Forrest 6hr - 5th May & only 11 days to go until Finale Ligure WEMBO 24hr

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Forrest 6hr – a ¼ of what is to come...and I'm ok with that.

Italy and the WEMBO Finale Ligure 24hr is only 11 days away now as I type this.

I am still recovering from the Forrest 6hr on the weekend, feeling a bit dreary today indeed.

Cranky actually, tired and damn cranky! 

Last week I knew I was coming into this 6hr enduro tired and not with all cylinders firing and this was the plan.

A race that I was keen to win, had to now become a B race to spruce up the mind and body for what is to come in 11 days time...a solid 24hr effort and an effort to WIN!

You cant win a 24hr unless you are prepared to suffer more than anyone else, learning this process and acknowledging the highs and lows when they visit you during the race are essential to a great 24 solo result. Knowing what the devil looks, feels, smells,tastes and even sounds like is what I believe to be the next greatest asset a 24 solo athlete can have after bike handling skills and fitness.

In the 6hr race that was on the weekend I tried to outsmart the devil, knowing the strategies to keep him away.

The result speaks for itself, a tired girl with 24hr legs in training never gave up and ended up coming 2nd and most of all finished with all tick boxes checked and a massive smile on her face.

I had the most fun I have had in such a long time and feel that I have once again found the happy place that endurance athletes search for in their chosen event.

Here are just a few insights into how I managed my race on the weekend:

Talk! One must be actively involved in the race, chat when possible, to fellow competitors, marshalls, supporters etc...outward chatter keeps the inward chatter minimal, more important in the latter stages too.

Engage yourself in every moment. You must acknowledge the pain, the fun part of the trail, the uphill slog, the moment needed to drink, how many minutes you are into this lap, whats your HR, whats your average speed...anything you can do to remind yourself to stay present in the moment. If you wander off into lah lah land your HR drops, your speed drops, you start to whine and whinge about climbs, about how long a lap takes, about how you wish you were sitting down being a spectator etc...

Give yourself accountability markers. Drink a certain amount each lap. Know what gear you are using to climb a hill. Know how long it takes to get through a certain piece of trail. Know how many grams of carbs you need per hour and stay on it. Whatever works for you, once again, its similar to all the above, being present in the race, not just riding around hoping for a good result.

Smile...even when you are grimacing. I had some people ask me what they could do for me during the race. I told them not to worry about time gaps, or motivating me with inspiring verses or comments but to keep me engaged. Force me to respond, high fives, tell me to smile, just say my name, anything to make me happy. Keep me happy, say a joke. Help me remember that I chose to be here without actually telling me that. If you are quiet and everyone around you is quiet as you pass them by, there is no option to get out of a rut you may be in, or just to bring you out of the zombie zone.

Welcome the pain. When the pain comes, dont fight it, invite it! Its going to happen, if you are putting in as well, it will come quicker. It wont last forever, and the longer the race the more highs and lows you will have in the pain locker. But heh, you've been hoping for a good result so how can you not expect some pain to get there? I still get a bit of a shock when it hits for real, normally around the 50km mark is my first reminder, then I say, “Oh called? Well lets see if we can up the anti Mr.Pain, cos this is nothing yet!” And so I try to push it harder when the pain hits, its very easy to slow down and let it consume you, then are you risk your mind controlling your body in a negative way. Of course it would be nice to sit down and have a nice meal and be in your bed asleep. No shit Sherlock! DER! But you are not in bed, you are out racing, so face the pain and let it take you to another level you never knew existed.

After the 6hr race, I went home, had something to eat then went to a big BBQ at Jeff Fox's house just up from the event.

It was a great night, great people, lots of food, fun times...reminding me that you must smell the roses, reward yourself for the hard work, immerse yourself in having fun in life.

I wont forget this as I head off to Italy, a timely reminder that I am but a mere person in this world that has goals that appear big and important, time on this earth, my relationship with others, my racing mountain bikes, my existence in this world is to add value to humanity and to love and cherish this always.