Monday, November 25, 2019

My 12 hour mega sore-arse challenge

The Fat Loss & Performance Coach

My mega sore-arse challenge

If you've read this far, then yes you read that title correctly, because riding for 12 hours on a Watt bike is actually more about the pain tolerance between your arse cheeks, than muscular or cardio vascular endurance.

Ok-ok that's not entirely true, I'm just still pissed off at that saddle.  But the actual challenge I set myself was to do 12 hours on the Watt bike, without an official rest (so toilet breaks were included).  

Why? Well what set it off I guess, was listening the audible book 'you can't hurt me' by David Goggins.  Basically, he had it rough in his younger years, turned his life around, had a very successful career in the US military and has become one of the most recognised ultra endurance athletes on the planet.  The book got me fired up, simple as that and that was only half way through (I actually finished the rest on the bike).  Without going too deep, I've got some personal stuff going on in my life right now, arguably controllable/not and I'm itching to take back some sort of control again.  

I've done some 'ultra stuff' before including obstacle courses, running and cycling and wanted to have another go at something.  At the moment I can't run too long-a-distance due to an injury, so thought 'fuck it, let's do 12 hours on the bike' instead, 

That was on a Thursday.   On the Friday I committed, by telling my clients and colleagues what I was going to be doing on my Saturday night.  I mean what else would I rather being doing at Ufit on a Saturday night - right ?


To be honest there wasn't that much planning involved, but these were the things I thought about:

  1. Food.  I knew I was going to need fuel-loads of carbs!  So the day before I went a bought x2 massive wraps, filled with rice, pasta veg and chicken.  x5 pack of raisin and cinnamon bagels.  x6 bags of jelly bean like sweets. x2 bananas.  7ltrs of water and a tube of electrolytes.
  2. Footware.  I don't have cycle shoes, so opted for my Reebok nanos, as they have a solid flat base, ideal for not losing force on the pedals.
  3. The bike.  Orginally was going to use a spin bike, as the saddle's relatively more comfortable compared to the Watt bike.   But I realised the monitor was battery operated and I couldn't risk those batteries running out 8 hours in, no fucking way!  So the Watt bike it was.
  4. Toilet breaks.  I moved the bike as close to the toilet as possible. Sole reason being, the monitor  goes into standby after 60 seconds, the trip had to be quick!
  5. All to-hand.  I had a box right next to the bike with all my food, water and snacks on it.
  6. Saddle saw.  Didn't really plan for this one.  I grabbed a towel and wrapped it over the saddle (because I saw someone in the gym earlier do it and thought it was a good idea). 
  7. Tunes.  Stuck the Sonos speakers on a 24 hour dance station.  I couldn't have shite (to my ears anyway) playing in background, with no way of changing it.

Off we go then 

After my last client at 1200, I grabbed some eggs, bacon and toast for the 'last super', set the bike up and by 1pm I was off.  The gym had a few people in and I was in good spirits.  But then it got quiet and I was solo by 2pm.  One of the girls actually gave me two more towels for the saddle before she went, but by hour 8, that still wasn't enough.  For last 4 hours I had to switch to sitting on my hands every now and then, to relieve the pain.

I was setting a great pace, as in my head I originally was aiming for 250km, but the pace I was going should've been more like 400km!  When I realised that (hour 4), I upped my output and that was a big mistake!

At the 6th hour it all of a sudden felt like I hit a wall.  My thighs started to cramp and seize.  I was fucked.  For the next hour I had to ease off, try and massage my legs, downed a load of electrolytes, a banana and start meditating, all whilst still pedalling.

7th hour, I was back in and all went well until I needed my first wee.  Shit! I didn't want to waste anymore time.  So downed the last few mouthfuls of water and tore open the top of plastic bottle with my teeth (didn't plan for this one).  Taking a piss into a sharp edge plastic bottle, whilst maintaining revolutions on the pedals is a 'mish'.  So after that, I took the risk of jumping off the bike and getting to the toilet and making it back in under the 60 seconds, before the monitor reset.

8 hours in the pain was unreal. I really had to dig deep and focus.  The main thing I was focusing on was the digits.  The 1km split time, the 15min pace-the 30 min pace - the hour pace - the predicted finish distance.

In my head I was thinking, 'just do 10 hours, it's ok, that's still a good time',  'you've done well over 250km, which is a good distance'.   The opposite converstation was 'Yep, but I said I'd do 12 hours'.  I'd set the bar, I couldn't bear the thought of telling people I only did 10 hours.  To me, it would've been only doing half the job.  I'd have been a quitter.  How could I tell my clients that I finished early, what sort of example would I be setting, if I stopped when it was tough?  'Nah, crack on Snowy and stop moaning'.

When I got to midnight I was completely fucked.   Please bear in mind I hadn't trained for this and the most cycling I'd done in the last year, was a couple of 45 minute spin classes and an hour on the Watt bike earlier in the week.  In my mind Midnight was like my 'finish line', because the last hour -'power hour', was all downhill (probably not the best choice of words).  But I knew I wasn't going to stop in the last hour, it was going to be mental.

Each minute dragged like an another hour.  I fucking hated the monitor being in front of me at this point.  I'd kept my head down, which put more pressure on my raw as hell 'no mans land'.  Every time I looked up a the monitor, after which felt like a good 10 minutes, actually  showed 37 seconds or something.  'Ahhhh man, give me a break'.  I stuck on some head phones and started re-listening to David Goggins for inspiration.  It didn't help if I was honest.

10 minutes left!  All sort of expletives were coming out of my foul mouth at this point.  It's not even that my legs felt like lead, they weren't heavy, they were fucked.  It felt like they were being sliced open repetitively by an old rusty garden rake.

1am Sunday morning, I was done, with a total distance of 324km completed. I jumped off the bike and when I say jumped, I mean I had to order a grab to take me to the floor.  It was like my legs just shut down and said 'fuck you Phil, we ain't taking you anywhere'.  So I kinda just flopped to the floor.  I tried to stretch, but again my thighs gave me two fingers up - they were not bending.

All I wanted to do was stop the pain.  I got in the showers and did some contrast bathing on my thighs (hot/cold showing to flush the fluids in my legs).  I must've been in that shower feeling sorry for myself for about 45 minutes.

I head home at 0230am, walking like 'Captain Peg legs' to get the next obstacle...

What was the point of that then?

The point was to myself.  I didn't do this for charity.  I didn't do it to prove anything to anyone other me.  It was for my own inner achievement - my own sick satisfaction that I could put myself though that my pain and still walk away smiling.  

I guess the lesson I could share this;
  1. Make a decision and act on it as soon as possible.
  2. Commit yourself and tell others you intentions.  There may be fear behind this, even pressure.  `But man up' and just do it.
  3. Plan as much as possible but don't procrastinate.  Cover as many bases as possible, but don't over think it.  Sometimes it might not go exactly to plan, but sometimes you 'just have to jump and build a plane on the way down'.
  4. Chunk down your goal into smaller achievable bites.  I focused on my distance covered by hour, 1/2 hour and 15 mins.  Once I couldn't physically keep that pace any longer, I changed it. 
  5. Eliminate distractions, you need to be focused and to get into the zone.  In front of me I had a grey wall and fire extinguisher to look at - no youtube, no Netflix.  Those numbers is all cared about.
  6. When you want to give up, that's only the body forcing the mind to agree.  Tell the body to 'fuck off', you've still got plenty in you!
  7. The pain is worth the reward.  As I say this challenge was purely for me.  It revived my mind, when I was in place where mentally, things are exhausting, but this gave me my 'control' back.  Now I can apply this to any other difficult situations. 
  8. Keep smiling.  Keep finding the funny side.  You put yourself in that situation, no one else, so you've got to laugh at the sadistic irony.
So that was my little challenge.  I'd love to hear some of your achievements and even suggestions for what I could do next.   

Keep it real folks 


Have tough challenge at the moment or facing you in the future?  Let's have a chat to see if I can help you get through it...


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