Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Karen writes: Fear delayed

Kate was on annual leave the other day.  I had a bit of a brainstorm and sent her a text message to say "next challenge the enduro cycle 2 x round lake Taupo in November".  She mustn't have thought I was serious, her response was "ha ha".  I'm not sure if I was serious either at the time, but I wrote on the whiteboard at work in very big writing a number of statements around the theme of "twice is good" and drew a picture of a bike. The rest of the team were undecided, would she or wouldn't she?   When Kate came back to work her response was a "No" on the whiteboard, but as someone in the team pointed out, it wasn't a very big no, the 'o' wasn't a capital letter, it wasn't a very emphatic circle she had drawn around the word, perhaps she meant 'maybe'?

The idea got stuck in my brain, the more I thought about it the more I realised that this was something I was absolutely terrified of.  I hadn't felt that way since way back before the first Ironman, was I even that frightened then?  The enduro ride twice round the lake is 320km of hard hills and probably at least 16 hours on the bike.  It starts at 1.30 am in the pitch dark.  It was the latter part that really bothered me when I thought about it, I couldn't imagine myself climbing on a the red Scott and riding off onto a dark road, seeing only rare street lights, being alone pedaling for hours, cold, perhaps in the wind and rain, braking furiously to crawl down those long windy hills because I couldn't see far enough ahead ... for hours and hours and hours.

Kate came into my office a few days later, she said she had been thinking about it.  I said NO NO NO, don't think about it, I'm not ready for it, lets just do once round like we usually do!  The official reasons I gave were to do with being sensible.  Like, it's already my heaviest training year ever after an Ironman, two marathons, first ultra-marathon planned and putting in a new supremely demanding physical challenge is probably not the smartest idea.  We have already booked the Rotorua half Ironman which is only two weeks after the Taupo cycle challenge, not much time to recover.  And is it sensible to risk next year's Ironman preparation by burning myself out in late November/early December?  Actually, we have never been sensible, the real reason, for me anyway, is FEAR.

I suspect...really suspect that now the thought has been planted the round the lake twice enduro challenge will have to happen one day.  This is that increasingly rare thing, a new challenge that I'm really not sure I physically or mentally carry out. It will require facing my personal demons and oh, getting on a dratted bike with a degree of seriousness not usually associated with me and cycling. It is frightening.  It is exciting.  There would be lots of new things to learn, some new equipment to buy, a new discipline, and a new label to acquire, 'enduro cyclist'. Can only walk away from that for so long.