By the time I pick up my mountain bike, my mind and body have separated.
My body is a shell; a hollow, useless husk. Yet my mind is aflame.
For the first time since I signed up for the Enduro Adventurethon, I believe I can complete it.
A seemingly impossible 13km of sea kayaking are behind me. All that remains is to cover 22km of mountain biking and 12km of running. I can do this.
Never mind that I have never cycled up a mountain or in the Australian bush, I can do this.
Never mind that I have only run 12km twice in my entire life and never after a whole day of racing. I can do this.
Never mind that the the temperature has hit 30 degrees and I am dressed head to toe in black, I can do this.
Never mind that I am now cycling along a beach and slowly grinding to a halt, as my wheels sink into the sand. I can…do this?
Despite all my new-found self confidence, the next 2.5 hours steadily turn into a living Hell. I have been so distracted by learning (and failing) to sea kayak that I have forgotten to learn to mountain bike.
Oh sure, I can cycle it along the road – anybody can do that! But this isn’t a road, this is a beach…and I am sinking. After the beach, I cover a small bit of road… then plunge into the Australian bush.
It is hopeless. Time and time again I mount the bike and, time and time again, I am thrown from it by my sheer incompetence. The look of sheer terror on the face of this old man, spectating, says it all. As does this course marshall, running towards me and pleading for me to push the bike down the mountain.
And I bleeding? No? Then why all the worry?
Back on the bike. 10 metres later, the ground disappears. Hit the brakes – head over heels. Anything broken? No? Back on the bike.
This is getting silly. I am going to break something…or everything!
There is only one thing for it. I shall have to turn to my one strength. The one element of my fitness I managed to develop before the race…
I’ll carry this bastard.
If only I hadn’t forgotten to refill my water after the kayaking.
The hours pass. Occassionally, I drop to me knees in the Australian sun and beat my fists against the rocks.
Why am I wearing all black? Why am I carrying a mountain bike up a hill? Why didn’t I learn to do this before trying to cover 22km?
People watch in confusion. They don’t understand. I don’t really understand. Nobody understands! Chaos has descended and it is up to us all to do what we must.
I will do this. If I have to carry this bike across the line, which I very well may have to, I will do this.
Oh by the Gods. By this point, the pain is almost unbearable. I would weep, but I don’t think there is enough water left in my body for tears. Instead, I swear. I have a limitless store of fury.
I am coming. Send rum!
FOR THE GUILD!