0

 Cart

Your cart is empty

SHIPPING $6.00
SPEND $99.00 MORE TO GET FREE SHIPPING
Total $6.00

or 4 interest free payments by Zip info

The longest long day lead up

Riding up a fire road so many times and for so long your thoughts tend to wander. One thought process for Simon Noble was the idea of undertaking an Everesting challenge. To gain the height of Mt Everest in one activity, the thought just wouldn’t shake. 

• February 11th 2022

WORDS: SIMON NOBLE  //   PHOTOS: PAUL FOLEY 

 

Why do you do that?

 

A question I’ve got frequently the past 5 months usually with a shrug and an I don’t know but it got me ticking to figure it out myself. What is “that” you might be thinking. “That” is just trying to be better, having fun, hurting, sweating a lot, being in the pain cave and just generally riding my bike up hills more than what seems mentally healthy.

These past few months have been a pretty big commitment to suffering on the bike. When it all started in July with a 1k a day personal challenge (1000m of vertical gain riding a bike) that soon blew out to a goal of 40000m for the month, then 45678m for the month.

Leading into the final week I realized if I did 1k a day I would pass the 45678m mark and a new goal of 50000m was decided on, a nice round number I felt.

But again, I passed that with a big last day of the month and 4627m gained. The extra vertical that day all spurred on by the newfound fact of only a handful of people have done 10 climbs up the access road of the Queenstown mountain bike park.

Riding up a fire road so many times and for so long your thoughts tend to wander.

One thought process was the idea of undertaking an everesting challenge.

To gain the height of Mt Everest in one activity, the thought just wouldn’t shake. A few laps passed and it was decided that if I’m doing the work with the 1k a day challenge then why not make this summer the one to do it. Within a few days, it was decided that it was going to be on the summer solstice, December 22nd.

 

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-2642.jpg

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-2697.jpg

Why the solstice you might ask? well, the day with the longest daylight hours just makes sense to me for a challenge that’s going to take some time.

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-2738.jpg

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-3783.jpg

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-3382.jpg

Less riding in the dark is less mentally fatiguing and generally just easier to see what’s coming up. The nature of the event being a long day and being on the solstice got me thinking that it’d only be appropriate to call it the longest long day.

With a date set and a name it’s as good as happening, my ideas and thoughts continue to grow with it starting to become a real thing.

I figured that if I’m going to do such an activity I may as well raise money for a worthy cause and that being the makingtrax foundation.

An inclusive tourism and outdoor sports facilitator for all. After a couple phone calls and emails to the founder Jezza. It was happening, now it’s really got to happen. All of the talk of it happening, now time to do the mahi and be physically ready.

I’ll be the first to say I know nothing about long endurance efforts but I had a theory of alternating big month of vert then a “chill” month. It feels like it’s worked alright with my fitness jumping up greatly, staying stoked on riding my bike and still getting out on the miserable, grim, wet and snowy days and nights of winter into spring.

Not every day is easy at all, I struggle to get out the door in poor weather but mostly can get myself out in the cold and wet. There’s been a few memorable days of bad weather with a day of heavy rain for an entire ride, I was wet through before even reaching the access road to start the majority of my climbing. Searching for the firmest part of the water logged gravel road, sometimes the high points are best, sometimes the stream of water is. It’s a character building experience that’s for sure, using the hose to rinse my clothes off of all the mud before undressing outside and getting in the shower to then ride to work in time for a shift.

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-2589.jpg

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-2639.jpg

 

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-4375.jpg

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-3287.jpg

_NZJ0052.jpg

Another memorable bad weather ride was another heavy rain day, I skipped my pre work ride as the forecast looked to clear up in time for an after work ride.

5pm rolls around and it’s not raining, awesome. I get changed into my riding gear and head out, half way up my first lap it’s starting to rain again and by the top snow. Not keen on hanging around for it to get worse I crack on. Its well into the dark now and the heavy snow and head light makes for a Star Wars “hyper drive” feeling but just cold and snowy.

With my glasses wet and instantly fogging up that’s no longer and option. Snow hitting me in the face and eyes, I’m keen to get the vert done and get home to be dry and warm to get ready for the next day for a 6:45am start.

With September now wrapped up with another 50000+m and a trip to the Nelson to ride some trails on my chill month.

We head off to ride the Wakamarina track, rugged is one way to describe it or even well weathered perhaps. A wee slip on an off camber rock slab and down I go like a sack of s**t. A tweak feeling in my collar bone which has previously broken and been plated. Brush myself off and we carry on for the rest of the epic trail. The following days were at The Wairoa Gorge and barely a niggle I thought I was in the clear for the collarbone. The days after The Gorge and back in Queenstown it’s apparent something isn’t right. A trip to accident and emergency is in order, a few hours later and it’s in a sling with an inconclusive outcome of no easily visible fractures but could have a minor crack somewhere. Perhaps the plate stressed the bone or a minor fracture, I don’t know. All I know is it's painful and I can’t ride. I rush and get myself a indoor trainer to connect my bike to so that I can maintain some fitness whilst I can’t ride outside. Luckily the pain subsided quickly and only 2 weeks off the bike.

Crisis averted!!

 

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-2628.jpg

Longest_Day_Paul_Foley_High_Res-2635.jpg

_NZJ0021.jpg

November rolls around and it’s time for another big month. 

I was lost for a goal at the start and then I come up with 56,789m purely because it’s an numerically ascending number.

This meant 1,892m everyday for 30 days.

It’s a daunting number when your sitting at 0m at the start of the month knowing how much time and pain your legs are going to deal with. But my pockets full of stubbornness and a variety of snacks. I head out morning and night on work days as early at 5:45am and out to as late at 9:15pm. My days off usually consisted of 2000+m days in case something went wrong on work days.

The month wasn’t the smoothest with a quite bad toothache popping up and subsequent tooth extraction having to take place but overall it was great. The daily ranged from as “low” as 780m and highest 3,294m on the final day, with a total of 61,192m for the month. I had managed to creep my daily average over 2000m a day. Big job month was done.

December is here, the nerves are building.

The day now getting quite close. I keep chipping away each day riding and setting myself up to start tapering off and being recovered for 8848m of vertical. 

At the time of writing, I’ve taken my first day off in 53 days straight of riding and just coming off a trial run with a 12hr day in the saddle and 5,327m gained.

I wanted to test out nutrition and hydration over a decently long period. What I took away from the day is that I’m feeling quite fit (mentally and physically) and able to sit in the pain cave for a long time the riding was a lot better than July’s 4627m day. I was able to focus a lot easier with less mistakes and my legs felt up to the challenge.

To get back to the why do I do that question. I have some weird theories about some life things from time to time. One of them was (whilst climbing the access road of course) that there will always be some suffering in your life no matter if you choose it or not, and the past 5 months have had quite a bit of physical suffering by choice but with no regret.

 

To me the mental clarity and happiness I get from riding my bike on the climb and the descent is something I always come back too, kind of like a bad drug habit. It’s my happy place even though it’s a place of physical suffering and pain, it’s such a positive mentally charging thing.

 

I do “that” because I love the suffer and I love riding bikes.

 


 

SUPPORTED BY 

  DYEDBRO-ok.png    Stans_Logo_Black.png 

wideopen round logotype-BLACK.png