Stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to amazing experiences.
My first step was taken this morning, Lycra, sunscreen and “The Northern Express”. Goodbye Darwin, Broome here I come.
Riding down the road heading for my first of many nights camping alone was liberating. Not because I had 109 kilometres to go on day one (I have done many training rides further than that over the last few years), but because I realized being alone right now was exactly what I needed.
I truly took it all in today – the fresh air, well to start with then it got to 39 degrees. I caught up with two guys riding to Brisbane (boy they will find that quite hard) This peaceful solitude didn’t seem to eventuate, came across another guy walking to Adelaide, not Adelaide River but the very bottom of Australia. He was pushing a three wheel contraption absolutely full of gear. The never ending distant view in front of me got a little tough with the temperature rising and the slow climb over the last 30kms.
From time to time being alone is exactly what we need, time to reflect and time to clean out the mind. I read an article once, that went something like this;
“Plan a cleaning or decluttering session. Get rid of things that are collecting dust or that you have been hanging onto because you’ll feel guilty if you throw them out. Only keep things that make you happy or are important.” This could be said of your storage shed/room or your mind.
One of my ‘Two Page’ stories ‘MEMORIES IN THE MIND’ talks about this removing of bad memories, ‘These traumatic memories of the abuse are keeping me awake at night, I don’t want to end up being a broken man. With that thought in mind, I went searching for the toxic boxes in my brain’s memory room’, and threw them out.
Of course there are some boxes I missed in that first cleanout and during ride I will be leaving those boxes on the side of the road as if they were ‘road kill’.
Only one more sleep till Kenny Mac or as I like to call him ‘Old man’ hits the road peddling.
Yesterday was the official beginning of the adventure. We set off at 5am to get Dad and his 5 bags (including his man bag) to the airport. The oversize luggage drop off lady didn’t know what was coming, LOL, 81 kgs of luggage, mind you that was not including the weight of his man bag and carry on.
Even after we sorted out the luggage the old man was still sooooo nervous/excited all in one and didn’t know what to do with himself. After having a giggle at mum being drug tested (couldn’t get a photo as I didn’t think it was the right time to piss off the AFP) we sat down and enjoyed some breaky.
We got to the boarding gate with an hour and 40mins to spare. At this point while we were waiting he said ‘ I guess it’s too late to back out now’ ha ha. Mum’s answer was yes, my answer was – you could always just google pictures and fake it, LOL. We said our goodbyes and waved, 3 times to be exact as he walked down the boarding gate.
Proud of you ‘old man’
I am overwhelmed with all the kind messages and support that I have been receiving since sharing my story and launching the blog.
I have been asked by so many how they can support me or if they can make a donation. For those of you who wish to make a donation we have set up a fundraising page to raise awareness and money for Bravehearts.
Bravehearts is a fantastic Australian Organisation that has successfully moved the subject of abuse out of the shadows and into the light. It works hard to educate, empower and protect Australian kids from Sexual Abuse. It also provides ongoing support for those who have been abused.
If you wish to make a donation please click on Link below.
Thank you for your ongoing support
6 Days to Go
You might be thinking how I am feeling so close to “kick off”. I did expect to have my excitement factor on the higher side of the Richter scale. But, the ‘getting everything ready’ and the ‘have I forgotten anything’, nerves have been all engulfing the last few weeks. The 3AM wakeup calls with thoughts like “Do I need a small extension cord?” (For the power at the tent site of the caravan parks) I can’t leave my gear at the power pole charging because it may disappear. My dear mind please let me sleep……
Goodness, if I took everything I thought I might require on the trip I would need to bring a pack camel with me. Last week-end I practiced packing and I was only allowing myself to have what is essential. My family are insisting that I mail a small food parcel to Kununurra, half-way point, just before the long dirt road section. This would mean that I won’t need to carry it with me on the first part of the journey…… the jury is still out on that one.
I have this feeling that when I start the ride I’ll be totally relaxed. Knowing that I have prepared well and the realisation that if I have forgotten anything I will just get on with it because when it comes down to it, all I really need is the bike, food, water and a destination.
‘Bang and that just happened!’- A motto from Ryan Schultz (my son in law). It’s not like I’m riding around Australia as others have done before.
Friends…. without them we would be lost, with them we laugh and get through a lot of shit in our lives.
I have been saving, planning and training for this bike ride for around 14 months now. Stu Wagner (Wags), one of my great friends, who is also an ultra-runner, gave me the money to pay for my Mountain Bike Trailer. This made the very next day quite exciting, I ordered my DOM – T2 Trailer. Some of you may wonder where I got the name for my bike and trailer combo…… It was from Wags.
‘The Northern Express’ was born.
I have a little insight into our friendship for you all…..
Picture this………About 26 runners, all continually running around a 400 metre athletic track (competing in the Queensland 24 hour track race) of which 2 of them are Wags and myself. The first over-night event I ever entered. It was around 2:00 AM, it is quite dark (lights had been dimmed), that Wags and I stopped for a meal break and drink. Eating wasn’t an issue but as your body quickly cools down some of the pain in your legs kicks in. I took a few caffeine tablets (NoDoz+) and yes, a couple of pain killers. Wags told me that this next section of the run could be a little difficult (body and mind) and to just focus on running in small steps, but keep running. When the sun comes up your mind gets a new lease of energy.
During that last dark section of the morning, after refuelling, I put all of Wags’ advice into action and I ran like I was Hermes himself. At times it seemed I was running at the same pace as Wags, OMG! I felt good. At the 7:30AM finish, it was announced the winner was Wags with 166 kms and I ran 121 kms. I think this proves that you can run while asleep (I must have nodded off, as I was sure I was pacing with Wags). He was named Queensland’s 24 hour champion (second year in a row).
Wags, a big thanks from Kenny Mac.
For 15 years I have been walking in and out of the local bike shop, Camden Discount Cycles. To this day I have purchased 5 bikes, a truck load of tires, tubes and a huge range of other gear, including my new Giant Talon 27.5, which I bought especially for my upcoming Darwin to Broome ride.
Yvonne does all the researching while John and the mechanics have built and made all the additions to “The Northern Express” with total ease. With John’s knowledge of bikes and his own experience in riding, racing and touring he came up with some great ideas along the way.
Their help over the past 14 months has been wonderful. It didn’t matter what question or silly idea I had, it was answered. (John would always let me know if my idea was too wacky!!). His honesty made my somewhat stressful time funny.
I cannot Thank John, Yvonne and the Team enough for their time and effort in perfecting “The Northern Express” Thank-you so much.
I woke up this morning and it hit me…… only 24 days to go and the D2B (Solo Mountain Bike ride with trailer from Darwin to Broome, 1,900 kms approx, 21 days) starts. I have to admit I did not feel calm. The words that would come to mind are anxious, nervous a tad excited but overall I could say “holy shit it is happening”.
I have always given this piece of advice to people that are getting ready for a big event. Don’t use all your fuel sources on your nervous energy before the race (on the day or the lead up). So I gave this advice to myself this morning. I have gone over my list of things to do and I have started to check one job off at a time (calmly)……
With this I thought I would share some information with you all on my “Bum Cream” Now on my page “Planning & Research” I explained that chafing may not seem like a problem however when you are riding everyday it can become not only extremely painful but can also lead to other health concerns such as Fungal Infections and Infections.
A very good friend of mine, Laurie Cavallaro is a very dedicated ultra-event man. A couple of them are The Simpson Desert MTB race and The Marathon des Sables. I have been so lucky that he has shared his advice on the best remedy for Chafing. Laurie shared his remedy with me which consists of Wool Fat, Antiseptic, Numbing and Steroid components.
With the help of my girls today we mixed up all our creams and whalllaaaa “Bum Cream” is ready.
To many of you, I am probably known officially as the ‘crazy old man’. My next event, a Solo mountain bike ride from Darwin to Broome, is not just an extreme physical adventure, but is a journey of the mind body and soul. This bike ride (D2B) is where I will find the real me, I will be so far outside my comfort zone that it should bare the rawness of my soul. This is a part of my healing (My Story) because I now know that I’m not a dirty person and certainly not a bad person.
Twenty years ago I read a story of the Native American Indian Elders sending their young men out to fend for themselves in the wilderness to find direction in their lives. I feel I am in need of that direction at this moment in my life. Hey! I know I’m sixty, but I don’t think age is a barrier and of course it’s not the wilderness, but it is certainly outside my comfort zone.
Another lovely saying that typifies my bike ride, ‘Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere; and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself -Anon’.
Watch this space!