Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Terra Australia Build Up: The Real Prep Begins

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When your pet event is a 24-Hour Solo Mountain Bike Race, you would think that most other races would look pretty straightforward. Not so.

The Terra Australis holds a lot of unknowns for Team Giant (Brad Davies and Jess Douglas) – not least of which is the fact that we have to back up day after day. Our normal approach to a major race is to build slowly for months and then expend every last drop of energy in a single day. Then we recover, and recover, and recover. But the Terra Australis is different. In this race we will not have the benefit of a long recovery. We will race, eat, rest, then race again. Seven days in a row. The big `if’ for us is whether our bodies will adjust to the demands of stage racing. If they do, our endurance should see us through. If our bodies don’t cooperate – or even worse if one of our bodies doesn’t cooperate – then it’s going to be a very tough week.

The stage racing component aside, Terra Australis throws a few other challenges at its competitors that are reasonably unique to this format:

  1. Pairs racing. The rule at Terra Australis is that teammates cannot be separated by more than 2 minutes at any point in the race. That means working together in a number of ways: motivating each other, the stronger rider taking the wind and generally helping each other get to the finish as quickly as possible. Neither of us have raced as a pair and even though we are close friends the potential for emotional outbursts is ever-present.
  2. Self-supported racing. As 24-hour racers we have come to rely on our pit crews to help us deal with major mechanical, motivation or hydration/nutrition issues. The Terra Australis is strictly self-supported and the mechanical side of the race in particular holds some fear for both of us. A little cramming will be required in coming weeks to learn how to fit deraillieur hangers, cables, etc.
  3. Lack of routine. The travelling circus that is Terra Australis demands major adjustments in routines. We don’t sleep in the same bed night after night, and aren’t necessarily in control of all our food intake (the race is catered). For creatures of habit like us this could be a challenge – although the finish at the Beechworth Brewery is a change in routine we are happy to embrace!

The next four weeks will be focused entirely on putting in a good performance at the Terra Australis. We will be independently training our minds, bodies (and mechanical skills) to ensure we hit the start line absolutely ready! The next few weeks we will be independently seeking a bit of adventure. Brad will hit the trails of Rotorua for five days or training to simulate the back to back nature of the Terra, and Jess will be spending time adjusting to the high country with training and racing in Bright and Mt Buller. The focus physically at the moment is on endurance, naturally, and simulating the back-to-back nature of the race. That means some heavy weekends of training and plenty of core work to improve our resilience.

We both can’t wait for our first start in the Terra Australis – a race we have both wanted to do but never thought we would get the chance. Hopefully we can repay Giant with a good showing but as those that know us will testify, we won’t leave anything out there…

By Brad and Jess

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  1. Brett says:

    tipsy@thomas.foreami” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks!!…