The ‘Canberra Chill’ celebrated the completion of the Musketeers endurance foundation in preparation for battle on the fields of lava on the big island of Hawaii.
The weekend consisted of 285km cycle to Canberra, 60km Ultra distance bush marathon, cycle 285km back to Sydney.
Venturing out on one of the coldest mornings Canberra had seen in 30 years, the Musketeers felt terrific representing Velosophy in their super comfortable cycling kit.
The team set off at 7am from Macarthur on their 285km bike ride to the countries capital. Sub Zero temperature cycling is simply not possible without the right gear. Fortunately (more a god send) the Musketeers had their Sub Zero Cycling jackets by 2XU. These jackets shielded the guys from arctic temperatures that, without them, would have had them turn around and head straight home. So cold...
Arriving in Canberra by nightfall, the Musketeers may have underestimated how tough the road to Canberra really is. Huge stretches of dead road with incline after incline, the guys certainly had a hard days cycling.
How does one keep motivated when:
- Night is falling
- You’re 230kms into a head wind
- Its Uphill
- Its Cold
- You know you have a 60km Marathon to do the next day
- followed by another 285km cycling.
In the words of Brenton ‘Amaris’ Yates, I think with Kona fast approaching the thought process was that if we could finish each day/objective well, we’d be going into the last 8 weeks of preparation pretty strong. That was a big incentive knowing the intensity which is about to hit in the next phase of our training. Also, being away from my family can be really tough and not something which I take for granted. So if I am going to be away on training adventures like these, it’s 110% the whole the way – pulling the pin just isn’t an option, no matter how tough it gets out there. Oh, and did I mention a few cans of MOTHER also helped - ALOT.
After a quick shower and dinner, sleep was the order of the evening.
|The Musketeers felt great representing Velosophy|
Saturday 5am- the temperature read -5 (that’s minus)... Now, there’s no real way to make minus 5 degrees sound fun to a group of runners psyching themselves up for a day of greatness, but spirits were high, particularly once the team found the coffee.
Heading over to the start line, there was a great deal of focus amongst the musketeers. With 285kms already in the legs, this would be no ordinary run. Today was the day that all those Shift60 sessions would come into play. Andy, John and Brenton set out first for the 60km Ultra over fields of frost and ice. Todd then followed with his assault on the 25km event.
Since the arrival of the Inov8 F-lites. Musketeer trail running has become faster, stronger and more comfortable, paving the way for incredible results.
John took 1st place for the Ultra, making a spectacular comeback after a wrong turn saw him in 16th place.
Brenton was a shoe in for a placing in the Ultra, however like most people on the day, he took a few wrong turns (we are wondering if some local kids were out there switching signs, or maybe everyone’s brains were nuked from the previous day).
Todd came second in the 25km, learning a valuable lesson in the process. Shorter does not mean easier. When you’re racing, your racing.
Andy Reynold’s had an awesome race, pounding the course in a solid time with comrade Sally Lynch. When asked about how one gets through an Ultra on already fatigued legs, Andy comments: Despite taking it pretty easy, everything hurt at the end of the marathon, the terrain was tough and it was pretty hard mentally to head back out for another 18k. Though seeing John chase down the leader after what we'd done the day before was pretty inspirational.... just kept trying to put the 60k out of my head, focused on technique and getting to the next aid station!
Those hills and that distance on already fatigued legs, I wonder if they would have done so well without the specialised strength training the guys have received from Shift60.
Perhaps the greatest result that day came from Andy from New Jersey. Saturday was Andy's 636th 42.2km Marathon, and the last of his goal to run the 6 States and 2 Territory's of Australia. Now there is a challenge for the Musketeers!
|Athos Mergler on his way to victory in the 60km Ultra|
|Todd firing down the finish line|
|Andy and Sally, a force to be reckoned with.|
The moment that shattered Brenton’s podium chances
“I wonder if its straight ahead or that way….hmmm???”
|Brenton, Tod and John post race.|
Once everyone was back at the hotel, massages were arranged to try and combat some of the muscle soreness before final cycle back to Sydney. The Musketeers got together for dinner and reflection of the weekend’s events so far. Brenton entertained the crew with his guitar tuning skills whilst plans were being made for upcoming adventures. Besides the obvious Kona, events such as Ironman France, Coast to Coast and Cycling across the Nulabour were brought to the table... all great plans, all in the pipe line.
Sunday was a much warmer 4 degrees which helped a great deal with the teams battered bodies....sort of. With memories so dear of frozen noses and lips from Fridays ride, Andy and Brenton decided balaclavas were the best option... Andy’s balaclava was ingeniously created using his 2 day old undies... perhaps this look would fare well in the winter collection for Velosophy or 2XU?
It was a slow start on the way back to Sydney, cold, with the tease of rain. Fortunately the musketeers loosened up quickly and made incredible time, taking advantage of the descents that they so gallantly climbed only days earlier.
It was here that the Mother and Baked goods (brilliantly cooked up by Sally and John) really came into their own. The Musketeers braved hooligan mountain folk, cultists and Great Danes whilst racing a setting sun to Macarthur- arriving just in time to grab a drink and nestle into the warmth of the train seat, and reflect on an epic weekend.
When asked what he took away from the ‘Canberra Chill’, Tod responded, ‘I learnt that I can do big mileage and still feel strong’. A lesson that will no doubt give him and fellow Musketeers the edge in Kona. These gladiators are now entering the next phase of their training. The intensity will ramp up in a big way and the Musketeers are only going to get stronger over the coming 8 weeks to Kona.
A massive congratulations to the Musketeers and a HUGE thank you to the sponsors that got them there.
2XU Sub Zero Cycling jackets are the future of winter cycling in Australia.
The team was toasty, ventilated and comfortable whilst braving sub zero temperatures... Who would have thought it possible? Clearly, 2XU.
Also a big thanks to Sally Lynch and David Hay for their awesome support on the road. Not to be overshadowed, these fine athletes had tremendous results both cycling and running. Sally bagging 2nd Female in the 60km Ultra, and Dave snatching a PB in the Marathon. Well done guys!
|Dave Hay scoring his marathon PB|
Check out the Musketeers Facebook page for more photos!