“When Ray asked me to write an article on my Spring Challenge experience I thought heck I could easily write a novel. But he required only 200 words. It was three weeks from Spring Challenge kick off. I get the important text “Ness would you want to be in my team the Stoken Hopefulls for Spring Challenge?” I didn’t need to be asked, I was in. I did feel a slight pang of guilt when I signed up. I felt like I was dropping my uncommitted team mates Marg and Rach for this other team. I had no idea of my “new” team mates strengths and weaknesses. I felt confident I had a good base level of fitness.
But how was I going to be instrumental to this teams success of completing the Veterans 6 hour category in a respectable time. Saturday 26 September 6am we are in the middle of hundreds of women waiting for Nathan to give us the whistle and we were off. I quickly discovered then my race goals were very different to my team. Theirs was to complete the race and have FUN. Mine was to finish it as fast as humanly possible. This is a race for goodness sake. Fun doesn’t come anywhere into my thinking ~ push yourself to the max until it hurts. I can thank Rach and Marg for that. Save the fun for training. That’s where you learn how your team mates think and perform. What did I enjoy the most? Clambering over rooty rutty rocky tracks. Wading through streams and feeling the icy cold water seep through my shoes and soothe my hot sweaty feet. There was one section you had to scale a hill about two stories high using a rope for safety. Unfortunately it broke earlier in the race. A competitor fell and fractured her leg. Mental note to self in future races: with any equipment send your team mates out first. I do highly recommend mountain biking around Wanaka. I had plenty of time to absorb the scenery on race day. The mountain bike tracks in Slippery Forrest are fast flowy with lots of jumps and chicken runs. After a long 10.30 hours we crossed the finish line. I am sure if Stacey and Cassie had signed up with Ray’s Qwik Kiwi programme we would’ve been WAY more competitive.
Ray a huge thank you for your guidance and support this year. I appreciate your time and patience. I believe I have become more determined and as a result I am a stronger fitter athlete. I look forward to what you have in store for me for Coast to Coast training.”
– Ness Gundry
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