World Solo 24hr Championships


“I wanna go.” “I wanna go!” I wanna goooo!”  I yelled at Hubcap as I forcibly grabbed my bike’s handlebars and bounced the bike agitatedly up and down.
It was around 1am and my body was raging like an out of control fire.
The previous lap Hubcap (who was my support crew) had brewed me up a coffee with 4 organic raw sugars and steaming hot, belly pleasing, very sweet oats.
Every second standing still felt like a year had passed.
My body was leaping out of its skin.
My eyes were wide like saucers.
The energy was so rife through my body I was getting agitated and irritated.

“I just wanna go!” I repeated again and again.

As Hubcap replaced my battery for my light I had another swig of the sweet hot nectar as I jumped on my bike and screamed out “Thank you!!!” loud enough to ensure no poor soul was sleeping, and spun out of the pit area and back on the course.
I had work to do.

I stopped at the porterloo, flinging my bike on the ground and frantically pulled my bike pants down.
It was my first pee of the race and I was over 12 hours down.
Jez that’s not good, I thought to myself as the walls of the porterloo appeared to spin out of control.

What on earth did he give me in that coffee?
This is freaken madness!
Jez I hope I don’t get drug tested.
Hmmm I wonder if people use drugs?
What sort of drugs would people use?
I wonder how fast I can ride now?

My thoughts were out of control and racing!

So it had taken me over 12 hours to get into the competitive racing spirit. admittedly jolted to life by sugar and caffeine. Lots of it.
But I was now in the racing game.
And I had the whole dark night riding around the same 17km track to look forward to.
To race. To aim to maintain my lap times, if not get faster and definitely more smoother riding each and every lap.
It was by all accounts, the World Championships.


WEMBO, The World Endurance, Mountain Bike Organisation held the World Champs at Rotorua in March 2016.
This was only a week after I competed in the World Multisport Championships, The Coast to Coast in the South Island of New Zealand.

I had driven up from Christchurch in my Mazda Van named Bela, with my 3 bikes and all my worldly belongings. I had spent the past 2 and a bit months travelling around NZ, training for the Coast to Coast with a single (saggy) mattress in the back. Bela had been my (blessed) home.
However travelling up to Rotorua Bela now had another passenger, Andrew, also known as Hubcap; a bike mad, fastidious, pragmatic (so a super person to have on your support crew) mate from Brisbane. He’d completed about as many 24hr races as his age, so was super experienced in the needs of a 24hr racer. Hubcap and I also have the most completely opposite personality traits (which does make for a great team balance) but it sure was going to be an interesting journey! I had pre warned Hubcap that I enjoyed my rough, adventurous and spontaneous lifestyle with Bela, and although she was super cramped and took a lot of organising to get everything in her, she was everything I’d/we’d need; so to prepare for a real adventure.

He was keen.
We were on.



Our first day on the road from Christchurch we had the option of staying at my Aunty’s grand homestead for the night or pulling up at a spot right on the beach, pitching the tent and waking to see the sunrise.
Admittedly I was a little disappointed when Hubcap suggested having a comfy bed for the night (turns out not everyone is keen on saggy mattresses on cold grass wild camping on the side of the road!) but in normal Andrea fashion I quickly turned my attention to the positives of the situation; seeing my family, charging electronics, freezing the water bottles, and of course a comfy nights sleep.
The perfect choice.

Keen to show Hubcap the amazing NZ countryside on our way to Rotorua we stopped off at the Queen Charlotte Sounds. and I sent him off riding the track whilst I made a bed out of blankets and pillows on the grass and rested my tired body. Although physically I seemed to feel alright, my motivation was pretty non existent. After an hour of lying down I made a pact with myself to have a gentle spin on the bike for 20 mins – after all I was at the start of the Queen Charlotte Track!
This was my first time on the Mountain bike since 2015 and after using the amazing Di2 electronic gearing on my Felt IA10 my Felt Edict (Mountain Bike) seemed a little clunky and it took some getting used to.



When all the bikes were finally packed back into Bela it was 9pm and Hubcap did not like the idea of pitching a tent somewhere on the side of the road so opted to pay for a Motel. It was nice to feel clean after a hot shower and snuggling into clean sheets.
So far we had only slept in style!
The next day we headed across the beautiful Cook Strait and stayed with my Brother and his family in Wellington.
To get Hubcap to experience more of NZ by Mountain Bike i arranged for Danial (who had recently done the Coast to Coast too) to take us exploring around the hills of Porirua. I happily managed a 40 minute easy ride on the bike. The body was still feeling pretty clunky, but with 2 days to go I was trying to keep my attention in the present moment as to not think about the future (riding non stop 17km laps for 24 hours is not something I wanted to be focusing on.)

From Wellington the whole trip in the Van into Rotorua we could see very dark and scary looking ominous clouds up ahead. When we got to Rotorua the place looked like it had been truly and well drowned, and in fact later we were told that the whole pit area for the 24hr event was under water!

Taking our time to get up to Rotorua we arrived at the Holiday Park with it all closed up. With a miscommunication with our phone calls to alert them we would be late, 20mins later we had a rather angry person let us into our tiny room.
Big enough for 2 single beds and 1 Power plug.
That’s all really that was needed.
Down very steep flights of stairs to get to the bathrooms, definitely was not (especially come Monday after the race!)

Waking up far much too early the next day for my liking, I got stuck in in the communal kitchen cooking up my high carb vegan food for my 24hrs of racing the following day. Sticky rice and oats with banana, sultanas, dates, peaches, apples and coconut sugar, and boiled potatoes and pasta with fresh basil and tomatoes.
I’m one of these people that absolutely love their race food and get so excited about the idea of eating it (although often during the tough times it’s not as enjoyable or palatable however, just a mechanical action to get nutrition in) so the excitement was brewing.
All my required food was wrapped in individual ‘stuff in and go’ packs or 1 lap packs.
I also used individually customised liquid nutrition, with either 100% carbs or with 1% protein and caffeine for those hard to reach periods of time when I needed a lift or didn’t want to chew.
I aimed to have everything as organised for Hubcap as possible so he could get more enjoyment out of the process, and I’d also know I’d get exactly what I needed.

When we got to Redwoods Forrest in the afternoon the whole pit area was still under water and there was a massive (and I’d assume expensive) operation going on to get rid of the water. We were told we’d have to wait until the following morning to set up.

I went out to pre ride the course. Hubcap had issues with his brakes and pulled out from riding the course with me. The guys on track couldn’t fix it.

It was hard not to be really disappointed. This was one of the reasons why I wanted Hubcap with me.I needed his expertise in helping me pick the best lines and showing me how to ride the course as efficiently and as skilled as possible.

I’d opted to ride in elite category which really was way out of my league.
This being my 2nd ever Mountain Bike Race (the 1st also being a 24hr which I managed to win, taking away a very batted and nerve damaged body in the process.) I’d only been riding mountain bikes for 2 and a bit years. I’d done many Adventure Races over the past 2 ish years but they often had you carrying your bikes across rivers, pushing them through what seemed inpenatrable bush, towing team mates and riding along formed fire tracks/ 4wheel drive tracks; so rather different than beautifully formed single track in a park regarded as having some of the best MTB tracks in the World!

I put on the biggest smile I could muster and had an easy ride along the tracks by myself.
I’d just have to trust in my own skills and back myself. I could do this, I told myself.



I took off for an easy ride along the marked course.

I must have ridden so easily that the first thing that Hubcap said to me on my return was
“You’ve just got back now?”
You’ve been out there that whole time?!”
My heart plummeted.
I was feeling pretty proud of myself to handle the tracks well, especially in the sludge, and thought just over 90mins to do 17km the day before a big race wasn’t too bad.

I found myself getting angry.

Hubcap was meant to come with me.
He didn’t.
He was meant to be there to help me.
I was petrified of the course, and was doubting my abilities, let alone riding amongst a group of elite experienced women.

My fear had taken me over.

It had become me and now I was projecting it onto Hubcap.
But maybe he was disappointed he couldn’t help me?
Maybe he was pissed off too?

Having done lots of work on myself I was able to recognise the self entitled ‘me’ that wanted it’s own way, who to the core was just terrrified of the challenge she’d put her self up against.
Riding in the Elite Category was purely just an exercise to “Act as you are and you will become.” I wanted to be Elite, so I might as well step up and surround myself with others better than me so I would by default rise to the challenge (or of course succumb to the pressure.)
Either way it was going to be a super learning opportunity.
I knew my strength was in the tough times.
After 12 hrs I knew I’d kick in and I would do my best work in the wee hours when others would succumb to the fatigue. I knew I’d not be the most skilled rider but knew I’d ride with my heart and soul and was super fit and strong coming off my Coast to Coast training….and the World Champs Coast to Coast Race only 6 days prior.

Eeeek 6 days prior?!
I was absolutely shitting myself.

It was time to meditate.
To calm and centre the body and mind.

The following morning rising once again much to early for my liking, I went over my race plan
1. just keep moving forward
2. focus on the now
3. stop for 5 mins or less in transition,
And the most importantly
4. enjoy the ride.
How hard could another World Championships be?!

In order to help me with my ‘enjoy the ride’ intention I’d spent up large at a $2 type store with butterfly wings, wand, tutu, sparkly hair, fairy lights, plastic flowers and even a multicoloured clown like wig for Hubcap to wear (much to his horror I’m sure! Although bless him, he did wear the wig for the first few laps when I came through which made my heart sing.)

I know this wasn’t in accordance to the MTB elite grade etiquette, but it certainly was in accordance with my rules.
And besides, it made me stand out and be memorable amongst volunteers and competitors (look at me! Oh yes look at me! My shadow value was fulfilled ha!) and also made me appear as less of a threat to the others, and meant less expectations for myself.
However I was just a little concerned I might stab myself on my butterfly wand sticking out from the front of my bike if I might happen to fall….. Best to think about what you want then, not what you don’t want. Knowing quite well that your wish is your command!


Pit stop all ready.
Pit crew ready.
5 mins until start and I look down and……flat tyre!!!!
I hurried to find Hubcap in an absolute fluster – in hindsight I should’ve scheduled in that meditation sit in the morning. I sure needed it!
But of course with minutes to go before the start Hubcap was getting a prime spot in which to watch the action.
By the time I found him I’d already blown my race plan and was not having fun, nor making Hubcaps life much fun either.
Pumped up and ready to go I made the start line in time (thanks Hubcap!) and settled into the furious fast pace. I did not want to race straight off the mark and run into my red zone, especially after coming off a race 6 days prior, but did not want to miss the opportunity to race amongst fast guys. I could watch their lines riding ahead of me and also have them riding straight up my backside, urging me to ride faster and take more risks – this being the scariest but most beneficial part of the race. Once you’ve done it once, you can do it again and again (for 24 hours in fact.)


Fast forward to 1am and my body had finally realised what it was meant to do – the competitive fire raging throughout my body…..If not a rather impatient, agitated and self centred fire- but it was still a fire!
And it was kick started by an overdose of sugar and caffeine.
But I didn’t care. I was finally racing!
Racing all over the place.
It took me back to my clubbing days. The World spinning out of control and as long as I also held on for the ride and went with it, it was going to be an enjoyable ride.


Half way along the course there were a group of guys drinking beers, lighting fires, blaring loud dance music, shining spot lights and fluro painted signs that made you chuckle. You know the ones along the lines of “Your Mother …..
I really looked forward to seeing them as they would holler and yell and go crazy every time anyone appeared and they loved me fist pumping and screaming back at them (“oh yes look at me!!) Their music was furiously energetic and positively uplifting and stuck in my head for most of the way back to the pit. I was impressed by the boys stamina however a few hours before dawn – you know that really horrible part when you’re racing and feel so tired and the World feels like it’s getting so cold and just wants you to curl up in a ball anywhere on the side of the track; well the guys dissolved (in a probable heap) into their tents and it felt like it was just me and the track in a thick deep silence.
The occasional guy would come up from behind exclaiming “it’s the butterfly again!” Or (showing their brand brainwashing, I mean conditioning) yell “red bull gives you wings!
To which I’d quickly correct them “Noooo! Mountain Biking gives you wings!!”

*Also many people along the track were also corrected that I was in fact a butterfly and not a fairy. Being likened to a 6 yr olds fantasy didn’t do much for driving me forth with strength and energy. A butterfly to me was a great combination of calm presence and awareness, the strength and power to fly, and childlike play.
So a I butterfly I was!

I know during the race I had many issues with my lights, having to stop every lap to get a new battery (a huge time wasting exercise that cost me a lot of time.) Apart from running out of lights during mid track and having to pull over and fumble in the dark to replace them, I believed it caused much more of a heart stopping and finger nail biting experience for Hubcap than me. He handled it so well.
I deep down knew it was causing issues but he never once gave the impression that everything wasn’t totally under control.

One time throughout the night I recall throwing my bike to the side in Pit and rolling around on the ground moaning trying to stretch out my aching lower back. I beckoned Hubcap to give me paracetamol which I shoved in my dry mouth, and then, like in a possessed state (going through the motions) getting back on my bike and riding the same track.

Did I mention it was the same track?
Yip I rode that thing again and again and again and again.


WEMBO_2016_001745Riding into the morning I had continued to add more and more caffeine and sugar to my body; like a weathered drug addict needing more and more for their fix and never being satisfied with the effect.

My body was struggling.
I was tired.
My mind was tired.
My body was aching and I wondered what in the hell I’d thought riding my bike for 24hrs after racing 6 days earlier.
Actually I couldn’t think back to 6 days ago, I was just simply thinking that in his present moment, that riding my bike, is a dumb idea.

An old team mate who was also riding 24hrs came up behind me unnaturally jovivial asking me how I was. I think I truthfully replied something to the effect of
“Yeah I’m alright” in quite possibly a drawn out sigh to which he responded
“That’s not the always positive Andrea (or something to that effect.) You have to be positive Andrea!” as he flew past me, angering me with his comment.
He asked me how I was and I told him!
And he was making me feel slow (this was by far my slowest lap.)
But really it was just what I needed to relight that fire back underneath me.
As by all means, it was a race! The World Championships in fact!


As an aside, it can be quite amusing how when in your darkest hour how you interpret comments from other people. I know many of an Adventure Racing team has combusted  into never recognisable and unrepairable flames due to fragile and hurt egos. This was an example of one of them as I burnt a hole through his back as he rode away with my scathing eyes looking at him in disgust. I was totally projecting my unhappiness of how I was feeling at onto him. Onto his back in fact, as he sped off making me think again about the slow pace I had succumbed to.

I came into Pit, the sun out in it’s full strength.
”You’re 5th!!!!” Hubcap excitedly screamed at me.
“5th place is only a few minutes in front. You can catch her. You can catch her Andrea!”

Is that her?! I yelled at Hubcap as I spotted long blond piggy tails leaving the Pit Area.

“Yes!” he yelled back.

Game on.

“Sports drink for the next lap please. I’m not stoping now. I’m going to get her!” I ordered Hubcap as I narrowed my eyes and locked in my target.
I’d just found new energy and strength. Also a pact I’d made to myself 6 days ago through quiet sobs into my pillow, well I really mean through those hiccuping, snot filled out of control tears, that I had to honour.

During the Coast to Coast 6 days prior I’d Raced the last 70km thinking I had hunted down 4th place and was sitting (comfortably) in 3rd. I got a time split that I was 2mins behind (but I thought I was 2mins in front) so instead of giving it my all, I fairly comfortably (as comfortable as one can be after racing hard for 13hours) rode into the finish line.
I was thinking about having to ride for 24hrs the following weekend so in my mind to not beat the poor begging body to every inch of its life to still finish on the podium, was a mightily fine result.

That was until after I crossed the finish with more in my body and realised I was actually 4th.

Never ever leave anything in the body again when racing.
And especially not now.
Oh no no!
Miss Piggy Tails you have no chance!

WEMBO_2016_003138Within a few minutes I had flown past Miss Piggy and gave a quick look back and saw there was no chase by her.
Relief flooded my body for a second and then this surge of adrenalin (and terror) had me ride the second fastest lap of the race (after racing for 22 hours already!)

I was flowy and fast, light and nimble, strong, powerful, and totally fearless.
I could feel my heart drumming throughout my body, my breath laboured and hard, but it felt so good.
I was feeling so good.
This is how feeling at one with everything was meant to be like.
I had got it all together.
Speed,  Strength, skill; I felt like I had it all.

I came screaming past another woman without much of a blink of my eye and 5 mins later found her on my wheel.
She shrieked at me
“You know you’ve been riding for over 22 hours don’t you?!” Holy shit you’re riding fast!”
She managed to tell me between breaths that she’d seen me charge up behind her and she rode scared fighting to get on my tail. I told her that she’d lapped me and was 2nd so had nothing to be concerned about me being ahead of her now.
But she didn’t believe me, citing her brain wasn’t working too well and didn’t want to risk it.

She was wearing a complete performance top (and me the pants) both being coached by the Christchurch based Sports Coaches and we laughed and chatted about currently being 2nd and 4th in bright spirits (on weary tired bodies no less.)

Being completely fearless and at one with my bike (aka sleep deprived and too tired to care) I bombed down the deccents leaving her behind me taking a few minutes to catch up on the more technical stuff remarking
“Wow you’re an awesome descender!”
Never hearing anything good about my riding skills (except being able to climb well, which requires very little skill, just strength and power) I’d be lying if I didn’t feel super proud (especially by someone currently No.2 in the World!) powered me on even more.
It was like she was feeding me in the front in order to pull her to get closer to 1st place (or away from 3rd.)
She possibly asked me if it was ok if she ride behind me.
I didn’t care.
My train had left.
I was on it.
There was no getting off it now and anyone could come for the ride.

In the space of 2 laps I’d put on 30mins over 4th place in my emotional fury ridden pact to myself to never leave anything in the body again.
As I crossed the line just before 24 hrs it meant I had to do another lap.
My guts screamed out in disappointment with the remnants of terror making sure I was still riding scared.
In fact my bladder currently feeling like the size of a bowling ball was not going to take it anymore.
Not being in real ‘racing mode’ for most of the duration of the race, I now certainly wasn’t stoping to potentially give back the gap I’d made and risk losing 4th place.
4th place in the World.
In less than a week!
I was “Game on!” for one more lap.
The train ain’t stoping!!!


I stood up on my pedals and tried to pee my pants.
After racing for nearly 24hours my urine was concentrated and angry.
The flesh between my legs was inflamed, raw and also angry.
I winced and cried out as it felt like daggers being thrown at my neither regions. The pain made me feel dizzy as I proceeded to empty my bladder through the thick campos of my once admired bike shorts and into the socks and lining of my shoes.
That half a kilo of weight was still going to stay with me damnit!

At around 5km to go my brakes that had been wearing very thin and making ear shrieking sounds proceeded to jam up my front wheel.
I reluctantly stopped to try and take them out so I could ride without resistance but in my terrified fluster could not do it.
I then thought I’d be quicker to run with the bike over my shoulder (this was through a very weaving, sharp, rutty. technical and slushy section) and did so whilst sobbing (with a short wail) in anguish that I’d stuffed up so so close from the finish line.
The tears not helping me pick my path and I fell onto the thankfully soft dirt, amongst not so soft tree roots.

I had already projected my fate and was failing to follow one of the basic steps of my race place – to stay in the present moment.

I sharply spoke out loud to myself to stop it, to relax and to just ride as well as I (quickly) can.
It was like almost instantly I realised how stupid I was being and how much harder I was making this experience for myself, not to mention this wasn’t at all fun.
Looking over my back the whole time (I just couldn’t help myself) to finally make the finish and cross the line.
My poor Felt Edict was screeching, and I was a ratted, worn out, but beaming Butterfly waving a $2 New Zealand Flag Hubcap had thrust into my hands.
He came in beside me as I neared the finish line and exclaimed
“4th in the World!” How does it feel to be 4th in the World?!”

“I’m 4th in the World I quietly screeched to myself through my tired vocal cords, my smile wide and proud.
“I’m 4th in the World.
“I’m 4th in the World!!”



Baise 4 day Adventure Race: Best left as discarded memories

As I ran up the steep hill in the blasting hot midday sun in Lingyun in China I was full of mixed emotions.

It was that intense, draining heat.

The type of heat that people could tolerate for an hour, maybe two, but people working out at a super high intensity for hours upon hours, then quite often people would drop off like flies, hunched over their bikes, the will to live almost gone from their body.

But not me.

For some amazing reason I can tolerate the heat well.

In my first Adventure Race when I moved to Sunny Queensland I was told I was watched with an almost snicker; ‘let’s watch this overenthusiastic newbee Kiwi handle the heat now!’

I know it’s hot, but it’s like my body doesn’t have a thermostat for recognising anything over 27 degrees. I just deal with it.

Such an amazing ability to have.

So running up the hill I was excited I might have an edge over the competition (that is if my team mates also were able to run hot too) but my the pins and needles in my feet were alive and sparking all the way up to my calves.

Two years ago after having the same pain (but at a much higher intensity) and carrying on competing, training, working (I’m not staying this was a good thing) I learnt to deal with the horrible and uncomfortable sensation. I knew it wouldn’t stop me from finishing nor would it slow me down, it would just mean I might be a little more edgy and impulsive (grumpy) than usual.

After spending the last 5 days cooped up in wet Hong Kong, I had a spring in my step and felt alive.

It was a great feeling the day before heading into a 4 day stage race.

However, my team mate was now running like a lame pony, with a shuffling gait and favouring one side. He had just prior to the run told me how he injured himself training few days before and had been receiving treatment for it.

“Please stop!” I urged him.
“Please don’t keep running if it hurts you, we need you for tomorrow.”
He stopped and we left him to walk the 3km down back to the Hotel.

And an hour later he hobbled in.

I knew we were in big trouble.


Team Chimpanzee consisted of myself;

Andris – the dependable, solid, never waiving most amazing supportive team mate. I literally trusted this guy with my life after me very dubiously inline skating directly behind him for 30km on main roads, going 28km/hr.

Romans; The very determined, strong action man of the team, often reminding me of the cartoon character The Hulk. I had no doubt that if we were all to fall down Romans would have the energy and strength to carry us across Mountains all to safety, and shrug it off like it was nothing.

And Milan, the oldest of the team, with a very slight, lightweight frame, he could shred up downhills on his Mountain Bike like he was flying, very mentally tough and with a never-ending will to accomplish what he set out to achieve.

Day one and I honestly struggle to remember anything apart from the first 5km run from the start.

Remembering the run is partly due to Milan being slow and limping which means I wasn’t at my absolute red line and wishing my life to be over (which often feels like  – and of course should! –  that way racing with 3 strong guys.)

I expected the day to be tough.

I actually expected the day to be unbelievably tough.

I had given myself a 5 week break after the back to back World Champs, Coast to Coast and WEMBO 24hr MTB, and had a few weeks crash training with a few races thrown in to shock my body back to life. I knew my base fitness was there and I believed I’d get stronger as the days went by, but having lost my upper fitness, I knew it would be a case of just hanging in there, especially in day one and two.


The last 18km run on day one had us crawling up Mountains upon Mountains and descending deep into the most spectacular caves.

We underestimated the time to complete this leg and ran out of water and food.

I remember looking up at the top of the Mountains and literally not knowing how I was going to get myself up there. My staggered, almost drunk like steps and my blurred vision i wondered to myself how much more it would take for me to pass out, but I knew Romans who had me on tow (with Andris towing Milan) would be able to fireman carry me out of there.

I was actually shocked when I didn’t pass out and was really glad my heart rate monitor wasn’t working.

It most definitely would’ve set new records.

Day two and we started with a 15km paddle.

Romans and I had (accidentally) chosen a kayak with the bungs firmly in place which meant our boat filled up with water and it felt like a full bathtub paddling it.
I suggested we stop and remove the bungs but Roman in his determined mindset yelled at me to just keep going.
Our team mates were hundreds of meters ahead and were of no help to assist, much to my evolving disgust and anger.

At the turn around point at 5km we saw Andris and Milan and I screamed frustration at them.

Romans and I were way back off the lead and I was exhausted.

We were paddling around other teams that clearly inexperienced paddlers and some looked like they were out for a Sunday float.

“We need you!” “Please help us!” I hollered at my team mates, after screaming at them that if they ever left us behind like that again I’d never ever race with them again.

Romans and I sat on their wash but even then it was clear were still way off their pace with our water laden Kayak.
I was dreading the rest of the day and was feeling very angry that Andris and Milan were clearly fresh whilst my lower back, shoulder, arms and inner life spirit was screaming.


It’s an interesting position to be in being the only Woman of an Adventure racing team.

My first few years racing in Australia, the better I got, the better guys I raced with.
I never knew of a tow rope and believed it was for the ‘weak.’
I saw the guys I raced with as my equals and I didn’t entertain the idea of them helping carry gear in my pack or make it easier for me.
I was on their level (as far as I was concerned) and the feminist in me defended the belief that I can be as fast and do what any of the guys could.
Although i got some great results racing in 3hr – 6hr – 12hr -24hr – Multiday races, it was obviously clear that i hadn’t raced with really strong guys (where they use their strength and speed to enable me to also go faster, which means as a team we are much faster – and maybe not kill me as much!)

I’ve now been in the sport a little longer and seen the Elite Women of the Sport racing with the Elite Men.
I’ve seen how the team works together to help the Woman be lighter and faster, and whilst of course there are exceptions and particularly in longer races where the Woman can often be the strongest in the team at times, as a Woman if you want to be in a fast team (with guys faster than you) it appears to me you almost need to become slightly submissive.
Which trust me, has been quite hard to deal with at times.
But every single person is different and it is a bit of trial and error to see how your team mates treat you and help, support and collectively work together to enable to team to move faster.
But what I’m always doing is watching the top teams and how they work together (and usually noting how the slower teams don’t) always asking questions and learning from the people who have been in the sport the longest, and the most successful at it.

Anyway, back to it…..

With about 4km of the paddle to go we pulled over to the shore and Andris yelled at me to get in his kayak. Again, another one of those decisions that have already been made and i submissively just follow orders, but this I was very very happy to do.
We paddled comfortably into the Transition.

As we climbed on our bikes I noticed the gear shifter only bike wasn’t working which means I couldn’t change down into an easy gear.

I felt my energy leave my body.

A previous Adventure Race in China the same thing happened and I had to bike over big Mountains only in my big chain ring.
Our team didn’t have a tow rope to assist and I absolutely killed my legs. I then had to run (over more Mountains) and i have never felt so broken in my whole life from that race.

I was now biking scared.

Having only recently been given a new FRD from Felt Bicycles, it had wider handlebars. I was flying through a bit of tricky single track next to a few trees and misjudged the width, clipped the tree and went flying, unfortunately taking poor Andris out with me (and damaging his knee.)

Fortunately this leg was shorter and as we jumped off our bikes we only had a 3km fast run to finish.

Milan unfortunately could hardly run and needed to be assisted with his slow hobble we very slowly crossed the finish line.


Day Three and my bike was unable to be fixed which meant my nightmare had come true.

Romans and Andris (when he wasn’t towing Milan) were amazing in towing me up the steep hills, but I still had to push the pedals in the hard gear which sucked the life force from my legs.
If we came to a steep section and I couldn’t get the tow rope on then I had to get off and walk, watching teams ride swiftly past us killed my spirit (and my energy as walking up hill pushing your bike is way harder!)
I also had issues with my bike seat falling down so not only did I have to push in a hard gear I had to do it whilst low on my seat.
A horrible, horrible combination for smashed, dead, legs!

As per the course legs the following days, we had huge Mountains to climb, spectacular views (when one had the energy to lift her head), beautiful caves, striking sun and lots of sweat.


Starting the 12km run my legs felt so heavy and I cursed me carrying 2.2l of water (so an 2.2 extra kgs!) however 15mins before the end of the run I finished it all and was so super grateful.
The guys had a huge long abseil into the lake whilst we all swam 600m in luke warm water to get our kayaks and paddle 22km.
The sun disappeared behind clouds and within a few hours the dark clouds above us let us know of their anger.
The most deafening thunder and spectacular lightning brought almost pellet like rain which was a welcome relief to cool down the body.

Hobbling out of the kayak we ran 3km up a steep uphill to the finish line.

Due to the weather we had a bit of cleaning up to do, in particular my running shoes had caked mud from getting out of the kayak onto the muddy bank.
I grabbed one of the Hotel provided toothbrushes and removed the dirt and scum from the bottom of my shoes.

Later that night when going to bed I looked around for my toothbrush to brush my teeth and couldn’t find it.
I was tired.
It was late.
We had an early morning wake up.
I saw the same toothbrush I’d previously used to clean my shoes (but at the time didn’t realise I’d used it) and proceeded to brush my teeth with it.
About a minute in with a stomach full of horror, I realised.
I quickly threw the toothbrush in the bin and stood staring at it in misbelief.

At about midnight it started.

The grumbling sensation in my belly forced me up throughout the night onto the toilet and then back into bed to assume the foetal position.

530am wake up and I could hardly move.

Surprisingly my tummy pain had gone but all that was left was a limp lifeless body.

I forced myself out of bed and to breakfast where I pushed around some sticky rice and a banana on my plate.
A far cry from the huge breakfasts I’d been having.

As I slowly slung a leg over the bike I had no idea how I was going to make it through this day.

28km hilly bike (still with my broken bike) and a 30km, 2000m elevation run.

All i could do was hope Milan was not able to make the run so we could pull out. Although all I wanted to do was lie down.
I said nothing to my team.
I knew they knew something was wrong but it was like I was in a Zombee World.
It just felt surreal.
Speaking felt too hard.
I just needed all my energy just to put into holding my body up.
I knew everyone was tired.
I was never going to be the one to say I couldn’t do it.
I was going to see if I could do it.


The first hill and I sucked.

There’s no other word for it.

The guys towed me and I knew I wasn’t helping much, but for the first time ever, I didn’t care.

I really really didn’t want to be here doing this.
I didn’t have the energy.
At all.
I began to cry.
Then I began to sob and the sobbing stripped me of any energy I thought I didn’t have.

I pulled myself together, I couldn’t afford to sob if I could barely sit upright on my bike.

Throughout the ride (and the following run) I questioned myself.

Was I really sick or was I just exhausted?

My stomach protruded like I was 7 months pregnant and I slowly sipped on sweet sugary liquid to keep my energy up.

I threw up in my mouth.
A lot.
I swallowed it back down.
I needed to keep my fluids in.
The guys urged me to just get it out but I really didn’t think it was good to do.

“Have a gel Andrea!” Romans yelled at me as he pulled my lifeless body up the never-ending steep Mountain.

“I have” I moaned back. That’s not it, that’s not why I don’t have the energy” I murmured.

I was breathing so hard.
So much I wondered if I would damage my lungs.

I didn’t care.

Romans kept pulling me, much much faster and harder than I would’ve liked.

I just took it.

It hurt.

A lot.


We left Andris (who was pulling Milan) and put some distance between us. I thought to myself it really would be better to conserve a bit of my energy than forcibly pull me faster than I could go when Andris and Milan were way behind us.

There were no time for words.

I just had to focus on breathing and on each step in front of me.

I silently cried.

A lot.

Sometimes the cries got out of hand and developed into a slight panic attack and my whole body shook and I could hardly breathe.
I quickly had to get it under control.

I felt Romans slow down.

I wondered if he thought I was dying.

Running downhill on the road I was able to shut my eyes.

I was able to pretend I was wasn’t here.

I wasn’t doing this.

It felt better.

On the technical downhill I started to feel a little better.
I could go at my own pace with no tow rope.
Milan was in obvious pain with his injury grasping at his butt and he was setting the pace.

He was slower than me.

Thank god.

For a few moments i felt I little better.

The finish line was getting closer.

We had been running for over 4 hours by now and the heat of the day was upon us.
Running into the transition Romans grabbed all of our abseiling gear and we took off for (yet another run leg!) a 4km orienteering leg to the finish.

We ran around the energetic and bustling city, watching people, dodging people, and cars, and dogs and the magical village life.
It kept me occupied on something else and I tried to smile to as many people as possible.

It helped.

Pulling myself across the overhanging rope on the city’s river my body said no.

Romans yelled at me to keep going and with every pull I said to myself “I can’ ‘I can’ although my body fighted it screaming at me that it couldn’t.



Running across the finish line and I couldn’t care less. I just wanted to sit down.
Lie down.

I did and lay there for a while.

There was no thinking.

There was nothing.

I was finally happy.

When we got up to leave the guys decided to walk back to the hotel.
A few minutes into the walk and I started to hate life.
Why the fuck was I walking?
Why were we walking?!
I saw the bus go past us and I screamed on the inside.
That 15minute walk took forever.
I hated it just as much as the run.
I hadn’t eaten anything at the finish and I didn’t want to carry a water bottle (as it was weight) and throughout the walk back I cursed my decision.
Andris had some water and gave it to me.
I silently sipped away.

We ended up finishing in 13th place.

I really didn’t care.

I had given up caring the moment my belly had an uninvited party.

I still questioned whether I had belly bugs or if I simply was just not up to it.

I always dismiss anything wrong with me.

The time I fell off my bike I damaged my arm and ignored anyone who tried telling me it was broken. I wasn’t allowing a broken arm in my life.
And I didn’t.
I continued boxing, obstacle racing, and mountain biking (including more falls onto the same arm) with such horrible pain.
I just dealt with it.

A good and a not so good trait to have really.


The following day I almost felt normal, although after eating my stomach was talking to me.
I was thinking how my pants felt like they had got a bit looser, although after eating 2 Mangos I then had to undo the button on my shorts, my stomach protruding with horrible gas.

There was definitely something going on with my belly.

And now the following day I feel good although doing anything physical and I feel so drained. It’s a different type of drained than a tired body does after a big race.

I’m now in the Philippines and are here for 5 weeks training and recovering (with a 10 day silent Meditation Retreat thrown in to help the recovery and for another life challenge!)

I was planning on a 50km race this weekend. I have been thinking to do the 21km instead or totally cancelling it.

The next 2 days are all about good food, water, sleep, gentle bike rides exploring and massage (lots of great cheap massage here!)

I’m just loving being here.

Travel makes me feel so alive.

The people are amazing.

It’s also great travelling solo and being able to march to my own beat of my drum.

I’ll keep you posted what I do next 🙂

A huge thank you to my team mates (haha I think….;) but most definitely for being unwavering, strong, focused and committed.
Romans, you are an absolute beast and i aim to get stronger and stronger and I look forward to the day I can beat you up a hill! ha! I would not have been able to finish the race if it hadn’t been for your amazing strength  (ha not that I really did want to finish the final day anyway!!) Thank you my friend.
Thanks to Milan for racing 4 days in intense pain and making to through to the end. Dealing with an injury is so hard mentally, and then on top of that the physical challenge and anguish that we all went through most definitely intensifies things and especially for you. You did amazingly well. Get better soon my friend.

Andris, yet another successful race with you my friend. You constantly surprise me and I feel honoured to race alongside you. You certainly make things easier and your positive presence lifts the team. You are a true asset to the team.

9 weeks until Coast to Coast and WEMBO 24hr Mountain Bike Champs

9 week count down until the 2 World Championship Events!
My first week in Auckland, New Zealand.
Check out my new home (on wheels!) and meet Bela! She needs a few alterations – including sawing in half my mattress ha!
I’m reunited with my Kayak and I accidentally get the tides wrong and end up carrying her (portaging) for aaaaaages.
I feel like crap and cut my session short with a few interesting reads from the Library instead.
I head South to Rotorua and start my ‘Vanlife’ but check out what I’m heading towards!

By andreapeebles

Exposed and public: My transformation journey to a plant powered World Class Athlete!

Striving to be better.

Striving for perfection.

It’s funny how messages from the Universe (God, Creator, Spirit or whatever energy you align with) will appear in your life, and can quite forcibly let you know if you chose to ignore them.
Racing in China was such a huge deal for me.

I had 8 weeks to get my body and mind back to condition from an all time physical, mental and emotional low.

Now 8 weeks is not a long time to get primed for a 16-18 hour prestigious international event but I had 8 weeks to bring myself from rock bottom of spending days in bed and literally wanting to cry when I looked at my bike, not fitting any of my clothes anymore and feeling like a complete useless piece of crap, to 220km of biking, running, paddling, skating and swimming -feeling fast, strong and powerful (except during the 2km swim and 20km Roller Skating ha! 😉 ) to take out 6th place with my amazing team in Suqian, China.

And how do I feel?


Yeah ok.

And this is obviously why the Universe needed to kick me up the arse.

During my first race I had a great race. I knew it was about me getting my body, mind and spirit in alignment and focusing only on my positive qualities and attributes and having 100% belief in myself (and firmly telling my Ego to take the back seat!)

Oh yes it was tough but I had such a great time joking and laughing and general Monkeying around with my team mates, in between gasping for breath! 😉


After staying up until stupid o’clock the night we finished the race and my body clock waking me at 6am there wasn’t much recovery sleep but I woke feeling great and eager to get on the bike and explore (which we did.)

No rubs, no blisters, no sunburn, slight sore muscles but most importantly an awesome attitude!

To me this was a super successful outcome and was proof to me that this was the start of seeing even bigger things from me for the future.
And also I’d got my mojo back after only 8 weeks.

Now please have it known I wasn’t in the condition that I wanted to be in, however I was focusing on what I was able to do and how amazing my body was, not what I didn’t have.
And where attention goes, energy flows (and you get more of it!)

The other race however was a whole other story.

Unexpectedly I was asked to stay on and race in the Red Bull 2 day stage race on the Great Wall of China. I had the impressive EPIC, 87km Mountain Bike Race booked in in Brisbane however I decided I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to race amongst the best in the World in Adventure Racing and Multisport, and besides travel and adventure flows sooooo fast through my veins and the thought of new challenges and experiences just thrilled me.

I suppose not being prepared or maybe experiencing the energy dip after such a great high, I didn’t adequately prepare myself for the next race.

I of course made sure I got lots of sleep, water, fruit and vegetables, massage, easy recovery runs and rides and spent time in the day exploring (my favourite past time) but I didn’t adequately deal with my spirit side, my ego, my mindset, and this really let me down.

It can be just so easy to pick faults with yourself.
The push to be better, to be faster, to be stronger is of course a great quality but it can come at a cost. To me this is feeding the Ego mind, and success can be difficult, arduous and fleeting at its best if this is the focus.
In a racing situation it is so very easy to get wrapped up in the World of the Ego. You are constantly comparing yourself to others. The obvious – Times, speed, and distance (and at China there is huge prize money for podium placings so even more pressure to perform well.)
There’s also comparing what you look like, who is leaner, looks strong, what type of equipment and gear people have, what people are wearing, what they eat, how they conduct themselves etc. And then there’s the fact that you’re in a team sport so do need to be focused also on your team mates.

But the only thing you should be concerned about is yourself, about being your best, about having your best race but most importantly enjoying the experience. And then when your cup is full it can be used to help and support other people.
They say that only when you go so far do you know how far you can go.

So this year I pushed it a little too hard.

Physically I was probably about at my limit but then mentally I was shoved right over the edge.

Sure being homeless and jobless isn’t a big deal for me having experienced this many times before and knowing I will pop out the other side.
However the anguish of being in this situation and having to manage other people (my clients) and their needs that’s so important to me took a huge toll on me mentally. It’s one thing to have to deal with my life challenges but when it then affects other people, it certainly makes things harder.

I then had the opportunity to travel Brazil (as an avenue to explore a Business idea, as well as tackle another huge physical challenge.) Being one for always grabbing opportunities with 2 hands (quite possibly a slight downfall of mine) I took off with Bike and (heavy!) trailer for 4 weeks.

Day 2 of Brazil and I had a Machine gun pointed at my head. Although I thought I was pretty relaxed about it all and didn’t think it affected me, looking back on day 2, it sure does add another element to ‘adventure travel’ when everyone you meet and everywhere you go you’re subconsciously risk assessing them and your own safety. It certainly puts you in a heightened state and a month of this (plus towing a heavy trailer by bike around the countryside of Brail ) certainly added to my physical, mental and emotional crash when I came back to Brisbane.

So fast forward to Red Bull China.

I didn’t have the right headlights which caused so real issues at night.

I packed the wrong shoes which were almost like slippers (which unbelievably I was able to run nearly 48km in them with no issues!) I broke my chain and got caught in a vine which ripped my right arm – with either sweat or salt water it stung so bad paracetamol didn’t even touch the sides (although I was kept warm at night due to my body’s reaction that kept me burning throughout the cold night in the tent.)

The bike/run section (where 2 team members run and 2 team members bike) I had to use my team mates bike which is probably a Large with the seat as high as it could go. I could barely get my legs over the bar to get on and riding it certainly wasn’t a rest. I was huffing and puffing and working so hard and over the river bed rocks I fell off twice, ripped my pants on Tim’s drink bottle holder and smashed it right off when I fell off again. I was so far behind the guys I had a wee cry to myself as I told myself to just hang in there, my body burning with the harsh sun on the sores and scratches on my legs and arms, the huge ding in my pride and the overhanging doubt over my lack of physical ability…

Now what I’ve learnt over the past few years is that whatever happened I created it.

I don’t believe in such thing as bad or good luck.

When i fall off or get a puncture my bike, get ripped off, find myself being abused at or taken for a ride; I believe I created it.

I believe the Universe puts things in our path to teach us, and the same things will keep appearing (or usually get bigger and more devastating) if you don’t learn the lesson or chose to ignore them.
The great thing about my belief is that whatever happens to me I know I have control over it.
It’s not someone else’s fault (no matter what they do to me) or a freak accident. I created it.

I know my (unsuccessful) race was all my doing.
And mostly from my head.

I got lots of reminders by butterflies during the day (which remind me of my dead Father who is telling me to appreciate and find the beauty in the present moment) but I didn’t really tune in to the message.
I believe I hadn’t adequately prepared my mind and my spirit self and because of that my Ego mind took over and became dominant.

But what a fantastic learning opportunity it gave me yet again!

Having come back to Brisbane (for a week before heading off to another Adventure Race in China) I found a Tarot card upside down in my Office, knowing full well this was another message for me.

And this is what it said to me:

Six of Wands:
This card indicates that you have harnessed your strengths and talents in order to bring about a successful outcome in your endeavours.You have overcome the challenges along the way, and now you are focusing your energies on the one goal that will lead to your success. This is your time to shine and to come out on top.

The Six of Wands is such positive encouragement to believe in who you are and your accomplishments so far. Have faith in what you have personally achieved and how this will be received by others. Do not let fear or guilt stand in the way of your success. You ought to feel proud of what you have achieved and not afraid to hold your head up high and feel worthy of others’ attention.

The Six of Wands focused on creating success and building your personal brand and reputation. You may need to promote yourself more frequently by sharing your success stories with others and encouraging them to follow a similar journey.

Thank you Universe!

Just the messaged I needed to hear!


I have been truly scared to invite people to share in my journey. Who am I to think people would care? Who am I to think I have something important to share? Who the hell am I??!!!

I do know that i am bigger that my fears (and part of me is scared what the Universe could do if I chose to ignore her haha!) and that in taking a leap of faith personally it may help you also take that leap of faith.

So, as maybe some of you may know, I’m on a journey of self discovery and potential.

I have seen the incredible benefits of adopting a plant based (Vegan) lifestyle and believe that this will bring out the best in me for my future Athlete career.

I also believe that this is the best way for both myself and my mental, spiritual and physical health, but also for the planet, the environment and for the greater good and respect to all living things.

I invite you to share in my journey (which will be via Youtube) and my transformation to a World Class Athlete.

I hope to share my highs and lows, with raw honesty and with lots of laughs along the way (the first videos I’ve edited still have me in laughter!) and I hope that in by doing this is might also encourage you to go after the best version of yourself both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I wish to use myself as example that anything is possible, and that anything can happen.

Do I 100% believe in myself?
But I know how important it is to my success and it is a work in progress.

Come on the transformation journey with me! 🙂
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By andreapeebles

Chinese 24hr Adventure Race: Suqian

2 weeks ago I traveled to Suqian, China to compete in a 24hr Adventure Race with 3 Men I’d met over the Internet (ha!)

We came together as strangers to Mountain Bike, Swim, Roller Skate, Run, Abseil, and Paddle over 220km and left as great friends.

We had the amazing support of Chimpanzee who are an amazing all natural energy bar, with both Raw and Vegan bars (and so freaken yum!) as I’m in transition to a full Vegan Lifestyle this was just awesome! (Milan is also an awesome fellow Vegan.)

Also me being Chinese Year of the Monkey and an avid Banana lover, it sure was a great fit (and the Guys were awesome with their Monkey noises they made throughout the race too!)

We had such an amazing race and worked so so well together (after the first leg 2km disjointed ocean swim, and then we began to work well.)
Romans, Milan and Andris were all talented Athletes and fabulous on Roller Skates (and on Bike and Run.)
I’d learnt to skate only 6 weeks prior and was very hesitant.
After our practice session the day before where I fell backwards and took the skin off my butt (which made for a nice change from my left elbow!) and hurt my back I was even more hesitant but quickly found I could completely rely on Andris (physically and mentally) during our 20km Skate – I could lean on him, fall on him, use him to stable me, or pull me along and I had 100% trust in him travelling at times 24-26km/hr.

During the race the 50min Skate was so mentally taxing on me and I used every bit of mental focus I had to stay relaxed, to breathe and keep my weight forward and my butt back – If anyone manages to get photos (the streets were lined with Chinese Photographers and Camera Men) my expressions will be priceless!

We were all super strong on the bike, found a steady rhythm on the Paddle and found ourselves in 5th position after the second leg.

After establishing quite early on, the fact we didn’t have the required GPS was going to make finding our checkpoints rather challenging but Andris made super work navigating off the very rough (and not designed to navigate off) map.

After Roman’s telling me he ‘hated’ paddling I made short work of that negative energy and ordered him (yes I can be a bossy Leo when need be ha!) to channel his loving energy to our Kayak (which was now referred to as the Kayak of love) – also Chimpanzee Bar’s are ‘made with love’ so this was also right on brand wink emoticon

After an issue with Milan’s leaking seal on the bike, a tyre change (and a quick stretch for me whilst I waited – bliss!) we held 5th position through the 65km ride, 4km run, abseil down a 29th story building, 54km Mountain bike and settled into a steady run for the final 40km.

We were told 4th place was 400m in front which was fuel we needed and in stealth mode (with headlights off) we charged on ahead eager to catch our new targets. However the map we were navigating off was as useful as a doodle pad and with no GPS we found ourselves very lost, and rather frustrated.

After quite a while we found a map of the Park we were in Andris amazingly was able to roughly navigate with that. After probably an extra 60mins running lost we came into the finish line after 16hours in 6th place!!!
We were so stoked, especially when comparing our split times with the other incredible teams!! Wow!

Super effort guys! It was such a great race with lots of laughs! The way it should be! 🙂
** And the best part was Roman’s said his favourite leg was the Kayak!! So awesome how a change in attitude can change everything!

A huge thank you to Chimpanzee Bars for their incredible support, to my Sponsors Felt Bicycles Australia for my weapon Edict and Cycle Mania for keeping it running smoothly, and to everyone else for their warm wishes and support.

Lastly to my Monkeys. Thanks for making my first Chinese Adventure Racing experience unforgettable. You guys rock!!!

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By andreapeebles

World Multisport Championships: Death drives determination

My journey to compete at the Speights Coast to Coast World Multisport Championships started midway into 2014 after a string of successful Adventure Racing results. I decided it was time to return to the race that I had promised myself next time I’d really see what I was capable of.
Death drives determination
Back in 2008 I’d completed the 243km race as a 2 day individual, my Father on my support crew who was in the depth of Prostate Cancer. I’d surprised both myself and my support crew (who were often relaxing in transition not expecting me so soon) and I placed 10th Female. This was the start of opening my eyes to what my body and mind was capable of and after my Father died, I set off overseas determined to make the most of life and all its opportunities.


Living in Brisbane I trained on the Brisbane River, with its limited white water (read none) and off road running conditions fairly tame compared to the rugged, harsh, rocky New Zealand terrain.

A trip over to New Zealand at Christmas to train on the course had me tear the ligaments in my ankle which meant the 4 weeks lead up was not quite as I had planned.

When I arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand 2 days before the race I sat in my kayak for the first time in a Swimming Pool, feeling thankful it isn’t leaking. My support crew who had driven down 1000km from Auckland and my family hurriedly set to work until 11pm to sort my pump and drinking system in my kayak.

On route to Kumara, the west coast start for the 243km Coast to Coast journey we tested out the drinking system in a lake (which miserably failed and required last minute problem solving) and practiced my transitions with support crew. Whilst painfully catching my arm in the zip whilst running putting on my life jacket we were pleased we’d practised and believed that things could only get better.

Arriving at a very quiet Kumara Race Course we set up camp in the Kitchen, happy not to use our tent. By 1130pm I was grumpily taking my flat air bed to sleep in the bathroom to remove myself from a choir of snoring.


D Day dawns!

At 4am on Saturday 14th of February I was eating cereal and fruit and both excitedly and nervously thinking of the mission ahead.

Racking my bike in the dark and walking downhill towards the ocean to line up at the start I was thankful it wasn’t that cool (especially coming from a QLD Summer.)

I had been seeded 8th so I positioned myself next to 6th and after a crack of jokes and smack talking from Nathan Fa’avae (World Champion Adventure Racer) we were off!

The crazy start of the 243km race involves a mad 2.4km dash from the beach to our bikes (for 55km of riding.) This leg is draft legal so there’s huge pressure to run hard to get yourself in a fast bunch.

I’d worked hard (considering my injured ankle) to improve my run, being likened to a diesel engine and most definitely not the Road Runner.

Getting onto my bike in 5th place I quickly settled into a bunch.

The peloton was riding at a slower pace that I wanted, although there was no one ahead to push to a faster bunch so I just tried to relax.


No one willing to do the hard work

The first person in the Peloton does most of the work leading the group. There were only a few of us willing to take on the head wind to lead the bunch. The others sitting in behind each other getting an easy ride and saving their energy, despite annoyed comments from the leaders for them to take a turn.

Coming off the bike my crew was easy to spot in red. We’d assumed they would be able to run with me in the transition, every second standing still was time I could be moving forward, however it was not the case. I remember looking at my food and drink on the ground instead of accessible in my crew’s hand and made the split decision it would take too much time, taking off down the farm track whilst pulling my bag on.

Whilst struggling to get my breath I realised I still had my ankle reflectors on and my GPS tracker hadn’t been changed over. I took a few frustrated minutes whilst running to change it and ripped the zip tie which meant the tracker was uncomfortably smacking my shoulder for the whole run. It then dawned on me that in my impatience I didn’t take in my necessary fuel and I cursed myself even more, my mood becoming darker and darker as more and more people passed me.


Ill judgments taking its toll

Crossing the first river I dipped my cup into the icy water talking in overdue hydration and headed onto the track along the river. This was not my plan as the day before I had worked out a direct line along the river bed – what was I doing?! After I got my foot caught on a tree root and smashed to the ground it dawned on me I needed food and quick.

The 33km run was tough, rough and technical, and involved picking your way through the rocky river bed up the Deception Valley.

I was battling with my mind, visually taking a baseball bat to my negative thoughts, however the more people that passed me the more angry I got with myself for not being faster, and the more those negative thoughts gained power.

It was a cold 12 degrees at the bottom of the valley and after taking a full body plunge whilst tripping running through the river and getting momentarily carried downstream, I was feeling cold.

As I reached the top of Goats Pass I crammed snakes into my mouth hoping they’d dissolve and I wouldn’t have to swallow them and irritate the already sick feeling in my gut.

On the final 5km along rocks and pebbles into Klondyke Corner all I could think about was the ‘rest’ I’d get when on my bike (‘resting’ being code for going as fast as you can and making up time.)

My next transition was quick and I put on my camel bak full of Infinit so I could concentrate on sucking in calories and powering my pedals for 15km. The first suck to the tube and the fluid poured out and didn’t stop until it was empty. There just went my nutrition! Five minutes previously I had angrily thrown off my full drink bottle, not wanting to carry an extra 750gms, now I regretted that decision.

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Lack of food and emotions run high

Running 1km down to my kayak I became tearful, my emotions running wild as the lack of nutrition getting to me. I ran stuffing in banana and rice and could almost instantly feel my body respond with more energy.

Due to risk of Hyperthermia with the cold temperature and winds, paddle jackets were compulsory. I spotted a woman in the water before me and made a note to catch her.

The 70km paddle of braids and a stunning gorge with grade two rapids along the mighty Waimakariri River was tough. After 90minutes I was sucking air in my camel bak – how did I manage to finish 4hours of nutrition in 90mins? Did my support crew mix it wrong? My dark thoughts took over. What was I going to do? I had 55km to go, 1 gel and 1 banana. I’d have to slow my pace down.

At Woodstock the plan was to eat my banana but as I reached into my pocket i couldn’t find it.

Did it fall out?


I was so certain I’d seen it.

Was I hallucinating already?

In Multi-day Adventure Races sleep monsters can be very real, but I’d only been going 10 hours!

I had a bit of a whimper as I envisioned the last hour on empty.

Further along I spotted a people on the river bank and yelled out to them for food. A guy ran into the water pushing a muesli bar into my hands and I felt the cells of my body leap with joy as I made quick work of the bar and paddled the remaining 10km of braided river with a (slight) smile.


New found strength on the bike

When I was lifted out of my kayak, I ran 800m uphill on wobbly legs to start the windy flat cycle to the finish at Brighton Pier.

Being told I was 8th and it was possible to catch 3 Women, I was excited to get on my bike and make short work of the 70km along the Canterbury Plains. I took off feeling fast and strong. My speedo read 34.6km/hr average and I told myself to hang on as I starred down the long and straight South Eyre road, passing 3 men but seeing no women in sight.

An hour in and I started sucking on air from my camelbak and that sinking ill feeling washed over me. Out again so soon?! This should not have happened!

My arms were aching as I started to see the speed on my speedo fall and I grumpily gave up hope of a fast final ride, opting to finish feeling good and not driving myself into the ground.

The run up the finishing chute at Brighton Pier to receive my can of Speights from the one and only 9 times winner Steve Gurney, and I’d done it.

243km from one side of New Zealand to the other, in 8th place in a time of 15hours and 56 seconds!
I’d learnt a tremendous amount about myself and the race and all I could talk about was ‘Next time…’
Yip 2016, I’ll be back!


A massive thank you to my amazing support crew (often putting up with my grumpy hunger!) Felt Bicycles and the Peebles Group, and the impressive Richard Ussher with his new and definitely improved role as Coast to Coast Race Director.
Wow what a race!

But what if you don’t really believe in yourself?

Believe in yourself!

If you can believe it you can achieve it!

If you don’t believe in you, who will?

You have to believe!!
What on earth does that mean?!
The most powerful six letter word in the dictionary – belief- but how do you get to a place where you 100% believe in yourself?

As anything less is doubt. 

And doubt is the equivalent of looking at that huge big rock as you’re riding around the corner (as opposed to out of the corner, where you want to go.) 

And as you know, if you focus on something, whether it’s negative or positive, that is exactly where you’ll go.
So I think back to some incredible achievements I’ve had, and did I 100% believe in myself? 
But hang on. 
I 100% believed in the possibility.
Heading in my first Mountain Bike Race, Hidden Vale 24hr, someone had commented that I was a nobody (which as a form

of motivation for me, someone saying I can’t do something or am not good enough, is strongly motivational for me.) It was suggested I enter this race (being 4 days before it started) and aim to win it.
Now this gets me to another point. 
Just because you 100% believe it can happen, doesn’t mean it will happen (well maybe not right away.)*

There are certain things like the Law of Physics, Gravity for example does exist, and (right now)* no matter how much ‘I believe’ I’m sure I won’t fly off the top of a building. 

So just ‘believing’ something to be true doesn’t make it true. I also know this having worked in Mental Health where people believed they had super powers and/or were God or the CIA —> now maybe they did (and I’m definitely not excluding this as a possibility, however at the time their actions didn’t back up their claims.)

 *this is also why I’m stating that right now it’s not possible, however I’m not excluding the fact that maybe we could do incredible things like run at the speed of light, but our thinking capabilities right now hold us back.
Anyway, right now, believing you may be able to do something really needs to be backed up by evidence to foster the belief.

 In the case of my Mountain Bike Race, I was fit, I was strong, and no I’d never ridden a bike for 24hr straight before, however I knew that if I could keep a constant pace and not stop to sleep, then winning it was a possibility. 
And so I did.

I won the race.
When I entered the Australian Titles 24hr Obstacle Race, I had only competed in 2 Obstacle Races before,; The Tough Mudder 3 years earlier and True Grit 11km 6 weeks out from the competition. 

I knew in order to podium at the event (this was my aim) I’d need to get very strong. I knew I’d have the stamina to keep running all through the night and the next day without needing to stop much. 

Despite having very little idea of what was in store for me in terms of obstacles and terrain over those 24hours, I was hopeful and confident I would do well.
Did I 100% believe in myself?

Hell no!
Did I 100% believe that it was possible I could get top 3?

Hell yes!
And so I did.

I came 2nd.
Now if I was to compete at the event this year, I know now what to expect and I’d train to make me stronger and faster, what to wear, what to eat etc etc 

Of course this would add to my self belief ‘pool’ and I’d go into the event believing I could do it (as opposed to believing the possibility of me doing well.)
And so the more I do, and succeed in my goals, the more my self belief grows.
But more so, the more my belief in ‘the possible’ increases and the bigger (and more crazy) my goals get. 
Imagine, with the right training, support, preparation, fuel, and the right mindset techniques and strategies etc what could be possible?! 
Wow now that excites me!
So yes, in order to succeed at your goals, whether it be to lose weight, get into a sports team, start up your own business, build your own home or cycle around the World etc you need to 100% believe in yourself that you can make it happen.
Having 100% belief is so hard, especially when you’re starting out so I dare you to instead, believe in the possibly. 
Is it possible you could …run a Marathon, lose 20kg, start a family, leave your job and pursue your passion? (please insert what ever it is that you want to achieve here)

**If someone else has done it, then yes, yes it is most definitely possible!
So believe in the possible. 

100% believe that whatever you want is possible.

Then watch your life change
Go strong x 


By andreapeebles