Head down

Day 70, Stage 54, 129km

Start, Game Post 2

Finish, Bush Camp

Today was just long and tough. Still wet and muddy. The middle day of 5 off road days. It was just a head down day. A grinding day.

This was the kind of day when the mind works over time. It knows it is going to be a long day. It tries to divert itself in any way possible to stop dwelling on the sheer pain and discomfort. I have six or seven different calculations going on in my head at all times.  Kilometre 13 means I have done 10% of the ride. Every 6.5 km is another 5%. It took me 33 minutes to do the first 10km. at that rate it will take me 429 minutes or 7 hours and 9 minutes to get to the finish – add a half hour for lunch and 20 minutes for two coke stops and I will take about 8 hours to get there. I left at 7:10am so I should be in by 3:09pm. Can I get in before 3pm? 33 minutes for 10km equals 18 kmph. Can I keep that up in this much or will it drop? What is my timing if I start to average 35 minutes per 10km – or 40 minutes? And on its goes. The mind will do anything to avoid acknowledging that the terrain is dreadful, the conditions are miserable, and I’m not having bundles of fun. The mind does this to keep me moving forward. If a crack appears I start another calculation. Keep the mind busy. Divert it. Keep pedaling.

The crack got wider when I started to near the 125km mark. Because at the rider briefing the day before we had been told that today’s ride was 125km. All bets are off when the advertised kilometrage is not right. You set you mind up for certain goals – goals that help maintain the balance between hope and despair. When the goal posts shift the balance shifts and the mind cracks open a bit further.  That happened today. I kept looking for the finish flag and not seeing it. At 128 I finally saw it in the distance. The crack began to close. I raced down the hill. The flag was at the top of the next rise. But at the bottom of the hill was a 30 metre patch of deep sand. I saw it but didn’t properly gauge how deep it was. I tried to power through but got stuck 5 metres from the end and had to unclip and get off my bike. The crack widened. I cycled slowly to the top of the hill and the finish flag. I had finished another day and I was thoroughly grumpy.

But the sun had come out and I could at least dry my tent.

One response to “Head down

  1. very nice description of how the mind works on such a ride — not to say I’ve ever suffered a ride quite like the one you are describing.

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