Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Munga Ahoy!

What is The Munga?
Don't wish to bore you so go to the website www.themunga.com and read all about it. Alex Harris, visionary and race founder eloquently describes the race and the related challenges. If you are too lazy to read through all that I summarise; Stupid race (1000+km unsupported non-stop) at a stupid time (mid summer) through stupid terrain (the Karoo which is a desert) which will appeal to stupid people (like me).

There are two maxim's I refer to often in the running of my business.
The first is "Disappoint your customer as soon as possible."
The second, "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly."
Both run counter to popular business culture. But If you take a few minutes to ponder the deeper meaning of both will see that they are in fact quite pithy.

However, as I turn to final preparation for The Munga, I am not about to embrace the inherent wisdom of the second maxim. Rather than arrive at the start line with an attitude of 'get on with it and sort out the challenges as they surface' I intend to draw on 8 years of ultra endurance cycling experience to make sure I have the best possible chance of getting from A-Z with the least amount of drama.

I have a good number of multi-day stage races, such as Epic and JoBerg2c under my belt as do a number of other competitors but I know that races of that nature do not prepare you for something like The Munga. It is a bit like comparing table tennis with lawn tennis. There's a net, a ball and something to hit the ball with, but the skills are not portable except that you have demonstrated good hand-eye coordination which is an essential skill for both. So you have done an Epic. You have shown that you can ride a bike, and you think you know what it means to suffer. In reality, you've merely got the basic skills. You have arrived at the start of the endurance game. Welcome. Place your token on the start square and roll the dice...

What will The Munga be like? Similar to Freedom Challenge and Tour Divide I would think. I haven't done Tour Divide so
my Freedom Challenge experiences inform my choice of strategy and equipment. With a big BUT. Freedom events take place in the cooler months. Munga is middle of summer through the middle of a desert. I always suffer on day one out of Pietermaritzburg when the temperatures in the Umkomaas valley soar to 30 Celsius. Okay, it is the middle of winter so 30 feels hot. Recently I rode the Durban Dash from Durban to Johannesburg. It was unbearably hot - mid to upper 30's. I won't lie, the heat was horrible. At the end I questioned whether The Munga was a good idea bearing in mind that the temperatures through the Karoo in December are likely to be in the early to mid 40's.

Next up I will discuss the challenges of riding in the heat...

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