another 50km (31mi) with 800m (2600ft) of elevation. But man, this overbearing sense of disappointment evaporated and hell, I was ready to finish this sucker!
With us both being aligned in our goals again, we made the next 50km as fun and exciting as possible. We both just came from very different ends of disappointment and here we are facing a legitimate climb in the darkest of dark, 15 hours into our riding. And we are having fun doing it!
The cherry on the ice cream was some surprise visits! Blake knew we were about to climb Mt Buller and stopped on the climb, cheering us on. Andy and Nicole stopped on the way handing us pizza! How awesome is that?!? Things like this make a huge difference in such a ride!
Damian and I truly enjoyed the last kilometres and it became a little bit celebratory finishing strong on top of the climb and completing what we planned to do after 18 hours.
A huge sense of accomplishment was setting in…….. A veeeeeery addicting feeling.
When can I do it again? Ah…right, Three Peaks next weekend!

Our route: Melbourne – 1 in 20 – Warburton – Reefton Spur – Eildon-Warburton Rd – Jamieson – Mt Buller

* On the way down from Mt Terrible a lyrebird ran actually in between my wheels. That was luck to both me and the bird that we actually got out of it ok.


Climbing out of the unfit spiral with The Hurt Box
Warning: You might want to jump on your bike after reading this article. Please take appropriate measurements if required.
Can you imagine waking up at 4:45am in the morning, excitedly jumping out of the bed, almost taking your ceiling lamp out, singing with your radio and rocking up to the ride location ready for a tough ride?
No?
Well, I wasn’t either until I met Dave, Harry and Lisa, the coaching gang from The Hurt Box (THB). And yes, they chose their company name with intention.
On my first ride with THB five weeks ago, I had a true fitness reality check. I knew I was not in shape. But I was not only “not in shape”, I was even beyond the “out of shape” classification.
I wasn’t sure what had a deeper dent, my legs or my ego. But I immediately knew, I arrived at the right address. Lisa, our female coach and National Track Champion, reassured me, if I follow the program, I will become fit and conditioned. There is no other way.
A promise too good to be true?
Well, I would know soon enough.
The training program is based on power and heartrate. As a sworn-in “no-number” cyclist, I was hesitant at first. So I chatted with Harry, the mastermind of Ridermetrics, a free available training software he programmed himself. Just to spell this out, there is a coach at THB, who thought all the current popular training software programs are not good enough so he built his own! I call this 100% dedication going all the way. And just for good measure, he improved the algorithms as there are error calculations in the most popular training software.
So, it didn’t take long and the power meter and a heart rate monitor was ordered. However, it’s one thing to collect data, but a totally different thing to analyse them and even more importantly to train accordingly.
Dave aka Steggles, THB coach, elite racer and an icon in Melbourne’s cycling scene, is the key to transform the data into a training plan. Plus, not only does he write the program, he does the training with you. Three times a week, he personally ensures we are in the hurt box (sorry, couldn’t help it).
But by no means does this mean we are digging deep the entire time, quite the opposite. Surprisingly, we are riding a lot of steady pace. As of rather sociable nature, it is a fantastic time to meet my fellow Hurt Boxers. They are quite a bunch, I tell’ya!
Although every THB rider has a different goal why they train – World Champs or for the local crit – there is one thing everyone has in common – they know how to have a good time on the bike – especially when a German tries to use American slang in Australia! This multicultural combination was asking for awkward misunderstandings. Let’s say this, not all American cycling terms are appropriate to use in Australian lingo, especially when juniors are around. I learned that the “did-she-really-just-say-that?” way! J
But back to the “you will get fit, there is no other way” promise, my initial data aversion and off-the-map-out-of-shapeness:
Like in a cheesy movie, everything is having an amazing turn to the better. There is this indescribable connection with my bike returning– it is hard to describe but those who got back into shape from a miserable unfit state know this awesome feeling.
I know this might sound over the top, but I couldn’t ask for a better Christmas present than being part of The Hurt Box. If you ever have been in that deep hole of unfitness, weight gain and lack of motivation, it is tough to get yourself out of there. THB was the key to get me back on track. Being motivated in the darkest hour to get up and excited to ride my bike while getting truly fit again is an awesome feeling. For those who have been there, they know exactly what I mean.
And the journey is just starting…

A slap in the face: Being out of shape

Most people can relate with being, or at least feeling, out of shape. Prime time is just after the winter when all seemingly hibernating cyclists start riding outdoors again. Although another two months before the start of racing season it is already time to assess the damage that had been done over the winter months – how much weight did I gain? Will I be slower than the people I dropped last season? How much has my suffer tolerance decreased?….A lot of questions and concerns about being-out-of-shape after only a few months.

Now imagine that had been nine months or even longer. Unthinkable! Every injured and work-victimized cyclist can relate.
Being out of shape is painful on so many levels. But the most painful part is when you realize how much you are truly out of shape.
With my move to Australia I got the damage report personally delivered on ride day one: 120km with one 6km climb.

120km with a 6km climb? Cant be too serious. I did plenty tougher rides than that.

The start of the ride was easy. I was sitting in the front chatting and was thinking that this is way too easy. Where is the training effect? This was 20km into the ride.
My new riding buddies might have thought the same. The pace increased. And increased. And increased.
At the next stop, I leaned over my handlebars, barely keeping myself upright and looking for a bus stop. No public transportation, dammit! This was km 40. I was done. Exhausted. Empty.

Another 80km to go and we did not even climb yet! I looked around, everyone was chatting and joking. They must be faking it. The last 20km were tough!!!!! I needed reassurance so I asked my seemingly faking compatriots several times in different ways if they thought it was hard too. The statement that matched closest with my expectations was: ” Yeah, we did turn on the gas a bit.” Here you go! Of course, they felt it too. I knew it!

But my renewed confidence in my riding abilities completely disintegrated a few minutes down the road when we hit the climb. And this time the signs were more than clear: If I dont find a new set of legs along the road, this would be a long, detailed and unnecessarily in-my-face out-of-shape report.

With my mindset in the past and my legs in the very present, there was some sort of body-mind mismatch.

An eternity later I was on top of the climb. I was so far behind my riding buddies that Strava doesnt think we were on the same ride.

While my riding buddies picked up the rest of my legs and pushed me along and encouraged me with words like, “you are doing so well, it is a tough ride”, I started cursing in my head in German (nine months in Switzerland do that to you. Swearing in German sounds more genuine anyway than in English).

I stated on several occasions I am out of shape. They nodded. To ensure that they did not forget, I reminded them in five minute intervals.

That was two months ago.

Today was the first test of my getting-into-shape phase: I raced my first road race in Australia.

It was awesome and it showed me once again how worth this love-hate relationship between suffering and cycling is. The adrenaline of racing, the endorphins post-race, the energizing atmosphere and the people make this getting-into-shape phase so rewarding! Cant wait for more!


Back from a nine-month hibernation – New racing goals in Australia

Ahhhh pooooof!          Sorry, I had to blow off all the dust from this blog.

Time to write again as there is excitement on the training and racing front!

But back to the beginning….

As it might be difficult to follow my whereabouts:

Hello from Melbourne, Australia!

…oh wait….

G`day, Ow ya goin mate!

I hit ground three weeks ago. Last year when I visited Brisbane I knew that Australia is a fantastic place to work, race and breathe. I just had to make a long nine-months stopover in Switzerland. But now I am back and not planning on leaving again.

Melbourne is just amazing. Friendly, welcoming people. Huge cycling scene. Fantastic coffee….what else is there left to enjoy life?

Inspired by the sports-fanatic Aussie culture, I also did my first criterium after an eternity. Despite the long time-out I was quickly reminded how painful those are!

With so many motivating groups to train with, my racing calender filled up quickly. After a nine months racing hibernation, I am excited to get back into shape and focus on new racing goals. 

What can I say! That was the view of one of the rides (when I wasnt staring at the rear wheel of the person in front of me)

 

 

First race after three years. I promise there were more people in the race than pictured here.

 More updates soon to come. Stay tuned.