The first step was to commit myself to some silly damn event and sigh up for it. Check - 2008 Simpson Desert Bike Challenge.
Then train... hmmm, less so... more kinda... “when I can fit it in”. Repeat again in 2009. (with more key event knowedge, better preperation, but less actual training)
Which brings us to 2010. In February I hired a personal trainer. Then in June, the game really ranmped up. What can only be described as 12 weeks of pure dedication. Strict diet. Up to 10 spin classes a week. Swimming at least 6 times a week. And that was in addition to the time spent with the personal trainer. (3-4 sessions a week)
Did it bring “results”? Well... yes. This years event was moved. The SImpson desert was closed due to flooding. (I know... a desert - flooding) So we instead found ourselves lining up at the start of the Anne Beadell Highway near Coober Pedy. heading due west out towards Marilinga and the old town of Emu. (where the British set of atomic bombs in the 50’s). And then back again.
590klm of the roughest corrugated roads in Australia. Intermixed with deep bulldust, pea gravel and sand. The Perfect place to test out the Pugsley and my own newfound fittness.
So what did I learn?
1) Fatbikes rule this terrain. I was (at times) passing people that I had no right to be passing. (based on real world fittness etc)
2) Suspension seatposts rule on full rigid bikes on corrugations.
3) I now know what it’s like to ride 130klm off-road in a day. And then back up and do it again the next day... and the next...
4) two pairs of bib knicks worn over each other can help.. a little... as can a very liberal dose of chamois cream.
5) be extra nice to your support crew. (in my case, my wonderful wife)
6) I didn’t believe it was possible. But I was actually “too tired to eat” at the end of many stages. My wife had to force me to eat. Scary.
7) If the sight in one eye goes all “foggy”, it’s a sign of extreme dehydration. STOP and drink lots to recover. (I was ordered off the bike by the medical team at the 60klm waterstop on day 4)
8) you can surprise yourself and astonish others when you push yourself to your own absolute physical and mental limits.
9) I know it’s strange to say this, but I want to feel that way again.
10) I should have listened to Pat 3 years ago and trained properly.
11) I should have listened to Richard 3 years ago and ridden a Pugsley the very first year.
Will I head back to the desert?
Yes. I have unfinished business in the Simpson.
Getting a completion rate of 77% on the Anne Beadell is nice. But I want the Simpson.
I’m going back.
I’m going back.