On june 23 in the afternoon I boarded the train from Copenhagen to Kalmar in Sweden to do the crossing from the east coast to the west coast on mountainbike. Approximately 410 km, ranging between long straight dirt roads through the endless woods, animal paths and rolling forest floor covered with rocks, toppled trees and moss. My bike was packed with tent, sleeping bag, freeze dried servings, snacks, a gas stove and a lot of other stuff. More about that in another post. I have done some 24-hour solo races, the longest covering 264 km in the wood Rude Skov close to Copenhagen. Nevertheless I was uncertain how my body would react to the long trip with luggage on the bike and between 3 to 6 kilos on my back, depending on the content of my water bladder. The trip should be the first in a series of trips aiming to get my body accustomed to the long days in the saddle and test my choice of clothes and gear for the Arizona Trail Race. And of course first of all just a nice experience.
I am reading the book The Ultra Mindset by the ultra runner Travis Macy, and even though it might seem exaggerated for a pleasure ride across Sweden, I was determined to try out some of the tools in the book. First of all the "why" and "what" terms. "Why", that in its negative interpretation will drain your mind and body of all motivation, has to be reversed to a positive motivation. "Why" is used when you are certain that you are on the right path, but begin to lack motivation. "What" is used whenever all your focus is needed on navigation or any other task where your full attention is acquired, and "why" is not in the question. I used "why" a lot to get the concept under my skin. Usually not a problem with the magnificent nature surrounding me. Ravens, capercaillie and countless deer. I used it when I was pitching my tent in a swarm of mosquitos, where I could literally scrape mosquitos off my arms and legs. "Good way of teaching myself to pitch the tent in a stressfull situation", I thought to myself. An when I had 50 km left before reaching Varberg on the second day, I used the next days weather forecast which predicted heavy rainfall, as a motivation to continue even though I was pretty sore. It was a good way to test the mindset. And it worked, giving me the last drop of motivation to continue. "What" was practised the few times when the gps track was directing me through a section with no trail. All my focus was on the gps track and how to tackle the obstacles in front of me.
With regard to the gear I brought too much. But the idea was to be openminded in my packing and see what was left unused. I used only one set of clothing, but have to bring one spare set. But the stove will probably stay at home for the AZT race. The terrain is extremely rough and lightweight is a must.