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Rest day reflections

What a year 2013 was for me! Here’s a brief review of the highlights:

January

  • I started the year on 1 January by riding the 11 of Eleven Audax ride. It was my first Audax event and I went away totally hooked.
  • On 12 January, I went on to complete my first 200km bicycle ride at the Moonlight Wander Audax ride. The ride was also my first overnight road cycling event. It started at 4pm and I completed the ride in the middle of the night after cycling for 9hrs 45mins. The support I received from other riders throughout the event cemented my feelings about Audax riding.

February

  • On 8th February my partner and I joined forces in the City Raid. We walked our way around the city looking for urban rogain checkpoints and completing challenges. Along the way we took time to stop off for dinner at the markets. My partner is not an outdoors or racing type of woman so this was a super fun treat.
  • On 23 February my sister and I teamed up as Whoops Witch Way for an 8hr night rogain. The event was a huge challenge but we had some help from a team of soldiers using the event as training who taught us many skills.

March

  • The highlight of March was the Flech Opperman 24 Hour Team Cycling Challenge (the Oppy). I joined four other riders to complete 366km within the 24 hour limit. The route was a delightful meander through the rural valleys west of Brisbane.
  • I completed two adventure races with my sister as part of Whoops Witch Way: Kathmandu Adventure Race and iAdventure Sprint Adventure Race. While Kathmandu was a fun event, the iAdventure race was a massive disappointment because the race directors were lazy in preparing the maps (downloading maps off MTB Dirt is unacceptable to me).
  • I had a wonderful day out in March with my parents when we walked the Caves Circuit, Gwongoorool Pool and Tullawallal Circuit tracks at Lamington National Park. With the day walking trails closed due to storm damage, we connected these shorter walks together to make a brilliant 15km circuit.

April

  • The April highlight was the Rogue 24 Hour Adventuregain. My sister and I made our way around the rogain course on foot, MTB and kayak. We included a sleep stop and set ourselves a short course that was challenging but achievable for our skill level. It was by far the best adventure race / rogain I completed in 2014.
  • April also saw me complete the 200km Two Lumps Audax ride. It was a cold wet day and I struggled on the hilly course. It took me 12:30 to complete it (within the 13:30 time limit) and I felt really proud of my efforts.

May

  • In May my sister and I completed the Adventure Race Australia 8 hour adventure race. The race was fun and we raced well. The hike part-way up Mt Cooroora 6 hours into the race really tested our fitness and still makes me smile.
  • I also had my first DNF in an Audax event in May. I tried my hand at the Traveling South 400km ride but had to withdraw at 160km. I had plenty of time left on the clock but was panicking at being dropped by the other riders. I learned more from that DNF than from any of my previous successful Audax rides. After this, I took the rest of the 2012-13 season off to build fitness and confidence on the bike.

June

  • In June I spent a fun day out with Barry from Scouts exploring England Creek (Right Branch) as a day hike. We followed the track down to the creek before wading up the creek and then climbing out up a steep lantana infested spur. It was the best walk I’d done in a long time.
  • I also went on an overnight off-track walk that was meant to take me to Mt Superbus but I took a wrong turn and ended up exploring other areas of the mountains near Mt Superbus. Despite going the wrong way, I enjoyed the experience being out in the bush overnight.

July

  • July was wonderful! I spent 11 days hiking The Great North Walk solo and unsupported. This hike took me from Sydney to Newcastle through superb wilderness. I camped out every night, drank water from creeks and became one with the wilderness.
  • After returning, I kicked off Cycling for Hope, in which I cycled 100km every day for 31 days to raise money and awareness for Nakuru Hope.

August

  • I completed Cycling for Hope, raising just over $2,000 for Nakuru Hope. The challenge was the toughest thing I have ever done but also one of the most rewarding. I fell back in love with cycling after having a hot & cold relationship with it for years. I also gained confidence cycling alone, having covered all but 280km of the 3,100km alone.

September

  • I went on my first bikepacking trip in September when I spent a weekend on the Noosa Trail Network. On day 1 I caught a train to Nambour and rode up the road to Cooroy before hitting the trails. I camped at the top of a mountain with wonderful views of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. On day 2 I rode some challenging and hilly trails around the northern sections of the trail network before catching a train home from Pomona. I can’t wait to do another bikepacking weekend.

October

  • After months away from the race course, my sister and I completed the Brizmazing Race in October. We ran around the city CBD for 3 hours collecting checkpoints and completing fun challenges like 10-pin bowling and hoola hooping. We dressed as witches and won the best dressed competition.
  • October also saw me take my parents on a weekend kayaking microadventure on the Noosa River. My parents hadn’t been kayak camping before so it was wonderful to introduce them to this kind of microadventure. The weekend was brilliant and I have already started to organise our next camping trip together.

November

  • November brought the start of the 2013-14 Audax season and I kicked it off with the Waters Edge Wander 50km and City Super Series 1 200km rides. The City Super Series ride was my first unsupported 200km ride and, though three of us embarked on the trip, I rode alone without panicking like I did in May when I withdrew from Traveling South.
  • My sister and I also ended the adventure racing year with the 12 Hour Dawn Attack adventure race. The race included a bonus lightning and hail storm.
  • But possibly the highlight of November was my kayak trip down the Brisbane River with my mum. We paddled about 15km downstream from Fernvale. The paddle included some small grade 1 rapids, some crashes into strainers, a big cut on my leg that has left a scar and plenty of good memories.

December

  • December started with my sister and I setting up the Bayview Bash adventure race training day for our AR friends. We put about 50 hours work into getting the day set up and everyone reported having a fantastic time.
  • I had a big disappointment in December when I discovered a major crack in my MTB frame, preventing me from traveling to Tasmania to ride the Tasmanian Trail. I had been looking forward to the trip for 10 months but with disappointment comes opportunity and I sure made the most of it.
  • I continued my 2013-14 Audax season by completing the 50km Secret Santa and 200km UrBAYn Assault. The winter miles paid off and I completed the 200km ride quickly in 8:59.
  • I ended the year with the 300km Gympie to Redlands cycling microadventure. My mate and I cycled into the city to catch a train to Gympie before cycling home. It was a blast. We were awake for over 24 hours and completed much of the ride on a dark moonless night with heavy cloud cover and hours of drizzle. I can’t wait for my next cycling microadventure.

 

When I look back, the things I have enjoyed most have been spending time with my sister, the microadventures with my parents and the long hours I’ve spent in the saddle. I have gone from someone who was trying to be a runner to someone who loves being a cyclist.

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17 comments on “Rest day reflections

  1. That is a jam packed year. Nice!

  2. It’s great reviewing your year like this and writing it down, brings the memories back. I spent ages going back over old posts as a result.

    Happy New Year buddy….

    • It was a nice process hey. I was reading everyone else’s year in review posts and enjoyed them. It also helped me work out what I enjoyed most in 2013 and where I want to focus my energies in 2014. This year might bring less adventure racing, and more microadventures and Audax rides.

      Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  3. Your blog is really inspirational – thank you. I’d never heard of audax events, regaining or adventure racing until I read your blog, so you’ve opened up a whole new world of exciting sports for me to try! I’ve now started scanning the dates on the Audax UK website, to see whether there are any that I could get to. I’ve got a fairly busy schedule already for 2014, but I’d love to fit some different things in. Sadly, there aren’t any UK rogaining events, but it looks like there might be some adventure races that aren’t too far from where I live 🙂 If 2014 lives up to what you achieved in 2013, then you’re going to have an amazing year!

    • Hi Tamsyn, if I understand rogaining correctly (a race with a time limit where you navigate to checkpoints and maximize your score in the time available), there is lots of it in the UK, we just don’t call it that!

      If you only want to run / walk, you can look at the British Orienteering events – the ones marked ‘score’ are ‘rogains’:
      http://www.britishorienteering.org.uk/page/event

      If you only want to mountain bike, you’re looking for ‘MBO score’ events, such as listed here from various organisers:
      http://www.bmbo.org.uk/calendar/

      If you want to do both, possibly also with kayaking or other disciplines, adventure racing from these companies should fit the bill.Open Adventure run events across the country and are very well organised with great maps, events range from 5h to 5 days (!):
      http://www.openadventure.com/

      I’ve heard Tri-Adventure are also good – they are based in South East England:
      http://www.triadventure.co.uk/

      Hope some of that inspires you to squeeze something into your plans for the year – if you want more info just let me know as I love doing these events 🙂

      • Haha. It’s so funny that you should write that post Rosemary. I only saw it in my “pending” comments after I recommended that Tamsyn check out your blog. Great minds 🙂 From reading your posts it sounds like the events you call adventure racing in the UK are what we call rogaining.

        Happy New Year to you. I can’t wait to read more of your adventures in 2014 🙂

        • Yes, though also here some of the very commercial sort of ‘obstacle’ / mud races (like tougher mudder) are also sometimes called ‘adventure racing’, just to confuse things!

          Happy New Year to you too, I think I’d better go and write my own 2013 in review .. 🙂 Here’s to more adventures of all kinds!

      • Thank you for all of the info, Rosemary – that gives me loads to go on… now I just need to convince my friends that it’s a good idea!

    • Thanks Tamsyn. I enjoy your blog too. I believe the UK (particularly Wales) has a good range of adventure races available. Check out Rosemary Byde’s blog ( http://planetbyde.wordpress.com/ ) . Rosemary competes in off-road triathlons and adventure races. I think many ARs in the UK are actually rogaining style events.

      I think 2014 will bring more microadventures and Audax events than adventure races. My goal is the Burnett Backburner 1000km Audax ride (74hr time limit) in October 2014. But I also want to get out on my MTB once I get the new frame to do some off-road rides (I am learning that I am more into touring on my MTB than riding single trails). Oh and hopefully I will finally complete the bike build 🙂

      I look forward to reading your 2014 adventures. It’s always an inspiration to me.

  4. Sounds like a fabulous year for you Andrew. Like you I have just completed a big year of cycling and taken up Audax rides as a way of life 🙂 You really have done a lot of stuff in 2013 and I hope you keep it up for 2014.

    All the best for the year!

    • It was a fantastic year. I have enjoyed reading your adventures. I have some big plans for 2014. Mostly cycling, hiking and microadventures more than adventure racing. Partly because I have to get my finances under control and partly because I missed bushwalking (hiking) this past year with all the racing and partly because I have a big Audax goal of riding my first 1000km brevet.

      • 1000km is an awesome target Andrew and I hope you get to achieve it!

        🙂

  5. […] Although I’ve already planned my main goals for 2014, I just wish there were more days in the week, as there are so many other things that I’d like to try. Until I worked at Bournemouth University, I didn’t see myself as particularly competitive, however, I now know that’s not true… but I hasten to add that I am my own harshest critic and I am usually competing against myself, rather than trying to beat other people. Anyway, Andrew Gills at Transventure has inspired me to try some non-competitive sporting activities. He’s blogged about Audax events, rogaining and adventure racing, and I want a piece of the action! Unfortunately, he’s blogging in Australia, so most of the exciting events that he has described are unlikely to feature on my race calendar in the near future, however, he has linked me up with Rosemary Byde who blogs about UK-based events on Planet Byde. This is one of the things that I love so much about the blogosphere – someone somewhere out there will share your interests! Thank you Andrew and Rosemary This response from Rosemary has whetted my appetite: https://transtri2.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/rest-day-reflections/#comment-236 […]

    • You’re welcome 🙂 I love the blogosphere for the same reasons. I stumble across blogs and from there I find someone else’s blog, either through links or comments. It’s great hey 🙂

  6. I’ve said it before, but I honestly don’t know where you find the energy for all your adventures! You are amazing. Here’s to even more fun in 2014!

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