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