Not many people would be attracted to a race like the Munga. What drew you to the race in the first place?
The Munga is one of those "Why would you do that?" races. It is hard to start, let alone finish, and is something no one can really be sure of finishing. I like events like that. On top of that there was the chance to ride my bike for three days seeing our country in the best possible way. I think that is a pretty cool thing to do.
What was your weapon of choice: hardtail, dual suspension or gravel bike, and do you think it was the right call?
I rode a Specialized S-Works Epic 29 WC. For me that was the perfect choice. I chose wider 2.3 tyres which softened the really rough terrain nicely and had no body-failures, such as a sore back. The only change I would make would be to ride with TT bars for the flats, those seem to make a big difference.
What sort of training (physically and mentally) do you do for a race of this kind?
I do 16-18hrs a week pretty consistently year round so I didn’t adjust my volume much, other than tapering into the ride. I did do a lot of long efforts in preparation though: 20-60min intervals. I wanted that real endurance strength and that is what works for me when I want to get that.
What was the hardest part of the race for you and how did you deal with it?
The race was 80% mental, that was definitely the hardest part. Not knowing the route, being alone for 700 kilometres of the ride, dealing with the heat and the fatigue were all really mental challenges. Whenever it got really tough I had to fight my mind to become positive again, as soon as that happened I would become strong. I dealt with that using consistent positive self reinforcement, reminding myself that I have always achieved the challenges that I have set myself and that there was nothing to stop me doing the same this time, other than my mind.
What was your favourite aspect of The Munga?
The best part was being alone in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere with every star in the sky visible and nothing but the noise of my tyres and breathing for company. I have never felt as at peace as right then.
Will you be back anytime soon?
Yes, no doubt in my mind. I loved it and can’t wait to go back. The challenge will be different the second time around I am sure, but no less special. I love this race deeply.