- Stay alive, thou must survive.
- Finish this thing, quitting is not for me.
- Set the pace, win the race.
- Shoot for the record.
Steve Watson once told me, “If you want to reach the clouds, you have to go up.” Steve Watson is the insanely fit (or insane, fit) 68 year old endurance rider, who is the mastermind (or mad man) behind the Monaro Cloudride. I first met Steve in Banff, AB, when we shared a room in the days prior to the 2014 Tour Divide. In Banff, he told me of a route he created through the Great Dividing Range of Australia, a 1000k clockwise loop beginning and ending in Canberra, ACT, with most of the race in the ruthless hills of New South Wales, topped off with the ass-kicking southernmost tip dipping just into Victoria. During the inaugural run in 2014, there were 10 starters, and 3 finishers, with considerable time gaps between riders. Round one can always be a wash. Looking at 2015, we had 18 starters, and 4 finish, with again, large gaps for a 1000k. Is the race drawing the wrong crowd? Or is the route really that ridiculous? The answer may be somewhere in-between. Based on route stats alone, we all knew there would be lots of hills, a claimed 24000Vm in 1000k, that’s nearly 79000ft in 621 miles for you ‘mericans. Big hills make big dreams come true, right? As I began training, it was hard to sift through the data and figure out what my goals should be. With the apparent scatter plot, I decided to go with my tried and true tactic; ignore what have others have done, stick with I know I should be able to do, and never stop pushing myself until I cross the line. That said, I devised a four stage priority attack for the Cloudride: