Sunday, 15 January 2017

Racing The Munga 2016 - All Done

Once I had made sure I was good for 3rd place I had dropped out of race mode. In doing so I had also lost my race routine. My usual morning routine includes switching my dynohub charger over from running my light to charging a power bank. When hooking up the flat power bank that had been powering my GPS through the night I would connect a fresh power bank to the GPS to keep it going through the day. Having forgotten to switch the batteries I was now sitting on the wrong side of Wellington with no idea of which way to go.

I swapped the cables around and rode ahead slowly while waiting for the GPS to power up. When it came on and I selected the route it was confused, it had me many miles away. I gave it a few minutes to figure out where I was. Thankfully it got back up to speed just before the first critical turn. From there on it got me to the finish without any further drama.

After traveling 1086 km with just 3 hours sleep I crossed the finish line where family and friends gave me a heroes welcome. I certainly wasn't a hero but they made me feel like one. Alex draped the number 3 medal around my neck and that was that. The race was over.

It had been an incredibly satisfying race. I had set out to finish 10 hours faster than the 85 hours it had taken me in 2015, and here I was at the finish line just inside of 73 hours. I had exceeded my own expectations and I suspect the expectations of a lot of other people who were following the race.

That I had finished 3rd overall and second in the men's race was of less importance. Those statistics are a blunt instrument with which to dissect ones achievement.

People say that even entering a race like The Munga makes you a champion. That's not true. What makes you a champion is starting a race like The Munga and taking yourself to your limit and then a little bit beyond. That being the case, I have to say I was followed to the finish line by a few dozen champions and even a few champions that didn't even make it to the finish. I would count myself least among all The Munga champions.

There were riders who finished in front of and behind me whose personal achievements eclipsed mine. They suffered more and dug deeper. I am a seasoned endurance rider and knew what to expect from the race. Sure, day one was a shocker but there are always days that push you to your limits. The trick is to know how to survive those tough times. I've survived a good number of days that I would never like to repeat and I suspect there will be many tough days ahead in future events.

To all those riders who came away from The Munga with a sense that they had exceeded their own goals and expectations I salute you and extend my deepest respect and congratulations.


Brad Roets said...

Mr Wooly!

I have so enjoyed each installment about this Monster that is The Munga. Thank you for taking he time to put it into words. In the few hours we spent together on the DurbanDash, I learned to respect the power of the mind over the body. Your mind is strong. The quiet night is indeed your fast place. I hope we ride again soon...

Aileen said...

Love love love Mike. You are as mad as a hatter and I really admire you!

Ray Sephton said...

Great reading Mike. You always blow me away with your achievements. A true inspiration to all the "ordinary cyclists"