The Big Wheels of life


You must keep your big wheels turning!

I was riding my 29'er last night on Red Carpet with Normie boy and it always amazes me on some sections of trail where the 29'er just accelerates at such a force that someone on a 26” bike with simliar skills & weight would have to be in the big chain ring and smack out a couple of solid pedal strokes to get back up with you. All the while you are just coasting and took your fingers off the brakes!

Then there are other parts of the trail where my 29'er takes a bit of managing, ensuring the wide lines are taken and finding a flow that is a little more deliberate than if I was riding my 26” bike.

The great thing is though, when the momentum is right and the trail says “go”, my 29'er is full speed ahead and I am loving life.

Staying on top of the gearing & pushing out a strong and sustainable cadence is just all too easy.

Big wheels are designed to be in constant motion, to get them started again after stopping takes much just keep them moving.

How does this fit into my life? My analogies?

Big Picture stuff! Big projects. Project Jessica lets call it.

I think I am safe to say that I am not alone in this world when it comes to procrastinating.

Hoping that if I leave a task for 5 mins or 5 days it will somehow become easier or maybe someone else will do it for me.

Sometimes getting started on a task is the hardest part. “Getting the wheels in motion” so to speak. Like a 29'er! 

You know, aside from my 29'er analogy, I think thats why I like endurance racing, because its all about 1 pedal stroke at a time. Dont think about the big picture when you take the first pedal stroke, just take it to begin with. Just start moving, get the bike moving, go fast if you can, there will be times when you cant go so fast, there will times when you need a rest, there will be times when you are slogging it out up a hill or a head wind for example.

When I have done massive races like the World 24hr champs in 2010 or the Croc Trophy in 2011 I broke them down into smaller races, smaller chunks.

The 24solo race, I broke it down into 1 min chunks, 1% efforts, knowing that even if I raced with 1% more intent and that resulted in even such a small gain as 1 second per lap increase on my next opponent then by the 24th hour that would equal a win. It was a tough job mentally, but it was a task that I could fully control and manage at such a micro level for such a massive race. It gave me clarity and calmness to do what I needed to do. 

At the Croc Trophy however, it was a 10 day stage race, in 40-45 degree heat, days from 100km to 189km long where eating and sleeping got harder as the race wore on, as did the heat.

The pace was fast and selection was made in the first 5 minutes, so I really had to make sure I was on a bunch of some sort or sometimes race 100km solo!

There were many things I managed at a micro level and this time it was about survival. One particular stage there was that much sand in a 30km section that I had 1 x 800ml bottle and 1 x 500ml bottle in 45 degree heat to last that distance. So instead of freaking out I realised that I had to do a mix of ride faster, and drink methodically. Every 1km I would reward myself with 1 big sip of my drink. It became a game, could I improve my last 1km time, when could I have my next sip, could I make my bottles last? Woo hoo! When I saw a sign that said 1km to go until the next drink station I rewarded myself with drinking whatever I had left and smacking out the 1km as quick as I could.

Then there was the day where it was 189km long, with massive sections of red dusty roads that went on for as long as the eye could see. There were 5 drink stations on this day, it was 45 degrees and my feet would burn by the end of the stage. This stage was brutal because of the distance, the terrain and many punctures were experiened too, including me x 2.

The only way I could manage today was to take 1 pedal stoke at a time and realise that if I could do this for 1km, eat drink and manage my core temperature as best I could, then I would eventually arrive at my destination. With about 10km my feet and body were burning with the afternoon heat, I was eager for a creek crossing. I could feel the terrain changing and suspected a creek crossing coming up, initially it was dry and sandy but then there was a stream of water, I dropped my bike, hopped in and wet my entire body, from head to toe. It was a life saver.

Like in life, there are times where you must stop, in fact letting the wheels stop is what is needed. If you dont, you may die! Make that call is your own, but dont be afraid to make it. Many a rider that day was quite ill with heat exhaustion and their efforts today would be felt for days to come. 

This is just a small insight into how I think, how I plan, how I tackle such massive tasks.

It is often a struggle in life to translate my race mind into my Project Jessica mind.

Its important to have your wheels in motion, sometimes they move with little effort, after what seems like a lot of hard work, take the brakes off and youre coasting along with ease.

I love my Giant XTC 29'er, it has big wheels and they move along very nicely thanks.