Part One: Going to the Worlds
Many years ago, I took my first unsupported pedal turns on my Raleigh Budgie in the street in front of my house (when such a thing was not considered reckless parental negligence). Within a short space of time, I realised that this magical machine gave me the freedom to not only go up and down the street, but also to compose a ‘lap' including the back lane. A seed had been sown.
Over time the explorations became grander and wider ranging. This theme continued through my cycling life and the basic urge to go a bit further and see what was ‘just round that next corner' developed into an interest in endurance riding. This only became a competitive interest in the last two or three years and my main focus became 24hr rides or races.
For many endurance racers, one event at the top of the ‘to do' list is the Adrenalin 24hr Solo World Championships, traditionally held in Canmore, Canada. At the end of last season I decided that the time was right to go for it.
There were a number of reasons for this. I was not particularly happy with my performances in 2008 and felt that a big target would help me focus and get the best out of myself. I also want to ride against the best; not just a small number of strong riders.... but a field full of them! Oh, and I want to go to Canada! Kind of like a childhood dream. I've long held the Canadian mountains in the kind of reverence that I once held ‘The Park' when it was unattainable on my Budgie.
So early winter I started training hard and with structure for the first time. This approach went completely against my character but the results have been well worth the effort. It's not been ‘fun' at times but it's been immensely satisfying. It's also been a fascinating experience to learn more about how the human body functions. But the training is done now. Just the energy boosting taper to go...
This Friday, I flew to Canmore. This leaves me a week to make my final preparations and enjoy the splendour of The Three Sisters, a scene I have wanted to soak up in person for many years. I'll be doing my reconnaissance of the course; sussing out lines, practicing night laps and fretting over tyre choice (an essential aspect of any race prep). It'll also be great to meet some of the other competitors. This is one of the best aspects of an event like this; a coming together of minds, a sharing of experiences, a common passion.
I would like to keep you up to date with events in Canmore. Just for tasters, here is a link to the webcam which points in the direction of the race site.
Next week, prior to the race, I'm going to write my impressions on the area, post some photographs and describe the race course. I hope I can capture the vibe and excitement leading up to this truly international event. This will be followed by a full race report soon after the event.
Excited? The Budgie is about to enter the park...