Deanna Blegg: The Impossible Athlete Part2

Deanna Blegg 1We had such an amazing response from the Eliza Jenkins “The Impossible Athlete” story we felt that it would be really cool to go in search of more material in an attempt to publish an ongoing series. The result is the following incredible story on Australia’s premier female adventure racer Deanna Blegg. It is a must read for all endurance athletes. We hope you enjoy it.

Interview By: Ross Burrage

deanna Blegg 10Deanna Blegg has been infected with the HIV virus since her early 20’s. Deanna Blegg is now well in her 40’s and still competes and wins both individual & team Adventure Races at the elite level globally. Deanna Blegg has given birth to two amazing children while HIV positive. Deanna Blegg is truly The Impossible Athlete.

Let’s start off with Deanna’s story as told by Michael Usher on 60 Minutes in 2011.

http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8366724

Deanna Blegg 11RB Now Deanna I’m going to kick off with some of the more personal and HIV questions, then conclude the interview by celebrating what continues to be an amazing athletic career.

RB: Are you OK to tell us a little about your beautiful family?

DB: Having a family of my own is a gift to me. It is something I was told would not be possible. I now have a girl, Tia 14 and a boy Xanda 9.  My partner Peter is a very relaxed and cruisey guy.

RB: You all must be so tight as a group given the challenges and support required for you to compete at elite level globally. What are the support roles that everyone assumes at home and on event day?

Deanna Blegg 13DB: I am not sure whether “tight” aptly describes my family unit.  Functional and adaptable is probably better. Because my life is so unpredictable it is important we adapt quickly. I think my son is hardest hit.  He seems to struggle the most whilst I am away. 

RB: Are the kids showing any early signs of following in mums footsteps and becoming a multisport athlete?

DB: My daughter Tia is a natural little athlete and is very competitive in eventing.  That is horse riding. Dressage, show jumping and Cross-Country.  My son, well not so gifted in the natural category, has a wild energy and no-fear.  He loves the MTB and gives anything a crack. Recently he picked up my paddle and a friends spirit.  He set himself a few goals close to the shore.  The next thing I knew was he paddled for a couple of km. Lucky he kept close to shore. 

Deanna Blegg 18RB: You and your family were based in Apollo Bay at one stage which is a training paradise for athletes but you have since moved from the Surfcoast is that right? 

DB: It would be lovely to have lived along the surf coast.  Unfortunately that is not to be, well, not yet anyway.  I lived in an inner Melb suburb for 10 years.  After that I moved briefly to Tasmania and now live in Kangaroo Ground, out past Eltham. I have lived there for just over 2 years and really love the area.

RB: Where are some of your favourite training locations these days?

DB: I love heading down to my sisters place In Metung.  She lives in a training and life paradise.   She lives close to the edge of the Lakes down there.  Also Shaz, her husband and my mum and Dad have built many km of MTB Tracks down in the Colquhoun Forest.  These tracks are now official and really worth checking out. It is a great area for the outdoor lovers.

Because I live in a beautiful environment I also loved training around my place.  The Smith Gully trails are just off my doorstep and the Yarra (the nice part) is just down the road.  Lovely!

Deanna Blegg 3RB: My mate Adam Kelsall mentioned to me a few weeks back that you live and compete with the HIV virus. He sent me through a couple of links to some past interviews. It blew me away at first and ever since I have been obsessing about your story (in a good way) and wanted to tell everyone what an amazing person you are. I really couldn’t believe what I was reading which is likely to be a pretty normal reaction. How do you tell people that you have HIV? Do you just hit them between the eyes, nurse them through a conversation or just keep it to yourself and if someone enquires just tell them straight up?

DB: It took quite a few years of shame and silence before I really told those other than my immediate family.  For me it was something I had to learn to live with first.  Also I felt so stupid at having got the Virus as well as ashamed.  There was also the associated stigma that rides on the back of the Virus. It felt dirty, ugly, and the thought of it in my body sickened me.

It wasn’t until I had my first child 14 years ago that I thought ‘fuck this’.  ‘Why should I be ashamed, I am a good person and I have done nothing wrong’. Why should I punish myself and live with this secret.’  It is then I decided that I would start sharing my story.  I felt to reduce the stigma in the community it was important to show the human face behind the virus.  And that is what I did.  First I joined the ‘living positive’ speakers bureau. There I had training in public speaking and storytelling. 

NuunWhen confident enough I started to speak to school groups and community groups.  With each talk grew confidence and self respect.  People started admiring me for who I was and what I stood for. Still at this time exercise (other than a walk around the block each day) hadn’t even entered my daily routine.  That came later.

Time has gone by, my confidence has grown and I am proud of who I am.  I do not tell people about the virus in general conversation.  If people inquire I am more than happy to chat.  I admire it when people have the guts to ask rather than sit back and wonder, or ask other people about the HIV. 

I am not scared to disclose my status to people.  I feel if the person can’t handle it then they are not the type of person i really want to hang out with.

When I first started the adventure racing in 2006 I was too scared to say anything in case I was not allowed to compete.  I felt the same recently when I headed to the states for the Worlds Toughest Mudder.  I kept my trap shut in case they found out and wouldn’t let me compete.  Sometimes I feel I have to prove my worth first.

Deanna Blegg 16RB: I’m so fascinated about your story because of my daily involvement in projects across Uganda through the Cotton On Foundation. HIV/AIDS has and continues to devastate regions we are working in daily but we see the investment in education as the critical piece to making generational change. In all the interviews and videos I have watched, you now appear to be really open about discussing HIV which is fantastic. Do you look at yourself as someone that can help the wider community by educating and telling your story?

DB: Disclosure is a really tough topic.  There is no right or wrong. Or maybe there is!  It depends on the love and support of those around you and the acceptance if and when you disclose.  If my experiences were bad then I would remain hidden like so many of us in the community.  It is also really important if people decide to disclose publicly they have training, and support.  It doesn’t always go right.  It can be incredibly tiring both physically and emotionally.

I personally feel that by confidently showing my face and the face of normality ie. the girl next door, hmm well ok, the woman next door.  Partner, 2 kids, a dog, keeps fit, going about her life. Hopefully that can educate the public and dispel the fear.  The fear is still there though.  Uproar at the school when my son’s friend’s mum’s found out.  Ignorance. Education and awareness is the answer.  I still see them look at me and whisper. I stand tall and proud.

RB: Talking about HIV so openly must be an amazing form of therapy for you yeah?

DB:  Yeah.  Generally it is.  Especially when I first started the journey.  I wish others would follow.  The sense of self worth helps with self esteem.

RB: Did it take you long to get your head around what happen and to become the positive thinking person you are today or did you experience some dark periods in there somewhere?

DB: I feel in everybody’s life and experiences within it there are dark times.  It is getting through the darkness and reaching through to the light which shapes a person. Did it take time?  It took 2 years to come to terms with it. Another 2 years to get the confidence to speak out. Since then it has been a continual growth.  I have had challenges within those times too. 2005 found me hospitalised with an AIDS defining illness.  That was certainly a wakeup call. I really had to start taking care of myself.

RB: Tell us a little about your mental and physical approach to life these days.

Deanna Blegg 4DB:  Life is an exciting smorgasbord of adventure and things to do.  Outdoors is the space I want to be in.  Sometimes people ask me ‘how do you find the motivation?’  When you love something you don’t need motivation.

RB: Do you feel that the virus impedes your athletic performance because you seem to be in some of the best form of your life right now?

DB: the medication I take to stay well with HIV is EXTREMELY toxic. It can have crazy side effects on the body. To stay in top shape means I need to run a clean system.  I need to minimise the toxins I put into my body.  Thus I eat mostly food that nature makes, and minimise my intake of foods humans have interfered with. Sleep is very important to me and vital for recovery.  I listen to my body and rest adequately. My training is not set or structured. I generally take it day by day depending on how I feel.  I do get the miles in though. Does the HIV affect me. Yes, it gives me motivation to live my life!

RB: OK…thanks for sharing some of your personal challenges. Let’s now focus on your multisport career. Who puts you out on course these days? i.e. Sponsor partnerships. Athlete partnerships are such an important part of sport these days I’m always really keen to tell our readers which organizations are out there making a financial or gear contribution.

Deanna Blegg 22DB: well, a woman in sport…..let’s see.  BLANK. In Australia I still pay full entry to events and find my own way there. This has been a topic of contention.  Especially in 2011 when Rapid Ascent paid for 5 top men in Australia to attend their events, gave them $1,000 each and looked after their craft transportation.  The men also got a higher prize money than the female.  As the top woman I still paid full entry, paid to have my boat transported and got zilch from the organisers.

I am sponsored by TREK Through Omara Cycles. AYUP  have kitted me out with lights and Nuun/Moxie Gear provide gear and hydration..

Recently I have done well in the Obstacle racing scene.  It has been so nice to be respected amongst the organisers of events as well as the community.  I am now an ambassador for the OCRL 2013. (Obstacle Racing League).  A lovely enthusiastic man has taken me under his wing.  Thanks to his enthusiasm I am now sponsored by SKINS compression wear, innov8 shoes, ultrAspire packs and am an active member of the obstacle racing league.  It is nice to be invited to join events.

Deanna Blegg 12
RB:
Favourite piece of Adventure racing gear?

DB: It’s probably going to sound weird but my little bottles I put my honey mixture into for the races.  My main fuel source is Capilano honey mixed with water so I need those little squirt bottles for racing.  Also my ventalin inhaler.

RB: Now for those bike junkies out there…..tell us a little bit about your rig of choice? Have you moved on to the 29inch wheel yet?

Deanna Blegg 17DB: I’d have to say my TREK Superfly.  Never had so much fun on a bike until I got that baby.

29″ and loving it.  I cannot fault he bike or the size of the wheels.

RB: We will get on to your 2012 year a little later but before we do can you tell us a little about how you got into Multisport events?

DB: in 2005 saw a flyer for the Anaconda adventure Race.  I picked it up and said to my partner. I can win this.  I had been a Personal Trainer for 5 years and helping people achieve their goals.  It was a time I was looking for a goal of my own. Anaconda was it.

2005 saw me hospitalised with a very serious pneumonia. PCP. It was due to having a depleted immune system.  It once again sucked the life from my body.  Late 2006 saw the Anaconda Adventure Race flyer again and thought ‘oh ‘yeah’. I was going to win this. November I turned up to the familiarisation day.  I hired a MTB, hired a plastic ski (I had had one lesson prior) lucky I had wetsuit and runners.  I swam ok.  Was petrified on the paddle (it was back in the day we paddled along the coast) I was so scared I asked a stranger to paddle along side me for the duration in case I fell out…which I did of course.  I could run ok but was dead last on the bike.  SHIT I thought. I’ve got 1 month to train for this. Train I did.  It was not long enough and I knew so little about food and hydration that whilst finishing 7th I felt the race was a disaster.  I knew I could do better…I had told myself I’d win it.  That is what I set out to do. Set a goal….achieve it.

Words of wisdom along the way..make your weakness your strength…..get a fast boat and learn to paddle it, both of which I set out to achieve.

Deanna Blegg 2RB: People describe you as a very humble person. Do you now feel comfortable with the knowledge that you are considered one of the premier female endurance athletes in the world? And was that ever a personal goal?

DB: I am unaware of how people describe me. I guess, like everyone, I’ve been described in a numerous of different ways from good to bad. I am often in disbelief of what I have been able to achieve. Totally stoked of course.  It is my aim in almost everything I do to do the best I can.  It sounds funny but it’s not about the win.  It is about how I went personally.  I won’t lie, I do enjoy the win however it is more to me about personal or team performance. 

It feels pretty special that I am considered amongst the elite in the world in this sport.

RB: What was your first big win and when was it?

DB: I’d have to say the 2007 Anaconda Adventure Race in Lorne.  To set a dream/ goal like that and achieve it felt so amazingly good.  I had lived and dreamed the event for so long.

RB: What about your most memorable individual and team performances?

DB: Most memorable team performance was racing with a good buddy of mine Simon Williams. We raced the 2008 KEEN Alps to the Ocean event.  It was a 5 day race in which we both experienced so much.  I was still very Green when it came to long events and poor Simon was put through the wringer…as too me.  We finished last.

Deanna Blegg 14RB: Can you list for us your Top3 all time results?

DB:  Worlds Toughest Mudder would have to be up there.  Did I win- no , however I was very happy with my performance and that the event went so well for me.

RB: Now being an elite multisport athlete you need to be super strong at every discipline. Which discipline is your strongest and favourite?

DB: This one is easy.  Running is my passion and my love.  I love that you can do it anywhere and right from the front doorstep.  A pair of runners and you are off, free.  It is my thinking time, my peace time, and a time to just be.  I live in the country so trails and tracks are a beautiful environment for me.

RB: And what about your weakest and least favourite?

DB: Ha. That’s easy too.  Paddling is I guess my least favourite. Weakest…probably not.  Definitely used to be however a wise man once said to me “get a fast boat and learn to stay in it.” And…..make your weakness your strength.  It certainly isn’t my strength yet however it is not weak.

It sounds arrogant a however I like to think – and say sometimes to those who know me and won’t take like I am some arrogant athlete. “My strength is that I have no weaknesses”.  But I am human and I do.  :)

Deanna Blegg 6RB: Now let’s get on to your past twelve months. You have packed some serious races in this year. I tried to research them all but struggled to cobble together the list. Would you mind listing all the majors you competed in throughout 2012?

DB:  I have done a lot of racing off shore in 2012.  Racing in China has certainly been a highlight. It is team racing normally 3 guys and 1 girl.  I am the token chick for team ‘Moxiegear /Nuun’. I was across in china 3 times and raced in a total of 5 races all being 3-6 days long.  It is stage racing.

I raced all the Anaconda events and had a good season winning all bar the last event and taking out the series champion.  My best race being the Augusta event taking 25 min off my previous years time. 

Racing in the 3d Rotarua Adventure  race in New Zealand was a lot of fun. It was the Australasian championships where I placed 3rd behind Elina Usher. I was about a minute down on her and had both bike and boat trouble so was really stoked with my placing.

Deanna Blegg 10The Worlds Toughest Mudder was most certainly a highlight on the Calendar. A 24hour nonstop obstacle race trying to cover as many laps of a 16 km course in sub zero temps.  I covered 130 km and over 250 obstacles in a full length 4/3 surf wetsuit and kayak different event amongst a very different crowd.  I headed out there with my fantastic mum and knew no- one.  It will be a diff experience next year as since then I have met so many of the Aussies that were over there and are planning to head back.

The Mark Webber Challenge was a lot of fun. I played Girl Guide to take Caine Eckstein and Taylor Cecil from Team Renault. It probably was a bit soon after the tough Mudder event but I couldn’t resist. It is such an exciting and well run event to be a part of. 

RB: A couple of really random 2012 results that most people may not be aware of was your win at the Victoria’s Tuff Chick Championship and your 3rd overall (all athletes) at the24hr Worlds Toughest Mudder event (as mentioned above). Amazing results for a chick in her 40’s Deanna. These events are seriously hard core. Was it fun and a nice change from mainstream Adventure racing?

DB: Obstacle racing is super fun in my eyes. It combines my love of running with obstacles such as climbing, crawling, throwing, mud, water and you name it.  It is right up my alley on a personal level as far as strength and agility is concerned. 

I also love the crowd it attracts.  It is fantastic that the starts are in waves of people and that it focuses on team work. Basically it is adults being kids again. It’s great.

RB: And what about your Adventure racing team mates. Can they keep up with you? Do you just tolerate them because you have to or is it super critical for the partnership to be so close at a personal level to function at an elite standard during these crazy race formats? 

Deanna Blegg 21DB: When racing with a team it is super important that you’re all on the same level re race expectations and team expectations.  It has taken a while to get it all right. It is so important the team works as a whole. There is no room for individuals as it ultimately leads to poorer results. 

Personalities are important as too an understanding and acceptance of a woman.  I know some team mates initially thought that they just have to keep up with me….it can’t be too hard.

I am not fast at the shorter stuff and a lot of these guys can beat me.  Long haul is my thing.  As the sting goes from their legs, that is when the playing field evens out.  I get towed a bit in the beginning however near the end of the event s it is not uncommon to have the boys on tow. I am all about the team. I do not need to prove myself to anyone as an individual.

RB: Any favourite team mates or competitors out there that you have a bit of a soft spot for?

DB: Fellow athlete Frankie Sanders has my complete admiration.  I love that she is out there and does everything hard core.  Totally awesome and inspiring.

Jarad Kohlar, though no longer a team mate, I also admire for his endless enthusiasm towards competing and events.  He is everywhere and a one of a kind athlete. I think it is also great what he has done for encouraging paddling amongst the community.

RB: I still get intimidated by the presence of John Jacoby. They don’t build too many like JJ do they? Have you actually heard of John Jacoby Deanna? Have you ever done a race with the great man?

DB: JJ? Nope, never heard of him!  Course I have.  Legend Yes.  A great athlete Yes.

RB: What are your race plans for 2013?

DB: Race plans for 2013 are a combination of obstacle racing and adventure racing.  I kinda like the idea of doing some MTB races too.  Since getting my TREK Superfly I have really been enjoying the MTB side of things so I’d like to develop that further.  I am definitely heading back to the States again for the Worlds Toughest Mudder. Unfinished business there. :-)

RB: Almost done. Just a couple more random questions and I’ll leave you alone. Tell us a little about a part of Deanna Blegg’s life that may surprise our readers.

Deanna Blegg 8DB: I had a love of chickens when I was young. It started when my parents bought me a rooster for a present.

RB: Are there any nicknames that have stuck over the years?

DB: As a Garbo in my early 20′s I was nicknamed Legs. D is what I am most referred to though.

RB: OK Done….thanks so much legend. Loved the chat and all the best for the 2013 season. Kick some arse.

Posted in Adventure Racing, Cycling, Endurance, Kayak, Mountain Bike, Multisport, Running, Treking | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Frankie Sanders: Welcome to 24hr Solo Racing

We love the up and coming random endurance superstar stories that cross our desk. Frankie Sanders fits that category fairly & squarely. Female winner of the Scott24 Single Speed category with 21 laps, 5th female overall and 5th single speeder overall. Not a bad start for a first time 24solo athlete.

Remember the name when washing through Aussie Mountain Bike event results (just go straight to the longest and hardest female category) and keep an eye out for this emerging female superstar…..in particular at Stromlo 24solo Worlds in 2013.   

Story By: Frankie Sanders

I had many people from both the mtb world and my other mates say to me they thought I was [to put it nicely] just a little bit crazy, not only to do a solo 24hr mtb race, but to do it on a single speed. I just figured I give it a go and see what happened.

As I talked shite on the start line my morning nervousness disappeared, replaced by a calm peacefulness; there would be no sprint start, no race to get to the front, no jostling for position. We had 24hrs to figure that out. So as the proverbial gun went off we rolled out and thought about settling into a 24hr race pace…only thing was, I had no idea what that meant!

The first lap was fast, excitedly we cranked up the hills; it was to be my fastest red lap for the race. After climbing to the Observatory at the top of Stromlo we were rewarded with a sweet long downhill run back to transition. I love rocky terrain it’s my definite favorite, and Stromlo has it in abundance, Skyline, and Luge made up the sweet fast downhill sections and quickly became a great motivation for the climb time and time and time again.

The second lap was the blue course, which was…well…muddy, even to begin with. The rain prior to the race had made bogs appear, and needless to say unlike a good whisky they didn’t mature with age. The Blue lap was the one I had to force myself to enjoy, to find the little sections of fun amongst the quagmire and harsh terrain. I knew if I was going to be able to keep going I needed to find peace with the blue lap. One of my biggest motivators for this lap though was that my transition tent and team would be waiting for me.

Gez, how I looked forward to those times! The amazing Cameron and Emily duo awaited. Emily had my nutrition sorted – giving me a plate of food that “I had to eat”, she was watching my calories and making me eat even when I didn’t want to. She knew better than I did in the dark wee hours what I needed so I didn’t bonk and crash out. I reluctantly swallowed down food and Gu that made me want to chuck.

Cameron would take my bike off me and clean and lube my chain, replacing my water bottle and lights during the night. Between them I couldn’t have asked for more. As I left transition Emily would give me a big hug and kiss and tell me I was a superstar.

The night time came around quickly, 8 hours in and I felt great, legs were strong, body was fueled and my mind was loving every second of it. As I turned on my AYUP’s I got excited, night time riding here I come! I’d ridden a fair bit at the Youies in the night and enjoyed the focus and concentration; I knew that the sleep monsters wouldn’t come when I was this engaged. Night time makes you a good rider, it forces you to look up and around into the corners; there is no distractions, just you and that little piece of track in front of you.

There were definitely less riders out at night, and at times I wondered if everyone had left the race and gone to bed, but then giggled to myself at the ridiculousness of that thought. It was good to see others out there and chat during those witching hours; they say the line between the living and the dead is closest at 4 and 5 am, and there were a few out there for which I’m sure that was quite true.

I made little goals for myself and things to look forward to during the rain and cold and mud of the night. I told myself it was all only temporary and that morning would come soon with the sun to warm up my body.  And what a sunrise it was! There were whoops of joy at the sight of the orange scorched clouds; lots more riders appeared on the course, many saying how lucky they were to get the sunrise lap, I commented that the advantage of riding all the laps yourself was that you would for sure get the sunrise lap! I must admit there were quite a few ‘wow, solo eh?’ going around along with quite a lot of ‘you are amazing, keep going, not long now’. I loved the morning support from others, the joy and happiness out on that lap was quite staggering after the dark sullen night.

Just as I was thinking about agreeing that ‘there isn’t long to go’ the pain set in. From 9 am onwards I couldn’t wait to stop, I wanted to get off my bike and lay down on a fluffy rug or soft grass, preferably with a pillow. The side of the track even looked extremely tempting…just a 10 minute power snooze…please. I wrestled between not wanting to sit down and not wanting to stand up whilst riding – the saddle sore was excruciating by now and the screaming pain in my lower back was mildly distracting. But I had to keep going, there wasn’t any choice, I had to do a lap in the 23rd hour for a finish and to be brutal to myself, I wasn’t going to bloody well give up now regardless of pain, I was going to suck it up, put my head down and keep going.

The hills became tougher than hell with no granny gear to go to, nowhere to hide, I had to get up on those pedals and keep on the gas. I’d also decided early on that I wasn’t going to walk any hills – I figured once I started walking it would be hard not to walk more and more. So I dug deep. I never walked anything unless I fell off. There were a few obstacles that by the last lap I was failing on, but I still tried, I knew I had to, it was part of not giving up, ever, not until the time ran out. There was one exception – the muddy quagmire; at one point in the night I hit a mud bog, got bucked off my bike and fell in up to my wrists complete with full face submersion, I decided at that point it was okay to walk through them only.

The last 3 hours hurt, and whilst team riders pushed hard for home and shouts of “rider coming, track” became frequent and increasingly demanding, I suffered, I moved over straight away, keen not to get run over by the blistering “I have to get back before 12 so my team mate can squeeze in another lap” pace. I arrived back at 11.45am on Sunday in fifth place in the women’s open category, 3 minutes behind the chick in forth place. I could have gone out again on the blue lap for claim forth place, but I was done, I was happy with my fight to the end, I was pleased with the style in which I’d competed, my single speed had served me well, but I wanted to be finished. I won the women’s single speed category by default being the only one to start, but I took satisfaction in being the 5th fastest single speeder across genders from 14 starters.

So what did I learn? I learnt that you can do what you put your mind to; I learnt I can get 6 punctures in 24hrs and I should look at going tubeless; I learnt that your support crew is more important in your success than you are – without them you are nothing; I learnt that putting in the hard training hours before pays off; and I learnt that when you hurt and you desperately want it to be over, there is more you can give, you can dig deeper; and I learnt we are amazing creatures who’s mind can will the body to go beyond the rational, sensible,  and comfortable and into the realms of hopes and dreams.

21 laps…got to be happy with that!

Thanks to Fitzroy Revolution and all my friends for all your support.

Posted in Adventure Racing, Cycling, Endurance, Mountain Bike | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Inspirational Endurance Athletes

Posted in Cycling, Endurance, Ironman, Multisport, Swimming, Triathlon | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Gregory Farrell: 2012 Hawaiian Ironman World Champs

Gregory Farrell is one Australian triathete that is not natuarally gifted (by his own admission), but one incredible example of hard work, committment and inspiration to his fellow endurance athletes. Greg recently returned from the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii where he placed 3rd in the M25-29 cat and 41st overall in 9:14:00.

His journey to reach the Ironman World Championship finish line began in April 2005 when he first met with coach Andrew Sinclair to commence training under a structured triathlon program. Since then that journey has accumulated 7 ironman finishes, including an Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne 1st age group finisher medal (21st overall 8:48:35) and Ironman Arizona in Tempe 2nd place in M25-29 (46th overall 9:12:16). Not bad for a little bloke with “no talent”.

Adam Kelsall caught up with him during his lead up to the recent World Champs in Hawaii. Here is a little more about our little triathlon inspiration. Hope you enjoy. 

Short and fluffy questions:

Adz: Full name?

GF: Gregory Farrell

Adz: Nicknames?

GF: Gregory?? Haha

Adz: Fav Tunes?

GF: Oasis, Bublé and everything in between.

Adz: Fav Books?

GF: Heart of a Champion – Greg Welch

Adz: Fav Movies?

GF: The Bourne trilogy

Adz: Inspirational Quote?

GF: If you think you are beaten, you are.

Adz: Best Joke?

GF: Google ‘the little pink joke’

Heavy Life Stuff.:

Adz: You already have an accounting degree now you’re getting stuck into Law…obviously love your studies…what’s the long term plan?

GF: I’d love to pursue a career as a professional triathlete! But if that doesn’t work out for me, I’ll fall back on being a lawyer or accountant or something boring like that!

Adz: Western suburbs Tri club, Vic Uni Footscray. You identify strongly as western suburbs of Melbourne…is this something that’s important to you?

GF: I have grown up in Melbourne’s western suburbs and do feel a strong connection with it.  The sun is always shining in the West!  Carn’ the Doggies!!

Adz: And you fit in work as well?

GF: Hmmmm… I work part-time (very part-time) as a tax accountant.  I’m in a very fortunate situation where I only take on the work I have time to do! Thanks Mum and Dad!

Adz: Between sport and study and work what do you do to chill and keep a balance?

GF: I love to relax watching my girlfriend Alison riding her horse. It’s actually my favourite thing to do!

The Tri stuff:

Adz: How did this whole Tri thing start for you?

GF: I had a competition with my dad, the first one to miss a day of going to the gym was a rotten egg.

Adz: When did you realise you had some talent?

GF: I’m very jealous of the guys who actually do have natural talent, as I unfortunately do not.  Every little sporting improvement I make is on the back of hours of preparation.

Adz: Not an ego question, a dream question. How good can you get? 

GF: I measure the “success” of results against the preparation that contributed to it.  If I honestly believe my result was the best I could have achieved in light of the preparation I did, then I will be content and proud, regardless of placing.

Adz: When did Kona become a dream for you?

GF: 15 April 2005, the start date of my first program with coach Andrew Sinclair.

Adz: When did it become a reality?

GF: 20 November 2011 at Ironman Arizona.

Adz: A lot of people started taking notice of you after a screamer of a result in Arizona. Was that your first ironman race?

GF: It was my 5th Ironman event.  I have been very fortunate to travel and race Ironman since 2007.  I have done Port Mac, Busso, Switzerland, Germany, Arizona and Melbourne.

Adz: What went well for you?

GF: I was able to overcome the challenges of the day by maintaining a positive frame of mind.  Staying positive helped keep me focused on the task at hand.

Adz: What did you come out of it feeling like you need to improve? 

GF: It highlighted to me that my biking strength needed attention.

Adz: Then onto Melbourne Ironman…you already had a Kona Qualifier under your belt from Arizona so what was the plan?

GF: Roll the dice and see what happens.

Adz: The plan must have gone well!…you ended up 21st overall and first age grouper…stoked?

GF: I still can’t believe that was me!

Adz: But you still got chicked? :-)

GF: By two of the most amazing female athletes on the planet, I have no shame about that whatsoever.

Preparation for Kona:

Adz: Tell us a little about Coach Andy from TMC coaching? What has the program emphasized in your build for Kona?

GF: Andrew is not just my ‘coach’. He is also a mentor and dear friend. No single aspect of my program has changed simply because this is a World Championship race.  My training build has simply followed the same progression we have spent the last 7 years establishing.

Adz: You headed over to Kona a bit earlier? How has that been?

GF: It has been an extremely fun, eye-opening, exciting and humbling experience.  I couldn’t truly grasp the nature of this course until I experienced the conditions for myself.

Adz: Kona is infamous for tough conditions. Tell us about your mental approach?

GF: There are only three things I can control. Nutrition, exertion and frame of mind.  I will only focus on these three facets.  I will not allow my position or another competitor’s race influence these key elements.

Adz: What are your goals for Kona?

GF: Simple – I want a race that reflects my preparation. Time and placing doesn’t matter. Just finish with a smile knowing I did all I could.

Adz: Any fears?

GF: Fearing things I can’t control seems a waste of energy to me. Sure, it’ll be hot, humid and windy, but worrying about that won’t make me go any faster. So I have come to accept the fact that it will be a physically, mentally and emotionally draining day.

Adz: Who is supporting you and what does this support mean to you?

GF: I have such an amazing girlfriend, family and group of friends. Everyone is so supportive and it means so much to me. There will be a TMC team about 50 strong coming over to Kona to support Xavier, Nicole and myself. I have no doubt that seeing those people cheering will get me through the tough day!

Adz: Anyone you want to thank?

GF: Zoot Sports, Shotz Sports Nutrition, Concwest Constructions, Elsham Network Engineers, Triathlon & Multisport Coaching, XOSIZE Active, Victoria University, Cyclespeed, Specialized, Oakley and Goldpats CPA.  Without their support, I simply could not do this sport.

Adz: Scenario – 10ks to go in the run. You pop into the portaloos for a super quick dump. As you stand your Oakley sunnies fall off your head and into the toilet! What happens next?

GF: This wouldn’t happen. With 10kms to go… I wouldn’t use a portaloo..

You can read more about Gregory Farrell here at his Blogspot.

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Craig Favaloro: Scott24Solo Single Speed Part2

Two weekends ago Craig “Fav” Favaloro embarked on his maiden 24Solo at the Scott24 on a fully ridgid single speed. Some of you would have read Part1 of his lead up and probably thought what most people would have thought…”this Fav bloke has no experience and is going to hurt like hell, good luck knackers”…well knowing Craig as we do (as a hugely talented athlete) we were quietly thinking that he could give the best of the best elites a shake even at the age of 45 in his first ever 24Solo. Well…here is his wrap.

By: Craig Favaloro

24 HOUR SOLO RACING IS EASY! At least that’s what my good friends Ross Burrage and Adam Kellsell would have had me believe before I entered my first ever 24 hour race. Did I believe them? No!  Were they right? A little bit… Did it make me nervous? Hell yeah! those guys could hardly contain their evil grins, I knew something was up.

Having now completed my first 24 hour I can say it was not easy, but, it wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be either. It is very achievable! Of course it helps to get your nutrition right, have a bit of luck on your side, stay on your bike, and avoid the dreaded punctures or other mechanicals.

My experience of the Scott was nothing short of amazing. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of the event, without exception. No one is more shocked by that statement than me as I was fearful of what the 24 would present! Let me explain.

The race far exceeded any expectations I went in with. The atmosphere in the village and on the track was really positive. Riders were really supportive and even the serious team riders were polite and supportive, at least for the most part. My support crew were amazing, and contrary to some of the reports getting about, the weather and track conditions were pretty good. But most surprising of all I was having fun! lots and lots of fun!

I had never ridden in Canberra before and on the day we arrived it was pretty cool. The local radio station proudly announced that they had just had the coldest October day in 40 years and snow had fallen on the hills! This was clearly visible driving towards canberra, and having no idea where Stromlo was I feared the worst. Great I thought, forgot to pack the snow tires… this was getting scary!

We arrived at Stromlo, got registered, set up the tents. Time to check the trails. Went out and did a pretty slow reccie of the course to settle the nerves. No snow so things were looking up!

First impression of the trails is this place is amazing. Perfect for the single speed. Nice flowing single track with long switchback climbs and equally long downhills. There was something between the two laps (red / blue) for everyone to enjoy, smooth flowing track, technical rock gardens, tight berms, jumps, mud patches and even some super smooth bitchumen in the pits to keep the roadies happy! I was in heaven. I knew I could enjoy this race, although I was questioning my decision to ride rigid forks with all the rocks on the Blue lap! Oh well, it was my choice so no use complaining now. Time to harden up sunshine.

The night seemed to come round early and after a 3am start for our road trip we were pretty tired. I crashed out by around 8 sleeping soundly through the live band and setting up of other camps mere meters away. Wanted to sleep in but couldn’t. Race day was here, surprisingly I wasn’t nervous, I just wanted to start! Its cruel that they make you wait until 11:55am to start, and even crueler the next day riding until lunch time to finish!

The start was the usual jostling for position at the front. Mid way back a group of crazed single speeders, myself included, were spinning down the road like a group of school kids on their way to get up to no good. It didn’t take long for the field to spread out as we hit the single track on the red lap and the start of a very long climb up Mt Stromlo.

The solo riders had a 5 minutes head start on the teams, who were split into two groups. One group started on the red lap behind us, the other on the blue lap. This effectively halved the riders on each lap at any one time and worked really well.

It didn’t take long to settle into a rhythm. I planned to ride the first 6 hours without really stopping, rolling through transition to change drink bottles and eat my vegemite sangas. With the help of my support crew this went to plan. I’d roll in grinning from all the fun I’d had on the previous lap and roll out again doing my best impression of Jeff Fenech, squashing my nose flat whilst screaming “I love youse allll”. I was having a blast!

I knew I had to stop around 5:30 to fit my lights so we’d planned dinner as well, a big juicy hamburger! I’d been looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint. I think it took about 10 minutes to eat fit lights and change my kit. Not exactly sure, but my support guys were awesome! They got me fed, changed, bike serviced, and pointed me in the right direction from start to finish.

I was really looking forward to the night laps. This is something that I really enjoy and do as often as I can. Riding at night feels heaps faster and when the sun goes down its like a whole new playground bringing new lines to the trails you thought you knew. I was happy that I had done so much night riding in my preparation, as it was pretty obvious those riders who hadn’t and were now struggling or slowing right down.

I spent most of the night riding by myself, something I really enjoyed. I would catch a rider have a quick chat as I passed, or be passed by another rider who’d do the same to me. The vibe on the course was really good, lots of support, especially for the solo’s. I lost count of how many times the team guys would give a mental boost as they passed with comments of “looking strong, nearly there, keep it up, your a crazy #!@## on that single speed where’s your #@!!### suspension you freak”… I loved it! I was just glad that I had done a lot of solo night riding in my preparation. I didn’t get lonely or bored, I just felt really lucky to be out there. Really lucky to have such an amazing family and group of friends to get me to this point.

Apparently it started to rain some time into the night. I say apparently because there was a fair bit of mud in patches and there was some complaining to be heard. I really didn’t notice the rain. I put this down to two things. Firstly I ride a rigid single speed so obviously I’m not that bright, and secondly compared to the wet weather training rides I’d been doing, it hadn’t even started to rain yet. As part of my preparation I had developed a “winter loop” that wouldn’t destroy our local trails but let me ride in the wet.

I’d spent hours and hours riding that in the rain, one time with my good mate Dan in torrential rain, who I’m sure now thinks I’m completely insane! But ultimately I wanted to be ready. I didn’t want a bit of rain to stop me from completing my 24. When it came there was no surprise, I knew my gear worked, I could stay warm and dry enough, I knew my support crew weren’t going to pack up and go home, so I better keep pedaling and enjoy it. So I did. I actually found the bog patches pretty funny. It was like quick sand, one minute you’d be riding through mud with a hard base underneath, then without warning half your wheel would disappear with no option but to walk. These sections were pretty short and my only real concern was the damage to the trails.

In order to preserve the trails the officials put in a couple of diversions onto fire roads. A good move. But seriously the trails held up really well. the drainage was great and for the majority of the course you couldn’t even tell it was wet. There were a lot of people complaining. I didn’t see the point, I was still having fun, I was however getting a little concerned about my brakes and whether they were going to last the distance. I had spare pads just didn’t want to stop to change them out. This was discussed in transition and we decide to run them for a couple more laps.

Before I knew it the night was gone. From the top of Mt Stromlo, the bright orange glow of first light was shining from behind the distant ranges, with the lights of canberra city in the foreground. This image is burnt into my mind and was a pretty special moment in my race. It sounds really corny but I felt really thankful to be there. I had not experienced any of the dark times I had expected, I felt both physically and mentally strong, I had an inspirational support crew who were giving up their time and sleep just for me, I was getting messages from my own virtual cheer squad back home, I knew I was going to finish, and I was having the best time! It’s about then that I decided to race.

Next lap out I pushed my hardest lap on the Blue course. It was twilight now and this was my last lap under lights! I had so much fun, found new lines, and knew the finish was at hand. Only 6 hours to go, shorter than a training ride, easy!

I had given my crew instructions that I didn’t want to know anything about my race. Times, placings, number of laps, none of that was important. I was doing this as a personal challenge and I had been happy with how that was going. Unbeknown to me there had been a night long debate in the pits as to whether or not this was the right thing to do.

I have no idea how it happened but sometime during the race I had gone from 5th to 4th, to 3rd, 2nd, and now back to 3rd again. As far as I was concerned I would of guessed mid fieldish! At about 10 am my crew had decided it was time to tell me. “your going to podium” they said, “fourth can’t catch you now… go chase down second”! “Bullshit” I replied, “that wasn’t supposed to happen”.

So with that my race began. I put my race face on and pushed my last two laps as fast as I could. I had no idea of how far in front second was so I rode like he was round the next bend. As it turned out The lead was too great but my charge did force an extra lap out of both first and second place. My congratulations go out to both Olliver Whalley (1st) and Geoff Kelly (2nd) both of whom are amazingly strong riders.

I had finished my first 24 hr solo on my fully rigid single speed Kkkken. Not only had I achieved my goal I had found myself on the podium 3rd in single speed and 12th overall solo. Best of all I had heaps of fun times along the way.

My thanks goes out to everyone who helped get me to the start line. You know who you are. I really have to thank my support crew, Kel, Alex, Georgie, Adz, and Kylie. I could not have done this without you guys. Also my virtual cheer squad who kept up to date on twitter, facebook, and text messages, gave me a huge boost throughout the race.

Special thanks to the current world 24 hour solo champ Jessica Douglas for her pre event words of encouragement and advice, and past world 24 champion Troy Bailey who was tinkering with my bike in pit lane to help keep me running. I think this sums up the 24 hour race scene when some first time, middle aged, fully rigid single speed rider is getting generous support from world champions both past and present. I don’t know of too many sports where this would happen!

The last thing I want to say is that “you can do any thing you train for”. Have a go! It may surprise you what you can achieve as it has me.

Craig Favaloro: Scott24Solo Single Speed Part1

This weekend the Scott 24hr Mountain Bike Race will be held in Canberra. It’s huge event on amazing trails that will have competitors frothing.  Jan Juc’s Fav originally put his name down for the Surfcoast 24hr and as soon as that was cancelled jumped into the Scott. Fav loves a challenge and will be competing in his debut 24Solo on a  fully rigid single speed. This is Part 1 of his story, Part 2 will be all about his post race summary so stay tuned.

The warm up questions……..

Adz: Where do you live?

Fav: Jan Juc. I feel so lucky to live on the surfcoast. Beaches, bushland, great friends, good food, and awesome coffee. What more could you want?

Adz: Family?

Fav: They are my Rock! I have the most amazing supportive wife, Kelly, and 2 beautiful daughters. They keep me grounded, give me motivation, direction, and inspire me to become a better man.

Adz: Time you get up?

Fav: Depends on life’s demands really. If I had my way I would never rise before 9! Reality sees anything from 5 – 8. I must admit that I rarely regret an early start once I’m out of bed!

Adz: Time you go to sleep?

Fav: Not Early enough! Seldom before midnight although I’m trying to change that.

Adz: Time u spend trawling the inter webs for cheap socks, gels, carbon forks?

Fav: You know I’m a sucker for a bargain Adz and research is the key! In the interest of keeping my internet privileges at home it may be best to avoid applying some arbitrary figure of time.

Adz: Hours of beats in your iTunes?

Fav: Have no idea so I thought I’d channel my inner nerd and check my podcast collection. 71.2 days of continuous beats!! Now that’s scary!!

Adz: Coffee’s per day?

Fav: Try to limit myself to 2.

Adz: Describe yourself pre coffee?

Fav: Clark Kent

Adz: Describe yourself post coffee?

Fav: Superman

Adz: Day Job?

Fav: I’m self employed as a specialist Underpinner. We repair failed foundations under brick walls, factory tilt slabs etc. (shameless plug www.construk.com.au). Basically I dig holes and fill them with concrete. Keeps me fit and pays the bills.

Adz: Favourite couch?

Fav: We’ve got a little couch tucked under the window in our back room. It catches the afternoon sun and is the perfect spot to relax (sleep) after a hard ride.

Adz: Favourite enlightenment philosopher?

Fav: Diogenes of Sinope – Remember reading about him when I was about 19. He had some pretty crazy ideas, lived in an old barrel, and was a bit of a rebel.

Adz: Ever Puncture?

Fav: I never had a problem with punctures until I took a little too much pleasure in the puncturing misfortune of others. Namely you Adz!! Karma has dealt swift justice and I have now been on a bit of a run. Most recent was on yesterdays road ride and there have been a few multi-puncture rides as well. I promise never to laugh again at someone else’s punctures…. or at least I’ll try not to.

Adz: Ever Crash?

Fav: For a long time- it was more of a novelty if I stayed on!! In fact there are many stories of losing count of my crashes in a single ride!! For the most part I survived uninjured, and very slowly my skills improved and the crashes have decreased in regularity.

Funny thing is, every time I get a bit cocky and revel in my new found riding skills, off I come, and I get my arse handed to me on a platter!! Good leveller really and great entertainment for my mates.

Adz: Nicknames?

Fav: Fav, Favvy, Favlina, Flips, Floppa, Flounda, and a few other “F” words from friends and others I don’t always recognise.

Adz: Sayings?

Fav: Apparently I always preface discussions with my kids with “here’s the deal” followed by a piece of fatherly wisdom. Although I do like “you don’t know their circumstances”, “persistence beats resistance”, “if you line up…you’ve already won”, “like a great man once said…I love youse all”.

Adz: Place’s to ride?

Fav: I haven’t been riding for that long and really love travelling to new ride spots. Forrest, Blores Hill, and the Youies are among my favourites. If I have to choose I’d say the local surfcoast riding is it. You can’t beat walking out your front door, blasting along the cliff-tops and riding the local trails. I always come home feeling so lucky to live here! Having such great riding buddies to share it with doesn’t detract in any way either!

Adz: Post ride nutrition?

Fav: I love my food! If I’d known how much you can eat after riding I would have taken it up years ago. Depends on time of day but anything from bacon eggs breakie, to pasta or a hamburger. A coffee or Coopers pale never go astray either.

Adz: In your life you have done about a million sports…

Fav: I’ve had a go at many sports apart from riding, some of which include: Swimming, Surfing, kite surfing, climbing, running, kayaking, Silat (martial arts), boxing, grappling, and the usual school sports: hockey, footy, cricket, etc. I don’t think I can give you a favorite.

The sports I enjoy most offer a certain amount of adrenaline, require ongoing discipline and commitment to progress your skills, and are the ones that I have had to work hardest at to become proficient. It is always a bonus if they take you to great places and can be shared with your mates.

Adz: After all these sports and your day job how would you describe the condition of your body?

Fav: At the moment I feel in better shape than in my 30′s. I don’t want to sound like a wanker here, but I am truly thankful to feel fit, strong, and healthy in my mid 40′s. So long as I stay active my body feels pretty good. It’s when I stop that everything starts to hurt!!

Regular massage, and some Osteo and Physio work has also been amazing for managing training and injuries (old and new).

Adz: Tell us about your bikes?

Fav: Yes, They have names! That’s normal isn’t it?

Rusty: Graecross, “PRO 10″ so he must be good, they wouldn’t put “PRO” on just anything. Rusty refused to disclose his age but says he can still “teach those flashy carbon fliberty jibbets a thing or two”. Rusty was acquired “FREE TO GOOD HOME” from the nature strip just up the road (and yes he had a sign on him, I didn’t just wait till my neighbour parked his bike and went inside). He’s carbon black with generously applied rust coloured highlights. He has 10 speeds, of which only the top gear is working. Rusty sports an ever practical pack rack on the rear so can be used for work as well as pleasure. He came with original pedals, toe clips and courtesy bell for passing.

Upgrades since acquisition include: non perished tyres and tubes and some mountain bike SPD pedals. I have also oiled the chain! For the weight weenies: Rusty weighs in at a very respectable 16kg+ (without pedals but including pack rack). Rustys adventures include: Great Ocean Road rides to Wye River and back, Mt. Benwerren Hill repeats, and scenic rides around the coastal Torquay township.

Sadly I must report that it looks like Rustys days as an elite road racing machine may be nearing their end. A series of mechanical breakdowns on recent rides seem to pointing toward a well earned rest for this trusty steed. There has been talk that a small fortune may be available at the scrap metal yard from some members of my household, a fate not worthy of such a quality ride!

Kkkken: 2010 Kona Unit 29er fully rigid single speed. Kkkken is by far my favorite ride. He’s not flashy, is quietly spoken, and would rather let his actions speak for him (He may just be my alter ego). On the single track he is nimble and exudes enthusiasm. His no-nonsense workmanlike approach makes riding him a joy.

Riding Kkkken you forget about the bike, its just about the trails, about finding the smoothest most efficient lines and going with the flow…Oh Yeah Baby! If I could only have one bike I’d choose Kkkken every time.

Upgrades include: XT brakes, XT-pedals, XT 29er Wheelset, Niner carbon forks, Ritchie stem, Raceface bars, and tubeless Raceking (rear) Xking (front) tyres. Thanks again for the generous donations Adza! For the weight weenies: Kkkken weighs in at 9.9kg with pedals. I credit Kkkkens tough love approach with helping me improve my singletrack approach. Thanks Kkkken.

Sugar Ray: 2011 Giant Anthem X1. Sugar Ray, named after the legendary boxer,,.or Rayleen as she now likes to be called, is an awesome bike. She has taken me on so many adventures that I’ve lost track. She’s a joy to ride, smooth, accelerates well, and given the right rider input responds well. Unfortunately for Rayleen she has been on the receiving end of more than her fair share of bad rider input and spent a little too much time taking the road less travelled off the trails and into the bush. Like the lady she is she never complains and just gets back up and continues on. Unlike Kkkken she doesn’t teach through tough love, instead using all of her ample travel, she will absorb the punishment associated with bad line choice, and prefers to do her teaching through smooth repetition.

Rayleen has no upgrades, a real lady doesn’t need them, but instead does the best with what she’s got and always looks amazingly hot. For the weight weenies: A lady doesn’t discuss her weight, lets just say around 12kg and still fits an M sizing!

No for the more serious riding stuff……

Adz: Tell us about your first crack at the Otway Odyssey?

Fav: Thanks to our good friend, Eliza Jenkins (exercise physiologist, massage therapist, and all round inspirational sportswoman) I had returned to mountain biking at the ripe old age of 42.

We had been riding regularly for about 3 months, with a great group of riding buddies, and decided we should enter a race together. We discussed doing the 50 and although we thought it would be a struggle, thought we’d have a crack. Anyway by the time we went to enter the 50 was sold out! Still room in the 100km though!

I don’t know how she does it, but, Eliza has a way of making you believe that you can do anything. In fact she tells us “that you can do anything you train for”, she’s proved it, and I believe her. So with much trepidation Eliza and I made a pact to enter the 100km and ride together. Hell, we had already notched up nearly 30km once before, how hard could it be? So Eliza worked us out a program that would get us up to the 100km mark with lots of emphasis on nutrition, and we got to practicing eating! This was sounding good to me!!!!

The training leading up was so much fun. It gave us reason to head off with our mates. The whole family would join us for rides at Forrest or Anglesea, and the experience was awesome. The support from my family was amazing and I couldn’t have even have gotten to the starting line without them.

The Race itself was a bit of a shock to say the least! Eliza and I went out really slowly, last to start and cruised our way up the first climb. “This is easier than our Tuesday Night social Ride” I proclaimed.

There had been heaps of rain and once we left the bitumen everything changed. I had never seen so much mud. Hills and Mud, pretty much sums up the day! So much mud that we spent more time scraping our wheels clean with sticks or carrying our bikes than riding. I remember standing on a massive hill in the middle of nowhere thinking we’re screwed! It had taken us about an hour to get maybe 500-meters. Luckily we were not alone and shared stories with others in the same boat, we were all still laughing, even if only nervously.

Somehow we ended up being sent down the wrong trail “dry weather route” only to be told by an official at the river crossing that we should have missed that section. Again we laughed, threw our bikes in the river to wash off all the mud and continued on. For a while we got a little despondent but we were never going to give up.

Once we hit the single track in Forrest we were energised again. We even got told off by another competitor for having too much fun and saying “wheee” on the trails.

My wife Kel, was doing support for us and was patiently sitting on our esky in Forrest with home cooked lasagne for our arrival. Patiently she waited, friends saying, “you must have missed them”. “No way” she said, “no way I missed them, haven’t moved and I’ve got their food!” Eventually we arrived, hours behind schedule and just beating the official cut-off time. This continued for the rest of the race. We scooted around the single track, hooting and hollering, having a blast at our less than warp speed pace, to just beat the cut-off and head out to the next section.

We were tired but in good spirits, meeting some great people as we rode, and getting closer to the finish with each carry of the bike or pedal stroke. The problem with being at the back of the field in these conditions is that the track has been chopped up by everyone in front of you. So sections that may have been rideable hours earlier were now impassable. This was especially the case with the dreaded “Sledgehammer”.

For those that don’t know the sledgehammer is a ridiculous climb to put at the end of a 100km race. Whoever is responsible is a very sick person indeed! After this much rain and traffic it was nearly our undoing. There is a point half way up the sledgehammer that I clearly remember. It is the only point in the ride where I thought we would not finish! Traction was zero, neither Eliza nor I could get over the next little pinch with our bikes, and the conditions were making it close to impossible for us to even help each other. We dug deep, pushed on and made it up that bloody hill! From then on it was easy, relatively speaking.

I remember when we were heading down the final dirt road towards the oval and finish line seeing race organiser, John Jacoby give us a big grin and thumbs up out of his 4wd. Then as we entered the finish area on the nearly deserted oval I remember how proud I felt of our effort. It had only taken us 10hrs and 49 minutes but we had made it! So what if they had taken down the timing clock, packed up the showers, toilets and food. A few hearty supporters were waiting anxiously for their loved ones, exhausted from a long, looooong day of supporting their crew (my lovely Kel included). We had completed a 100km mountain bike ride, we were real mountain bikers now! I reckon we had earnt a beer at the brewery!

I was so lucky during this time to be introduced to so many wonderful people who were encouraging and generous with their time and knowledge. Many of whom I now count among my closest friends. The support from Kel and the girls was amazing! I could not have done it without them! Thank you so much!

Adz: Now you have decided to have a crack at the Scott 24hr?

Fav: Yes, Something I said I’d never do!

Adz: Why?

Fav: Good Question! One I regularly ask myself. A solo 24 is something I NEVER thought I would even consider doing, let alone sign up for and be eager to start! This transition from a “no way” position to “actually entering” is a somewhat fluid process. I’m still trying to work out how such a vile idea has taken root in my mind.

Initially when introduced to people (now friends) who had completed solo 24hrs I tended to take a wide birth. If not physically, at least mentally! I thought these people were all crazy freaks! Not in a good way either! They made me cringe and feel physically ill. There was no way I would ever even consider doing that! Such ideas are dangerous, and these freaks were not to associate with my children!

My perspective may have changed, but the idea of riding 24 solo still sounds crazy to me! My personal reasons “why” have evolved since I first seriously decided that this is something I wanted to do: Initially it was about peer group pressure and the challenge, doing something outside my comfort zone. Way, way outside my comfort zone!and ultimate bragging rights!

This challenge is still at the core of my solo 24hr ride. However over the course of my training rides I’ve been able to think a lot and refine this somewhat. The bragging rights seem less important, but the challenges have taken on a little more significance.

As a parent: it is about putting into action that which we request of our children: Move outside your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to just have a go, try new things, “you can do anything you train for,” in short, you only get out of life what you put in! Don’t be scared of failure, its all about having a go and learning from your mistakes! I have said these things many times, but have my kids ever seen me do it?

As a husband: its about respecting the support and encouragement I’ve been given to follow my dream, however crazy, and using that support as my driving force. I appreciate the time and sacrifice from my whole family. This is something I was blissfully unaware of when I first “signed up”. I still thought that a 24hr solo was an individual event. In fact it seems to be anything but solo! If you can’t turn that into a reason to do your best you’re a knob! At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Personally: it is about testing myself, both physically and mentally! For me it is purely personal. I am not competing against anyone else on the course, but I am fiercely competitive! I have no interest in my overall placing, times, laps or any other tangible measure of performance. I will however be my harshest judge and will not tolerate anything but my best on the day!

I expect to finish!, I expect it will hurt, I expect to want to quit, I expect to keep riding, I expect to never want to ride again, but I expect to be in control and for this 24 hours to pass like any other does, It’s just going to feel longer.

I can’t wait for that feeling to have done something that I know can’t be done.

It is amazing how many things “we know to be true” turn out to be wrong when we actually test them. As I’ve already said I’ve been blessed to have an amazing group of inspirational friends to train with. Many are everyday people like myself, others are elite athletes. The one thing they all have in common is a love of life. If you hang around with these type of people long enough you start to believe that these crazy things are possible. The hardest thing is to line up at the start and trust you’ve done enough.

Adz: Whose in your support corner and why did you choose them?

Fav: I am honoured by everyone who has offered their assistance with support. For me this is an unknown event, I am lucky to have access to some very experienced riders/pit crew, and am really blessed by offers of support, all of which I expect to take advantage of at some point in the race.

My gorgeous wife Kel will be head of support and my daughters Alex and Georgie have also offered their generous support. This 24hr is anything but solo, and there is no-one I would rather share this journey with than Kel and the girls.

Kel can dish out the tough love, and hopefully vegemite sanga’s, when required. She knows what I need to keep me going and how my weak man mind works, so I know I’m in good hands when I really pack up.

If all goes to plan Kel will be supported by a myriad of more experienced pit crew, including our fave interviewer, Adz and his girl Ky who will provide much appreciated 24hr experience.

Thank You so much Guys…. in case I can’t speak after the race, or worse still, forget my manners.

Adz: Do you know to do a 24hr you have to ride your bike for 24hrs?

Fav: You talking crazy shit here Adz! Funny thing is, I checked it out, can sleep for 23 hours and ride for 1 hour if I want! Easiest race I ever heard of.

Adz: What’s the longest ride you have done so far?

Fav: So far the longest training ride (in hours) has been 8hrs on the single speed. Rode for 8:20, peddled for 8. Did this one solo without any music, etc. Good opportunity to get the nutrition down. Felt pretty good when I finished, said to myself only gotta do that another two times. Somehow I didn’t find that comforting?

Adz: You put together a pretty comprehensive training plan…tell us about it?

Fav: I have a tendency to really “focus” on events. Some may say obsess, fixate etc, but I prefer the more positive term “focus”.

Having got that off my chest, the main purpose of my program was to stop me getting carried away and overtraining. This was doubly important given that the 24hour was so far outside my comfort zone and I have been at least a little fearful, or at times terrified. If I had not had a training plan there is NO Doubt I would now be injured from overtraining… if through fear alone!

I was lucky to come into my training with a good fitness base and have been able to build from there following my program. Basically I have set a program in 4 weeks blocks, that has come from an emphasis on strength (hills: 1st block) to endurance . Each 4 week block builds based on time and has a rest/recovery week built in on the 5th week. The rest week still gets me out training but nowhere near the same intensity. This is where you make the gains, where your body has a chance to recover and you come back fresh ready to start the hard work again.

Each training block encompasses smaller cycles including strength, sprints, and endurance workouts. I have worked purely on building training time over each block, regardless of type of training, as I am training for a time specific event. IE: no matter how fast or hard I ride the  24hour will take at least 24hours! Nothing you can do about that! So maybe best if we concentrate on increasing our performance over a 24 hour period! So far it seems to be working really well for me.

Again I need to acknowledge the input from my friends. I have been extremely lucky to have several experienced 24hr riders, multisport athletes and exercise physiologists give me input, and direction, toward my program.

Without seeing the race day result and if my program has worked, I would still recommend having a general program to follow when considering any event for which you are concerned about your results or ability to perform.

Adz: So in the lead up you’ve done some racing…how did Blores Hill go?

Fav: Blores Hill is one of my most favorite places to ride. I was lucky enough to ride it with Adz, family and friends last Christmas. The trails are awesome! We loved it so much we said there was no way we were going to miss this year’s race! Boys weekend, Adz, Noah, and I. Ready to race and more than a little excited!

Race day was awesome, trails were looking good and I was more than ready to get out there and race. Sometimes they say that you learn more from your mistakes….. well this was one of those days!

I was so unorganised it wasn’t funny! Friday: Bike still on racks, Adz Says “your forks look bent”. Basically told him he was an idiot, my forks are fine! Friday night familiarisation ride, trails in pristine condition, I get puncture/no brakes. Spoke to race mechanic no brake pads, bring some tomorrow! Cool will fit brakes before race.

Race day, no sign of mechanic, no brakes…. panic stations…. miss start by 10minutes…. (lap 1) weave through traffic… meet heaps of friendly peeps chatting as I pass… lap 2, traffic clears…. able to hit Trigg point rock garden full on this time…. forks buckle…. steering gets sketchy …. keep riding… try to turn but front wheel hits foot cause the forks are so bent…. hit tree…. forks are really stuffed now…. maybe Adz was right… maybe my forks were bent?

What an idiot! Maybe I should have listened? Best Race ever!!!!! I learnt more from my disaster at Blores Hill than I could in years of successful racing! I got so much wrong it wasn’t funny, or was actually. Bike, spares, plan?????

It wasn’t all bad though. I was lucky enough to sit and watch the well oiled race machine that is the Jess/Norm Douglas pit area. I reckon that I learnt more about racing, serious racing, from observing these guys at that one event than all the fun mountain bike events I’ve ever been to.

I left happy, not because I’d done well, not because it was an awesome event with the best trophies I’ve ever seen (and I’m not usually interested in trophies) or the amazing trails, or the great people we met, or shared a pub meal with, or the fact that I won a repair stand  or any of the other fun road trippy thingys! But because I had learnt so much about the race environment! I left thinking racing 101… Fav just failed! But next time things are gonna be different!

Adz: By how many meters has the circumference of your quads increased since you started training?

Fav: I had hoped you would not bring this up Adz, I’m a little bit self conscious you know! I think I may be having some sort of allergic reaction. My girls are calling me frog legs.

Adz: After years of defiance you’ve started wearing Lycra?

Fav: Seems I should never say “never” again! “I’m never going to wear lycra” (LIES), “I’m never going to enter a 24″ (LIES). Maybe that’s what happens when you start to wear the lycra? Maybe the lycra is causing an allergic reaction on my quads?

Adz: What’s your race plan?

Fav: We are entering the unknown here mate: I have it from excellent sources (Adz, Roscoe, Coutney, Al.), in fact everyone I’ve spoken to whose already completed a solo 24, that I shouldn’t go out too hard! Soooooo my plan is to not go out too hard.

Realistically I plan to pace myself for as long as I can. If, by chance I’m feeling ok and still moving forward in the last few hours I’ll consider racing. Well pedalling faster anyway.

Some of the best advice I’ve had on this comes from you Adz. I liked your idea of having a few plans or outcomes you’d be happy with.

1. Dream Race, 2. Good Race, 3. Worst case.

I figure I’ve still got a bit of time, (7 weeks as I write, but whose counting?), to sort these things in my head. Lets face it I’ve got plenty of time to think about everything with all this riding.

Adz: What’s your nutrition plan?

Fav: I’ve been working on eating and drinking on the longer rides. So far it all seems pretty good but at 8 hours I’m only 1/3rd of the way through. I have practiced all of my foods, from gels to bars and vegemite sanga’s and think I know what my body can cope with. I’m pretty confident at this point, been using a clock to time my intake, but a bit nervous over the extended 24 hour period.

Again I’ve been lucky to have had advice from those who have already been there. General consensus seems to be to have a selection on hand as even your best plan can go out the window on race day. I do like the idea of having special treats at certain times, such as pizza, to help keep you motivated..

Adz: Any fears?

Fav: Heaps! Scared of: Not finishing, cramping, mechanicals, crashing, injury, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, becoming a tired angry knob… being rude to my support…saying things I will regret…. The list goes on! I actually dreamt I forgot to put my pants on, so I’ve added that to my fear list now.

Adz: Has training with Adventure racing freaks like Deanna Blegg, Darren Clarke, Peri Grey & Luke Haines taught you anything?

Fav: These guys are amazing! I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to train with these guys, even if only occasionally! Each and every one have been exceptionally generous with their time and knowledge. They may not even realise this but for an average athlete to have the opportunity to train with the elite is amazing. The smallest tips regarding training, gear and nutrition may seem trivial to them but it has given me an insight into things I may never have learnt.

Each of these athletes are inspirational by their achievements. I can not believe the generosity, encouragement, and knowlege that has been shared by this group to some old bastard on a bike! My sincere thanks goes out to you all.

Adz: At the end of 24hrs what outcomes will make you happy with your efforts?

Fav: This is my first 24hour event, maybe my last, and I will be happy: To complete it on Kkkken, my fully rigid single speed, to Finish, to Finish without sleeping, to Finish with x hours sleep, most important: To Finish and thank my support crew!

Adz: Anyone you would like to thank?

Fav: I really don’t want to miss anyone here. If I’ve had the pleasure to ride with you or talk 24hour in the recent months then I am truly thankful. So many have been so encouraging that I have been really shocked. The generosity of knowledge has been overwhelming and I have appreciated every bit. If I have missed anyone I am sorry. I know as soon as I send this off a flood of names will come to mind and I’ll be extremely embarrassed. You guys know who you are! Thanks so much for your support.

Kel and the Girls – I could not even consider doing it without you guys! You are my Rock!

Adz and Roscoe for convincing me that 24′s are “eeeasy” LIARS!!!! and sharing your 24 hour knowledge.

Thursday Night Social Crew. Thanks Dan & everyone who has kept night riding fun! Sunday Night Crew - Fostering a love of life and all things fancy dress! Noah, Wal, Nate, Andre – For keeping the Youie’s real.

Eliza – remedial massage and sports psychology. Thanks for opening my eyes and making me believe “you can do anything you train for”

Thanks to the amazing repair efforts of Bronwyn Molloy the osteo and Ben Bissett physio -who fix me up and get me going again.

Pez – Inspiration, heart, and determination. Luke and Deanna – for your generosity and encouragement.

Kimmy, Lyndon and Linda – for putting up with me and Rusty on the road. Courtney and Al – for your inspiration and encouraging words. Noenster – Inspiration. Alby – “persistance beats resitance”

MTB Skills – Norm, Jess, Liz and Sandy – for letting me tag along on so many rides since I started riding. Lorenzo – TCF – For hooking me up with such awesome bikes.

Adz: Thoughts from Kelly Favaloro (Favs Wife 24 hr from the pit crew’s perspective – aka wife.

Kel: Fav is a man of complete and total extremes – nothing is ever done by halves, there is no moderation – it’s a word that isn’t part of his vocabulary. Its all or nothing – either a sloth or training full tilt – no going for a jog to keep fit or a nice social ride every now and then. Once a sport grabs his eye its full on – he got the taste for mountain biking a bit over 18 months ago. He entered the 100km odyssey after only riding for about 4 weeks, riding a maximum distance of about 30km and falling off the bike at least 4 times per km. It is all consuming to Fav and it doesn’t just stop at training- we also have the research phase – he has researched every component of the single speed he lovingly calls Ken. He has spent weeks researching new wheels, tyres, brakes, stems, cogs, chains, gels, nutrition, clothes and shoes – he has weighed each and every piece and proudly proclaimed with all the new bits his bike is now 2 kg lighter. His biggest weight modification has been to ride about 10 kg off his already fit body – It is amazing that at 45 the body still has the ability to adapt to suit the chosen sport. The best bit about being with the same person for 21 years is getting to share the journey – I am really proud of how when Fav sets a goal he attacks it with such determination – there have been nights over the last couple of months of training for the 24hr when he has disappeared into the wet and freezing cold by himself to get the hours up – some nights I feel sick hoping he is ok – when its bucketing rain and the wind is howling – I have to stop myself worrying about all the things that probably (hopefully) won’t happen – I have only had to rescue him once at about 9pm when he had a flat and the gas canisters didn’t work – lucky I know Hurst Rd trails well.

I would be lying if I haven’t had the odd day when I’ve been over the training- I enjoy spending time with Fav and some weekends when he has spent all day, both days training I miss him not being around. He then returns exhausted, splattered from head to toe in mud and with a plummeting blood sugar – all this equals a very cranky man!! I have got better at pouring an enormous glass of Endura optimiser down his throat as soon as he steps in the door to keep the crankiness at bay. Usually after a feed and a sleep on the couch he comes good. Fav has always supported my goals and me his. I figure we only get one life and one body -you may as well dream big, train hard and kick some arse -you will have more regrets about the things you never had the guts to do than the things you did! I think Fav’s amazing but I’m biased! I can’t wait to watch him ride the 24 hours, it won’t be easy for him but I have no doubt he will do himself proud. I hope he achieves what he wants from the race – I will be proud to see him get to the start line as he has worked so hard- anything else is a bonus!!

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Craig Favaloro: Scott24Solo Single Speed Part1

Adz

This weekend the Scott 24hr Mountain Bike Race will be held in Canberra. It’s huge event on amazing trails that will have competitors frothing.  Jan Juc’s Fav originally put his name down for the Surfcoast 24hr and as soon as that was cancelled jumped into the Scott. Fav loves a challenge and will be competing in his debut 24Solo on a  fully rigid single speed. This is Part 1 of his story, Part 2 will be all about his post race summary so stay tuned.

The warm up questions……..

Adz: Where do you live?

Fav: Jan Juc. I feel so lucky to live on the surfcoast. Beaches, bushland, great friends, good food, and awesome coffee. What more could you want?

Adz: Family?

Fav: They are my Rock! I have the most amazing supportive wife, Kelly, and 2 beautiful daughters. They keep me grounded, give me motivation, direction, and inspire me to become a better man.

Adz: Time you get up?

Fav: Depends on life’s demands really. If I had my way I would never rise before 9! Reality sees anything from 5 – 8. I must admit that I rarely regret an early start once I’m out of bed!

Adz: Time you go to sleep?

Fav: Not Early enough! Seldom before midnight although I’m trying to change that.

Adz: Time u spend trawling the inter webs for cheap socks, gels, carbon forks?

Fav: You know I’m a sucker for a bargain Adz and research is the key! In the interest of keeping my internet privileges at home it may be best to avoid applying some arbitrary figure of time.

Adz: Hours of beats in your iTunes?

Fav: Have no idea so I thought I’d channel my inner nerd and check my podcast collection. 71.2 days of continuous beats!! Now that’s scary!!

Adz: Coffee’s per day?

Fav: Try to limit myself to 2.

Adz: Describe yourself pre coffee?

Fav: Clark Kent

Adz: Describe yourself post coffee?

Fav: Superman

Adz: Day Job?

Fav: I’m self employed as a specialist Underpinner. We repair failed foundations under brick walls, factory tilt slabs etc. (shameless plug www.construk.com.au). Basically I dig holes and fill them with concrete. Keeps me fit and pays the bills.

Adz: Favourite couch?

Fav: We’ve got a little couch tucked under the window in our back room. It catches the afternoon sun and is the perfect spot to relax (sleep) after a hard ride.

Adz: Favourite enlightenment philosopher?

Fav: Diogenes of Sinope – Remember reading about him when I was about 19. He had some pretty crazy ideas, lived in an old barrel, and was a bit of a rebel.

Adz: Ever Puncture?

Fav: I never had a problem with punctures until I took a little too much pleasure in the puncturing misfortune of others. Namely you Adz!! Karma has dealt swift justice and I have now been on a bit of a run. Most recent was on yesterdays road ride and there have been a few multi-puncture rides as well. I promise never to laugh again at someone else’s punctures…. or at least I’ll try not to.

Adz: Ever Crash?

Fav: For a long time- it was more of a novelty if I stayed on!! In fact there are many stories of losing count of my crashes in a single ride!! For the most part I survived uninjured, and very slowly my skills improved and the crashes have decreased in regularity.

Funny thing is, every time I get a bit cocky and revel in my new found riding skills, off I come, and I get my arse handed to me on a platter!! Good leveller really and great entertainment for my mates.

Adz: Nicknames?

Fav: Fav, Favvy, Favlina, Flips, Floppa, Flounda, and a few other “F” words from friends and others I don’t always recognise.

Adz: Sayings?

Fav: Apparently I always preface discussions with my kids with “here’s the deal” followed by a piece of fatherly wisdom. Although I do like “you don’t know their circumstances”, “persistence beats resistance”, “if you line up…you’ve already won”, “like a great man once said…I love youse all”.

Adz: Place’s to ride?

Fav: I haven’t been riding for that long and really love travelling to new ride spots. Forrest, Blores Hill, and the Youies are among my favourites. If I have to choose I’d say the local surfcoast riding is it. You can’t beat walking out your front door, blasting along the cliff-tops and riding the local trails. I always come home feeling so lucky to live here! Having such great riding buddies to share it with doesn’t detract in any way either!

Adz: Post ride nutrition?

Fav: I love my food! If I’d known how much you can eat after riding I would have taken it up years ago. Depends on time of day but anything from bacon eggs breakie, to pasta or a hamburger. A coffee or Coopers pale never go astray either.

Adz: In your life you have done about a million sports…

Fav: I’ve had a go at many sports apart from riding, some of which include: Swimming, Surfing, kite surfing, climbing, running, kayaking, Silat (martial arts), boxing, grappling, and the usual school sports: hockey, footy, cricket, etc. I don’t think I can give you a favorite.

The sports I enjoy most offer a certain amount of adrenaline, require ongoing discipline and commitment to progress your skills, and are the ones that I have had to work hardest at to become proficient. It is always a bonus if they take you to great places and can be shared with your mates.

Adz: After all these sports and your day job how would you describe the condition of your body?

Fav: At the moment I feel in better shape than in my 30′s. I don’t want to sound like a wanker here, but I am truly thankful to feel fit, strong, and healthy in my mid 40′s. So long as I stay active my body feels pretty good. It’s when I stop that everything starts to hurt!!

Regular massage, and some Osteo and Physio work has also been amazing for managing training and injuries (old and new).

Adz: Tell us about your bikes?

Fav: Yes, They have names! That’s normal isn’t it?

Rusty: Graecross, “PRO 10″ so he must be good, they wouldn’t put “PRO” on just anything. Rusty refused to disclose his age but says he can still “teach those flashy carbon fliberty jibbets a thing or two”. Rusty was acquired “FREE TO GOOD HOME” from the nature strip just up the road (and yes he had a sign on him, I didn’t just wait till my neighbour parked his bike and went inside). He’s carbon black with generously applied rust coloured highlights. He has 10 speeds, of which only the top gear is working. Rusty sports an ever practical pack rack on the rear so can be used for work as well as pleasure. He came with original pedals, toe clips and courtesy bell for passing.

Upgrades since acquisition include: non perished tyres and tubes and some mountain bike SPD pedals. I have also oiled the chain! For the weight weenies: Rusty weighs in at a very respectable 16kg+ (without pedals but including pack rack). Rustys adventures include: Great Ocean Road rides to Wye River and back, Mt. Benwerren Hill repeats, and scenic rides around the coastal Torquay township.

Sadly I must report that it looks like Rustys days as an elite road racing machine may be nearing their end. A series of mechanical breakdowns on recent rides seem to pointing toward a well earned rest for this trusty steed. There has been talk that a small fortune may be available at the scrap metal yard from some members of my household, a fate not worthy of such a quality ride!

Kkkken: 2010 Kona Unit 29er fully rigid single speed. Kkkken is by far my favorite ride. He’s not flashy, is quietly spoken, and would rather let his actions speak for him (He may just be my alter ego). On the single track he is nimble and exudes enthusiasm. His no-nonsense workmanlike approach makes riding him a joy.

Riding Kkkken you forget about the bike, its just about the trails, about finding the smoothest most efficient lines and going with the flow…Oh Yeah Baby! If I could only have one bike I’d choose Kkkken every time.

Upgrades include: XT brakes, XT-pedals, XT 29er Wheelset, Niner carbon forks, Ritchie stem, Raceface bars, and tubeless Raceking (rear) Xking (front) tyres. Thanks again for the generous donations Adza! For the weight weenies: Kkkken weighs in at 9.9kg with pedals. I credit Kkkkens tough love approach with helping me improve my singletrack approach. Thanks Kkkken.

Sugar Ray: 2011 Giant Anthem X1. Sugar Ray, named after the legendary boxer,,.or Rayleen as she now likes to be called, is an awesome bike. She has taken me on so many adventures that I’ve lost track. She’s a joy to ride, smooth, accelerates well, and given the right rider input responds well. Unfortunately for Rayleen she has been on the receiving end of more than her fair share of bad rider input and spent a little too much time taking the road less travelled off the trails and into the bush. Like the lady she is she never complains and just gets back up and continues on. Unlike Kkkken she doesn’t teach through tough love, instead using all of her ample travel, she will absorb the punishment associated with bad line choice, and prefers to do her teaching through smooth repetition.

Rayleen has no upgrades, a real lady doesn’t need them, but instead does the best with what she’s got and always looks amazingly hot. For the weight weenies: A lady doesn’t discuss her weight, lets just say around 12kg and still fits an M sizing!

No for the more serious riding stuff……

Adz: Tell us about your first crack at the Otway Odyssey?

Fav: Thanks to our good friend, Eliza Jenkins (exercise physiologist, massage therapist, and all round inspirational sportswoman) I had returned to mountain biking at the ripe old age of 42.

We had been riding regularly for about 3 months, with a great group of riding buddies, and decided we should enter a race together. We discussed doing the 50 and although we thought it would be a struggle, thought we’d have a crack. Anyway by the time we went to enter the 50 was sold out! Still room in the 100km though!

I don’t know how she does it, but, Eliza has a way of making you believe that you can do anything. In fact she tells us “that you can do anything you train for”, she’s proved it, and I believe her. So with much trepidation Eliza and I made a pact to enter the 100km and ride together. Hell, we had already notched up nearly 30km once before, how hard could it be? So Eliza worked us out a program that would get us up to the 100km mark with lots of emphasis on nutrition, and we got to practicing eating! This was sounding good to me!!!!

The training leading up was so much fun. It gave us reason to head off with our mates. The whole family would join us for rides at Forrest or Anglesea, and the experience was awesome. The support from my family was amazing and I couldn’t have even have gotten to the starting line without them.

The Race itself was a bit of a shock to say the least! Eliza and I went out really slowly, last to start and cruised our way up the first climb. “This is easier than our Tuesday Night social Ride” I proclaimed.

There had been heaps of rain and once we left the bitumen everything changed. I had never seen so much mud. Hills and Mud, pretty much sums up the day! So much mud that we spent more time scraping our wheels clean with sticks or carrying our bikes than riding. I remember standing on a massive hill in the middle of nowhere thinking we’re screwed! It had taken us about an hour to get maybe 500-meters. Luckily we were not alone and shared stories with others in the same boat, we were all still laughing, even if only nervously.

Somehow we ended up being sent down the wrong trail “dry weather route” only to be told by an official at the river crossing that we should have missed that section. Again we laughed, threw our bikes in the river to wash off all the mud and continued on. For a while we got a little despondent but we were never going to give up.

Once we hit the single track in Forrest we were energised again. We even got told off by another competitor for having too much fun and saying “wheee” on the trails.

My wife Kel, was doing support for us and was patiently sitting on our esky in Forrest with home cooked lasagne for our arrival. Patiently she waited, friends saying, “you must have missed them”. “No way” she said, “no way I missed them, haven’t moved and I’ve got their food!” Eventually we arrived, hours behind schedule and just beating the official cut-off time. This continued for the rest of the race. We scooted around the single track, hooting and hollering, having a blast at our less than warp speed pace, to just beat the cut-off and head out to the next section.

We were tired but in good spirits, meeting some great people as we rode, and getting closer to the finish with each carry of the bike or pedal stroke. The problem with being at the back of the field in these conditions is that the track has been chopped up by everyone in front of you. So sections that may have been rideable hours earlier were now impassable. This was especially the case with the dreaded “Sledgehammer”.

For those that don’t know the sledgehammer is a ridiculous climb to put at the end of a 100km race. Whoever is responsible is a very sick person indeed! After this much rain and traffic it was nearly our undoing. There is a point half way up the sledgehammer that I clearly remember. It is the only point in the ride where I thought we would not finish! Traction was zero, neither Eliza nor I could get over the next little pinch with our bikes, and the conditions were making it close to impossible for us to even help each other. We dug deep, pushed on and made it up that bloody hill! From then on it was easy, relatively speaking.

I remember when we were heading down the final dirt road towards the oval and finish line seeing race organiser, John Jacoby give us a big grin and thumbs up out of his 4wd. Then as we entered the finish area on the nearly deserted oval I remember how proud I felt of our effort. It had only taken us 10hrs and 49 minutes but we had made it! So what if they had taken down the timing clock, packed up the showers, toilets and food. A few hearty supporters were waiting anxiously for their loved ones, exhausted from a long, looooong day of supporting their crew (my lovely Kel included). We had completed a 100km mountain bike ride, we were real mountain bikers now! I reckon we had earnt a beer at the brewery!

I was so lucky during this time to be introduced to so many wonderful people who were encouraging and generous with their time and knowledge. Many of whom I now count among my closest friends. The support from Kel and the girls was amazing! I could not have done it without them! Thank you so much!

Adz: Now you have decided to have a crack at the Scott 24hr?

Fav: Yes, Something I said I’d never do!

Adz: Why?

Fav: Good Question! One I regularly ask myself. A solo 24 is something I NEVER thought I would even consider doing, let alone sign up for and be eager to start! This transition from a “no way” position to “actually entering” is a somewhat fluid process. I’m still trying to work out how such a vile idea has taken root in my mind.

Initially when introduced to people (now friends) who had completed solo 24hrs I tended to take a wide birth. If not physically, at least mentally! I thought these people were all crazy freaks! Not in a good way either! They made me cringe and feel physically ill. There was no way I would ever even consider doing that! Such ideas are dangerous, and these freaks were not to associate with my children!

My perspective may have changed, but the idea of riding 24 solo still sounds crazy to me! My personal reasons “why” have evolved since I first seriously decided that this is something I wanted to do: Initially it was about peer group pressure and the challenge, doing something outside my comfort zone. Way, way outside my comfort zone!and ultimate bragging rights!

This challenge is still at the core of my solo 24hr ride. However over the course of my training rides I’ve been able to think a lot and refine this somewhat. The bragging rights seem less important, but the challenges have taken on a little more significance.

As a parent: it is about putting into action that which we request of our children: Move outside your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to just have a go, try new things, “you can do anything you train for,” in short, you only get out of life what you put in! Don’t be scared of failure, its all about having a go and learning from your mistakes! I have said these things many times, but have my kids ever seen me do it?

As a husband: its about respecting the support and encouragement I’ve been given to follow my dream, however crazy, and using that support as my driving force. I appreciate the time and sacrifice from my whole family. This is something I was blissfully unaware of when I first “signed up”. I still thought that a 24hr solo was an individual event. In fact it seems to be anything but solo! If you can’t turn that into a reason to do your best you’re a knob! At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Personally: it is about testing myself, both physically and mentally! For me it is purely personal. I am not competing against anyone else on the course, but I am fiercely competitive! I have no interest in my overall placing, times, laps or any other tangible measure of performance. I will however be my harshest judge and will not tolerate anything but my best on the day!

I expect to finish!, I expect it will hurt, I expect to want to quit, I expect to keep riding, I expect to never want to ride again, but I expect to be in control and for this 24 hours to pass like any other does, It’s just going to feel longer.

I can’t wait for that feeling to have done something that I know can’t be done.

It is amazing how many things “we know to be true” turn out to be wrong when we actually test them. As I’ve already said I’ve been blessed to have an amazing group of inspirational friends to train with. Many are everyday people like myself, others are elite athletes. The one thing they all have in common is a love of life. If you hang around with these type of people long enough you start to believe that these crazy things are possible. The hardest thing is to line up at the start and trust you’ve done enough.

Adz: Whose in your support corner and why did you choose them?

Fav: I am honoured by everyone who has offered their assistance with support. For me this is an unknown event, I am lucky to have access to some very experienced riders/pit crew, and am really blessed by offers of support, all of which I expect to take advantage of at some point in the race.

My gorgeous wife Kel will be head of support and my daughters Alex and Georgie have also offered their generous support. This 24hr is anything but solo, and there is no-one I would rather share this journey with than Kel and the girls.

Kel can dish out the tough love, and hopefully vegemite sanga’s, when required. She knows what I need to keep me going and how my weak man mind works, so I know I’m in good hands when I really pack up.

If all goes to plan Kel will be supported by a myriad of more experienced pit crew, including our fave interviewer, Adz and his girl Ky who will provide much appreciated 24hr experience.

Thank You so much Guys…. in case I can’t speak after the race, or worse still, forget my manners.

Adz: Do you know to do a 24hr you have to ride your bike for 24hrs?

Fav: You talking crazy shit here Adz! Funny thing is, I checked it out, can sleep for 23 hours and ride for 1 hour if I want! Easiest race I ever heard of.

Adz: What’s the longest ride you have done so far?

Fav: So far the longest training ride (in hours) has been 8hrs on the single speed. Rode for 8:20, peddled for 8. Did this one solo without any music, etc. Good opportunity to get the nutrition down. Felt pretty good when I finished, said to myself only gotta do that another two times. Somehow I didn’t find that comforting?

Adz: You put together a pretty comprehensive training plan…tell us about it?

Fav: I have a tendency to really “focus” on events. Some may say obsess, fixate etc, but I prefer the more positive term “focus”.

Having got that off my chest, the main purpose of my program was to stop me getting carried away and overtraining. This was doubly important given that the 24hour was so far outside my comfort zone and I have been at least a little fearful, or at times terrified. If I had not had a training plan there is NO Doubt I would now be injured from overtraining… if through fear alone!

I was lucky to come into my training with a good fitness base and have been able to build from there following my program. Basically I have set a program in 4 weeks blocks, that has come from an emphasis on strength (hills: 1st block) to endurance . Each 4 week block builds based on time and has a rest/recovery week built in on the 5th week. The rest week still gets me out training but nowhere near the same intensity. This is where you make the gains, where your body has a chance to recover and you come back fresh ready to start the hard work again.

Each training block encompasses smaller cycles including strength, sprints, and endurance workouts. I have worked purely on building training time over each block, regardless of type of training, as I am training for a time specific event. IE: no matter how fast or hard I ride the  24hour will take at least 24hours! Nothing you can do about that! So maybe best if we concentrate on increasing our performance over a 24 hour period! So far it seems to be working really well for me.

Again I need to acknowledge the input from my friends. I have been extremely lucky to have several experienced 24hr riders, multisport athletes and exercise physiologists give me input, and direction, toward my program.

Without seeing the race day result and if my program has worked, I would still recommend having a general program to follow when considering any event for which you are concerned about your results or ability to perform.

Adz: So in the lead up you’ve done some racing…how did Blores Hill go?

Fav: Blores Hill is one of my most favorite places to ride. I was lucky enough to ride it with Adz, family and friends last Christmas. The trails are awesome! We loved it so much we said there was no way we were going to miss this year’s race! Boys weekend, Adz, Noah, and I. Ready to race and more than a little excited!

Race day was awesome, trails were looking good and I was more than ready to get out there and race. Sometimes they say that you learn more from your mistakes….. well this was one of those days!

I was so unorganised it wasn’t funny! Friday: Bike still on racks, Adz Says “your forks look bent”. Basically told him he was an idiot, my forks are fine! Friday night familiarisation ride, trails in pristine condition, I get puncture/no brakes. Spoke to race mechanic no brake pads, bring some tomorrow! Cool will fit brakes before race.

Race day, no sign of mechanic, no brakes…. panic stations…. miss start by 10minutes…. (lap 1) weave through traffic… meet heaps of friendly peeps chatting as I pass… lap 2, traffic clears…. able to hit Trigg point rock garden full on this time…. forks buckle…. steering gets sketchy …. keep riding… try to turn but front wheel hits foot cause the forks are so bent…. hit tree…. forks are really stuffed now…. maybe Adz was right… maybe my forks were bent?

What an idiot! Maybe I should have listened? Best Race ever!!!!! I learnt more from my disaster at Blores Hill than I could in years of successful racing! I got so much wrong it wasn’t funny, or was actually. Bike, spares, plan?????

It wasn’t all bad though. I was lucky enough to sit and watch the well oiled race machine that is the Jess/Norm Douglas pit area. I reckon that I learnt more about racing, serious racing, from observing these guys at that one event than all the fun mountain bike events I’ve ever been to.

I left happy, not because I’d done well, not because it was an awesome event with the best trophies I’ve ever seen (and I’m not usually interested in trophies) or the amazing trails, or the great people we met, or shared a pub meal with, or the fact that I won a repair stand  or any of the other fun road trippy thingys! But because I had learnt so much about the race environment! I left thinking racing 101… Fav just failed! But next time things are gonna be different!

Adz: By how many meters has the circumference of your quads increased since you started training?

Fav: I had hoped you would not bring this up Adz, I’m a little bit self conscious you know! I think I may be having some sort of allergic reaction. My girls are calling me frog legs.

Adz: After years of defiance you’ve started wearing Lycra?

Fav: Seems I should never say “never” again! “I’m never going to wear lycra” (LIES), “I’m never going to enter a 24″ (LIES). Maybe that’s what happens when you start to wear the lycra? Maybe the lycra is causing an allergic reaction on my quads?

Adz: What’s your race plan?

Fav: We are entering the unknown here mate: I have it from excellent sources (Adz, Roscoe, Coutney, Al.), in fact everyone I’ve spoken to whose already completed a solo 24, that I shouldn’t go out too hard! Soooooo my plan is to not go out too hard.

Realistically I plan to pace myself for as long as I can. If, by chance I’m feeling ok and still moving forward in the last few hours I’ll consider racing. Well pedalling faster anyway.

Some of the best advice I’ve had on this comes from you Adz. I liked your idea of having a few plans or outcomes you’d be happy with.

1. Dream Race, 2. Good Race, 3. Worst case.

I figure I’ve still got a bit of time, (7 weeks as I write, but whose counting?), to sort these things in my head. Lets face it I’ve got plenty of time to think about everything with all this riding.

Adz: What’s your nutrition plan?

Fav: I’ve been working on eating and drinking on the longer rides. So far it all seems pretty good but at 8 hours I’m only 1/3rd of the way through. I have practiced all of my foods, from gels to bars and vegemite sanga’s and think I know what my body can cope with. I’m pretty confident at this point, been using a clock to time my intake, but a bit nervous over the extended 24 hour period.

Again I’ve been lucky to have had advice from those who have already been there. General consensus seems to be to have a selection on hand as even your best plan can go out the window on race day. I do like the idea of having special treats at certain times, such as pizza, to help keep you motivated..

Adz: Any fears?

Fav: Heaps! Scared of: Not finishing, cramping, mechanicals, crashing, injury, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, becoming a tired angry knob… being rude to my support…saying things I will regret…. The list goes on! I actually dreamt I forgot to put my pants on, so I’ve added that to my fear list now.

Adz: Has training with Adventure racing freaks like Deanna Blegg, Darren Clarke, Peri Grey & Luke Haines taught you anything?

Fav: These guys are amazing! I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to train with these guys, even if only occasionally! Each and every one have been exceptionally generous with their time and knowledge. They may not even realise this but for an average athlete to have the opportunity to train with the elite is amazing. The smallest tips regarding training, gear and nutrition may seem trivial to them but it has given me an insight into things I may never have learnt.

Each of these athletes are inspirational by their achievements. I can not believe the generosity, encouragement, and knowlege that has been shared by this group to some old bastard on a bike! My sincere thanks goes out to you all.

Adz: At the end of 24hrs what outcomes will make you happy with your efforts?

Fav: This is my first 24hour event, maybe my last, and I will be happy: To complete it on Kkkken, my fully rigid single speed, to Finish, to Finish without sleeping, to Finish with x hours sleep, most important: To Finish and thank my support crew!

Adz: Anyone you would like to thank?

Fav: I really don’t want to miss anyone here. If I’ve had the pleasure to ride with you or talk 24hour in the recent months then I am truly thankful. So many have been so encouraging that I have been really shocked. The generosity of knowledge has been overwhelming and I have appreciated every bit. If I have missed anyone I am sorry. I know as soon as I send this off a flood of names will come to mind and I’ll be extremely embarrassed. You guys know who you are! Thanks so much for your support.

Kel and the Girls – I could not even consider doing it without you guys! You are my Rock!

Adz and Roscoe for convincing me that 24′s are “eeeasy” LIARS!!!! and sharing your 24 hour knowledge.

Thursday Night Social Crew. Thanks Dan & everyone who has kept night riding fun! Sunday Night Crew - Fostering a love of life and all things fancy dress! Noah, Wal, Nate, Andre – For keeping the Youie’s real.

Eliza – remedial massage and sports psychology. Thanks for opening my eyes and making me believe “you can do anything you train for”

Thanks to the amazing repair efforts of Bronwyn Molloy the osteo and Ben Bissett physio -who fix me up and get me going again.

Pez – Inspiration, heart, and determination. Luke and Deanna – for your generosity and encouragement.

Kimmy, Lyndon and Linda – for putting up with me and Rusty on the road. Courtney and Al – for your inspiration and encouraging words. Noenster – Inspiration. Alby – “persistance beats resitance”

MTB Skills – Norm, Jess, Liz and Sandy – for letting me tag along on so many rides since I started riding. Lorenzo – TCF – For hooking me up with such awesome bikes.

Adz: Thoughts from Kelly Favaloro (Favs Wife 24 hr from the pit crew’s perspective – aka wife.

Kel: Fav is a man of complete and total extremes – nothing is ever done by halves, there is no moderation – it’s a word that isn’t part of his vocabulary. Its all or nothing – either a sloth or training full tilt – no going for a jog to keep fit or a nice social ride every now and then. Once a sport grabs his eye its full on – he got the taste for mountain biking a bit over 18 months ago. He entered the 100km odyssey after only riding for about 4 weeks, riding a maximum distance of about 30km and falling off the bike at least 4 times per km. It is all consuming to Fav and it doesn’t just stop at training- we also have the research phase – he has researched every component of the single speed he lovingly calls Ken. He has spent weeks researching new wheels, tyres, brakes, stems, cogs, chains, gels, nutrition, clothes and shoes – he has weighed each and every piece and proudly proclaimed with all the new bits his bike is now 2 kg lighter. His biggest weight modification has been to ride about 10 kg off his already fit body – It is amazing that at 45 the body still has the ability to adapt to suit the chosen sport. The best bit about being with the same person for 21 years is getting to share the journey – I am really proud of how when Fav sets a goal he attacks it with such determination – there have been nights over the last couple of months of training for the 24hr when he has disappeared into the wet and freezing cold by himself to get the hours up – some nights I feel sick hoping he is ok – when its bucketing rain and the wind is howling – I have to stop myself worrying about all the things that probably (hopefully) won’t happen – I have only had to rescue him once at about 9pm when he had a flat and the gas canisters didn’t work – lucky I know Hurst Rd trails well.

I would be lying if I haven’t had the odd day when I’ve been over the training- I enjoy spending time with Fav and some weekends when he has spent all day, both days training I miss him not being around. He then returns exhausted, splattered from head to toe in mud and with a plummeting blood sugar – all this equals a very cranky man!! I have got better at pouring an enormous glass of Endura optimiser down his throat as soon as he steps in the door to keep the crankiness at bay. Usually after a feed and a sleep on the couch he comes good. Fav has always supported my goals and me his. I figure we only get one life and one body -you may as well dream big, train hard and kick some arse -you will have more regrets about the things you never had the guts to do than the things you did! I think Fav’s amazing but I’m biased! I can’t wait to watch him ride the 24 hours, it won’t be easy for him but I have no doubt he will do himself proud. I hope he achieves what he wants from the race – I will be proud to see him get to the start line as he has worked so hard- anything else is a bonus!!

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Chelsea Leissner: Surfcoast Century 100km

Controversy erupted on both ABC radio and various social media outlets when it emerged that nine school girls from Clonard College in Geelong were entered and set to undertake the 100km Surfcoast Century Trail run.  

At rossburrage.com we thought it would be great to give the girls an opportunity to share their experience of their first Ultra Marathon.  Clonard Student and Surfcoast 100 participant Chelsea Leissner kindly agreed to do a write up for us.

Tonga

Really it all started with Fit4Action. Fit4Action is a class offered at our school. The aim of the class is to experience the training lifestyle of an athlete for one semester. Our teacher and mentor Mr. Michael Tong (more fondly known as Tonga) taught our class. It was a well-known class for its hard training routines and intense workouts. What it wasn’t more well-known for but certainly equally important was that it taught us mental strength. Tonga often, nearly every class, would have the famous line of “Your mind will give up before your body does”.   We would joke at the time of the relevance of this because we would all be feeling the burning in our calves and the aches in our joints. I guess it’s not something you truly learn until you put it to the test, and that test for us was The Ton. The ultimate challenge in endurance, self-belief, mental strength, persistence and group work, everything Fit4Action (and furthermore Tonga) stood for and taught us.

The Ton was the end of semester challenge for the class to do, and each year gets better than the last. The stories told from previous classes of the Ton are always been filled with the different hard grueling challenges and drills, and probably a little stretch of the truth here and there. But they always finish with the same line or effect. All have always said how worth it, it all was and recommended it as a class to do.

So the Ton designed for this year was a 100km walk spread out over 24hrs. When it was first brought to us the excitement and nerves were all that we were thinking, and that we would be finishing off our semester of hard training and dedication with a bang. What we were not thinking or expecting was that our challenge would start way before the Ton even began.

Unfortunately sometimes we are limited in life by things out of our control and it just happened that that had occurred for us. Controversy had sparked over whether or not it was a safe idea to be letting mid-teens participate in events or challenges like the Ton we had planned. So our Ton was cancelled.

However in a true determined style, we didn’t let that get in our way. For every problem, there is a solution. And that’s where we stumbled across the Surf Coast Century. The glimmer of hope that we could still complete what we set out to do. It almost seemed too good to be true. An event already organized and available for us to do that met our original plan. Challenge 1 complete, finding our challenge. Challenge 2, dealing with the debate of letting us do it.

Little did we know how much public attention we would spark over us looking to enter the event. We had both good and bad comments about it and mixed ideas on us participating. We had people fully behind us and fully against. And so this next step of our challenge was to be calm and collected about the disputes around us. When it came down to it though we had Tonga, our parents, family and friends who all believed in us and knew we could finish our 100km. And so we went with that.

Our training in the lead up was very purposeful and dedicated. We trained 4-5 times a week, fitting it in during lunch breaks, after hours and weekends. Our focus was set and we knew what we had to do. We trained together when possible and organized meetings to see how everyone was going both with training, eating and with any positive or negative comments. Our aim though was to stay positive, concentrate on all the optimistic and confident feedbacks we were getting and to keep our eyes on the run ahead.

A week to the race and the emotions for each of us would rotate, sometimes we would feel confident and excited, other times we would be nervous as hell and worrying. All natural when you consider the significance of the race but we knew that rollercoaster feelings wouldn’t help us. We had to stay focused on Saturday 22nd and preparing for that. Keeping as calm and level-headed as possible. We started to carb load and organize final details like race bags and nutrition, count down the days.

The Friday night before the race we all stayed down at the Anglesea YMCA together, keeping each other confident and calm. We attended the race meeting and registered, got our numbers and tops, and filled up on pasta and risotto. Then slept as best as we could. It was then an early 5.30 wake up and we started to mentally prepare that we were actually doing this. Challenge number 3 and final, completing our Ton.

During the event I guess we all went through different stages of emotions, from feeling positive and confident to doubtful and teary, we all had our moments. I can only speak for myself when I say I stayed very confident and positive for thefirst 80km. Adrenaline and excitement dulled the aches and pains that I was feeling and kept me focused on what we were doing. We had our pains and fatigue but we fought through it. The group as a whole though supported each other in different ways; music, jokes, encouraging words and inspirational quotes.  Just being around each other and drawing on each other’s strength, we stayed determined and motivated.

Finished now and a week of reflection and recovery later and you can start to feel the significance of what we accomplished. We achieved what we had set out to do and the satisfaction is profound. This enormous lead up involving training, debating, carb loading, packing and every other little detail, has all been worth it. We can all walk away thinking and believing that we can do anything when we set our minds to it. Our challenge to test both our mental and physical strength has enlightened us and proves that our minds don’t necessarily give up before our bodies do.

We all accomplished what we set out to do whether we all finished or not. We went to the edge of our comfort zone, physically and mentally, and pushed ourselves that one step further. The bar for our ability has been raised; we know what we can do. This entire experience has challenged us in ways we weren’t entirely expecting, we have learned more about ourselves and our group and the dynamics of attempting to do something big. And we can walk away saying, “We completed our Ton”.

One behalf of the group (Taylor, Emma, Janita, Courtney, Taylah, Laura, Megan, Rosie and Myself) I would like to add a huge thank-you to everyone that continuously supported us and believed that we could do it, and to those who had your doubts we would still like to say thank you for having our best interests at heart. To Rapid Ascent, for still allowing us to compete and enter your event and for supporting us before, during and after the event, thank-you, we couldn’t have done it without you. Our parents, who at times were probably stressed out and anxious about our endeavors, thank-you for being there when you could and standing by our decision to do our 100km.

Last, but certainly no least, we would like to thank Tonga, the driving force and motivation behind all of us. The one man army that persisted through all the challenges, both the ones we saw and the underlying ones. Thank-you for all the wisdom and lessons you have passed onto us and never giving up on the Ton.

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