A year ago, I was riding really well in preparation for Sani2C. I was riding with Dennis (the route director for the York Timbers Sabie Experience) and I was scared.
Dennis is a machine. Living in Sabie has given him monster climbing legs and he races a lot.
Although we were doing the adventure version of the race, we would be riding hard. And we did. It took at least six months for my left shoulder to come right after holding onto his camelbak on the hills. We had a stormer of a race coming in the top 30 teams.
But by the end of March, I had hit the wall. Hard training, stress, no supplements and my system dug in its heels and said stop. Everything crashed around me as I struggled through each day barely able to keep my eyes open past 10am.
Panic ensued as Ride 2 Rhodes was looming 10 weeks later and this was a 6 day ride, mid-winter with tough climbing and long distances.
Luckily I found a doctor with a sports medicine background and homeopathic philosophy who ordered the right blood tests and was able to refine my supplements for sport and training.
But mentally and physically, I was blown and struggled to do 40km rides and it was only my ride buddies who kept me going.
I realised that I would have to ease my way through R2R having convinced the Doc that I would take it easy and I am so glad I persevered. The upliftment I experienced in that race did more than any medication could have (although I do not dispute the need).
It took a further 6 months for my body to right itself and I really wasn't motivated to ride hard or to attempt anything big.
And then came 2009 and my wayward ambition.
So it was time to do a refresher on the blood tests and plan my training with the Doc. Physically great, mentally - I don't think there is any muti for a wandering mind that persists in day dreaming about the Freedom Challenge.
But with March looming and my intention to start training with a bit more conviction, its good to know that the slate is clean.
But it also means I have no more excuses.