The time for the Battle Of The Beasts is almost here!
In just a few days I’ll be donning the lycra and Soldier On jersey and heading out to Caloola Farm for the 45km Flowing Beast on Saturday and the 72km Beast on the Sunday.
It’s been a hectic few weeks since my last update with a flurry of activity on the fundraising and raising awareness front with a couple of races thrown into the mix. As the weekend draws closer I find myself getting a little nervous and anxious about what the two rides will have in store for me. Last year’s Beast was an incredibly difficult ride for me both physically and mentally; and even though I’ve been training a hell of a lot more to be fit enough for this year I still wonder if I’ll have what it takes to cross the finish line.
I’ve learnt a lot since last year and have ridden over 5000km since then as well. I had only been riding a mountain bike off-road for about 3 months when I rode last years Beast and it was by far the hardest thing I had done physically that didn’t involve me in an Army uniform patrolling in the Middle East with 50kg of gear strapped to me.
So what has changed this year? Well, I’m fitter (by a lot), I know what this course has waiting for me (more mentally prepared) and I have a new lighter (better climbing) bike for this years race(s). I have nil intention to flat out race during the Flowing Beast on Saturday; this is more of a meet and greet with the organisers/Soldier On crew and others that are like minded about improving Veterans support services. The big test is the Beast on Sunday. I have been looking at last year’s times including my own fairly ordinary effort.
It took me a total of 7 hours and 14 minutes to cross the finish line with only 4 hours and 43 minutes of that spent on the bike. I spent 2 and a half hours not riding my bike last year; that was time spent catching my breath, resting at checkpoints and pushing my bike up hills so slowly my GPS stopped recording my movement.
I have a goal I want to attain this year; both for time and overall placing; but that is for me and me alone. Ultimately what this comes down to is me pushing myself to my limits knowing that many, many people have supported me in my endeavour to raise money and awareness for Soldier On.
With $4’500 raised so far and $5’702 raised from last year it is incredibly humbling to know that so many people share the same mindset about veterans support as I do. To know that I have raised over $10’000 in just under 12 months for Soldier On is what will get me over the line when my leg muscles cramp and my body starts to ache.
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