October 24th, 2009 at 3:13 pm (Home)
At the Dusit Thani and met with several other competitors. What a bunch of chamnpions. Looking at the competitor profiles, everyone seems to fall into one of three categories. There are the high achievers in business and career, with managing partners, CFO’s, venture capitalists and company directors making a presence. Then there are high achievers in the sporting arena, with past race winners, seven summiters, adventurers, Ironman triathletes and ultra endurance racers making an impact. And there are the high achievers in life: a 73-year old Badwater veteran and a blind man among the list of notable individuals.
There is an air of respect and mutual support that everyone holds here. I do suppose endurance racing is such a niche sport, and it is a sport where everyone goes through pain and suffering. Voluntarily. Which means we all have fast track entry into an asylum. But it is that pain and suffering that pulls everyone together. The true measure of a team mentality is when the mind and body is under stress, not when the team is winning. What do you do when you are being beaten? How do you think when you are being broken?
Ask me again in a week’s time. Right now I just can’t wait to get started. We had a briefing this morning and were told the temperature out there is 51 degrees centigrade. No danger of frostbite then.
October 23rd, 2009 at 2:05 pm (Home)
Those are my intial impressions of Cairo. There is a distinct lack in greenery in this land; not quite the Garden City that is Singapore, although this is more than made up for by the smiles and graciousness of the people.
Arrived two days ago and have been ensconced in the JW Marriott, engaing in some serious pampering in the form of room service and being sprawled out in the King-sized bed. Braved the traffic and pollution yesterday in a short walk around old Cairo but had to call it a day after about 6 hours on my feet, the dust and noise taking their toll on my senses.
Today is the day that all competitors will arrive and check in at the Dusit Thani. Tomorrow morning we go through an equipment check and then in the afternoon we get bussed out to the middle of the Sahara. After umpteen times packing and repacking, I’ve got my gear down to just over 10kg. The water will add another couple of kg’s; pretty decent weight, I reckon.
October 20th, 2009 at 4:16 pm (Home)
During race week (25th to 30th Oct) you can send an email to me by going to http://www.4deserts.com/sahararace/ and selecting “email a competitor” from the Multimedia tab. Coming in to camp with half a life left within me from a day’s trudging through the sands, I know your thoughts and words would make a world of difference in lifting my spirits and is something I dearly appreciate, so I thank you in advance. Note that emails sent are not private; they can be seen on the spreadsheet by other competitors.
Sahara Race Website
Race organisers will be posting hourly updates to the website during each stage – these are known as “Breaking News.” You may also sign up to follow RacingThePlanet on Twitter. These updates will keep you abreast of the leaders, the middle of the pack, the back of the pack, weather conditions, etc. In addition at the end of each day, a Stage Update will be posted summarizing the day, as well as videos clips and several hundred photographs.
October 20th, 2009 at 3:58 pm (Home)
My head is freshly shaved, my nails are newly clipped and my clothes are crisply laundered. My nerves are also taut as the pre-race jitters return with a vengeance. I deal with it by treating this adventure as if it were any other inconsequential trip.
When I need a boost of positive energy I think of all the well wishers rooting me on and the people who find inspiration in this crazy pursuit of mine. Particularly heartening are the monetary donations that continue to stream in for the School Pocket Money Fund. And there are the several pledges of thousands of dollars that rest on my completing this race.
I spend an inordinate amount of time calculating and recalculating my nutrition. Too much food adds unnecessary weight to my pack; too little and I’ll go hungry – and I eat like a horse when I work out! Too much variety is over the top; too little makes for a painful and unappetising meal. Decisions, decisions, decisions… It is amazing how success in anything lies on the decisions that we make along the way.
I am attempting to take as much of my equipment and food as hand carry luggage on board the plane. There have been past cases where competitors arrived empty handed after the airlines misplaced their check-in baggage containing their gear. Such stress is something I can certainly do without.
Seems like there is so much to do. Or am I simply creating work to busy my mind?
Just need to get onto the plane…
October 15th, 2009 at 8:08 am (Home)
10 days to go; the big week looms and the final list of competitors has been released. And what an exciting star-studded field it is!
Among other superstars, I’ll be racing alongside the fastest woman to ever complete the Seven Summits; a 68 year-old female helicopter pilot who recently completed a circumnavigation of the globe via both poles; Canada’s first blind triathlete who is a two-time World Cup Triathlon Champion; a school caretaker who is the only 70-year-old to have ever completed the Badwater Ultramarathon; previous race winners and professional endurance athletes.
It is such an honour to be in the presence of such champions and to be competing (I use the term “competing” very loosely here) alongside them. Their achievements are simply awe-inspiring and I can’t wait to make their acquaintance and learn what makes them tick.
I have moved past the anxieties and worries that plagued me a couple of months back into a state of heightened anticipation. The preparation and training stage is over and what is now left is to just do the thing.
In many ways it is a huge relief to be in a position where I cannot do much anymore. The task ahead is clearly defined and I’ll be embarking on a brand new experience that will push me to my physical, mental and emotional limits, just the kind of personal exploration I relish.
9, 8, 7, ….