Often I have found myself struggling to explain to people why I do what I do. Why ultra endurance athletes do what they do. Why would you ride your bike 20 hours a day? Ride until you cry? Race across continents? Words often escape me and I end up with a cop out saying something along the lines of ‘why not’? For people who have not been exposed to such physical and mental challenges, it is very hard to explain to them. When I told my boss on Friday I was riding over the mountains to a nearby town and back on Saturday all he could really reply with was ‘you are crazy’.
Maybe, but just a little.
Today I stumbled across this short documentary film called Length of Sweden. Somehow it manages to put into words all the things I mean to say when someone asks me why. I have been to some spectacular places while participating in ultra endurance cycling, not just geographically, but mentally and spiritually. I can’t count the times I have sat down on the side of a road, teary eyed, convinced I was quitting. But each time, I have talked myself through it, reset the goal posts and got back on the bike. And with every obstacle overcome, I feel I am more mentally tough than ever before. The body is an amazing tool but the brain is such an incredibly powerful driver.
“You can go completely fucking insane on your body just by fooling it and saying that you are going to be ok, it’s just going to hurt, but you’ll be fine. If the body would overrule all that, you would be screwed right away”.
So if you have 30 mins to sit down and watch what ultra endurance cycling means to me, I couldn’t say it better myself than this wee film does.
Length of Sweden – a documentary by Ertzui Films