By Amy Ebedes
When telling non-sporty people about an event like the Knysna Big 5, the response is generally the same: eyes glaze over, they say “like, wow dude, that’s crazy” and promptly start talking about the latest movie they’ve seen. There’s little comprehension about how hardcore the event is.
I am generally surrounded with generally non-sporty people, and have therefor been floating in a blissful cloud of ignorance.
I started to panic slightly when my boyfriend, one of those freak individuals who never trains but always crosses the finish line in the top 10%, laughed at mountain bike race. “I’ve never even done an 85km mountain bike race!”, was his response.
Another overly active friend, who’s doing the Big 5, told me he’s opted to do the full Knysna Marathon and rather do the 50km mountain bike race, because “it’s that hectic”.
The final straw on my non-rider back was my boss’s reaction. Originally he’d been 100% on board. Although he pitted me to only beat Thamar in a drinking competition, there was still some backing from him. After telling him that my entry was confirmed, he looked at me as if I’d just crawled out of a block of cheese. I’ve filed most of what he said in the recesses of my mind, but can’t quite shake the image of him walking away from my desk, shaking his head, muttering “you can’t do it”.
The fear has set in.
Somehow, I’ve managed to channel the fear into positive training motivation and have come up with a training strategy.
The overall plan of my strategy is: train every waking moment that I’m not working, eating or sleeping.
I finally got round to getting a gym contract. I normally opt for outdoor training – but with the Cape winter setting in, I had little choice. The plan is to gym before work – despite that I hate exercising in the morning. To counteract my severe morning laziness, I struck up a deal with the boyfriend. We alternate waking up early, making coffee, and waking the slumberer. If one fails at getting us up and out the door, he or she incurs a punishment (such as an hour of ironing the other person’s clothes). So far, we haven’t missed a morning. At gym, I’ll be doing the circuit and taking part in spinning classes.
I’ll do Vinyasa yoga three times a week as part of my strength and core training.
At any opportunity, I’ll hit the trails on either bike or takkie. Exercising outdoors isn’t a chore, and come rain or shine, a large portion of my weekends will be spent on the mountain.
Finally, the psychological element. I am bonding with my bike. I ride her wherever I can. I ride to work, gym, yoga and grocery shopping. I have been found having brief conversations with her. I believe if I can be 100% comfortable on Bike, fitness aside, I stand a chance at crossing that 85km mountain bike race.
So far, my training tactic is working. I’ve been training around twice a day. I am exhausted and ravenous – all the time. But I’m motivated, feeling stronger and my fitness is improving in leaps and bounds.
I stand a chance to finish – I can feel it!