There are epic rides and there are epic rides. At this year's, Falls Creek edition, of the 3 Peaks Challenge, a couple of Hotmixers managed to pull off a successful coup, staying upright, by-passing all medical personnel (and space blankets), keeping their lunches down, all with a carefully paced ride.
Haven't heard about the 3 Peaks Challenge? Hell, it's no mean feat. At a modest 235km, with over 4,000m of climbing, all neatly packaged within a 13 hour deadline, it makes for a helluva day out on the bike.
Have a read of Nerissa's tale of woe and triumph below.
How long have you been riding Nerissa?
I've been riding off-and-on for about 15 years but I went at it with great gusto just in the last 18 months. It felt good riding again as I'd found a great group of people to ride with... so that made it easier.
What made you decide to tackle a challenge as big as the 3 Peaks?
My husband was preparing to do the Challenge (again) and casually said, “You should do it”. After thinking about it for a while I came to the conclusion that I’d give it a go... so six months out I signed up and the rest is history.
What had you done to prepare for it?
I had a detailed training programme that kept me focused. I worked my way from only 100 kms a week, up to and over 300 kms, just prior to the ride. The programme involved all sorts of terrain, but mostly hilly surrounds, and I tried at least once a month to travel to the Vic Alps and ride the course... albeit in chunks.
I found that by riding the course prior to the big day that I was mentally prepared for what was to come. This made the day mentally easier for me as I knew what was coming up and I could pace myself accordingly.
Who else did you ride with? Friends? Family?
Nobody, I did find myself chatting to people along the way though which was a pleasant distraction.
Were there times during the ride that the mental challenge was greater than the physical? What or when were they?
More so mentally I think. I knew through my training that I was able to make the distance but it was the fact that I knew the 13 hour cut-off time was looming that played on my mind.
So, I broke the ride down into chunks and just ploughed on. I didn’t want to be picked up by the sag wagon, that's for sure. I managed to make the finial segment cut-off time by 5 minutes. As a result I rode the last section pretty well by myself, and in the dark. There was lots of talking to myself, "Don’t worry, it's ok, you’ll get there"... and I did!
The look on my husbands face as I crossed the line made the whole thing even more worthwhile.
Was the ride what you expected?
Everything and more, it was a brilliantly run event and the support given along the way was great.
How did you feel you went overall?
As the cut off time was 13 hours and the fact I made it to the end, I think I went pretty well. Not super fast, but I finished.
What would you say to fellow women cyclists contemplating a challenge such as this?
Get out and give it a go. Have a crack. That's more important than whether you finish or not. You're not at home on the couch if you're out having a go.
You’re an inspiration! Thanks for your time.