I’ve felt myself at a cross-roads this past week. I’ve taken time out of my training to really think about what I want from my fitness and what I want from my life.
I’ve said it before, I’m not an eat, sleep and breath triathlon kinda guy. I really enjoy the sport and value the lessons it has to teach. But there’s something else calling me – the wild. I want to be an adventurer and I find triathlon a little bit too sanitised to feed my desires. Yes, it’s a tough sport and it gets me out into the elements but I want more scenery and nature.
As the season wears on I find it increasingly difficult to focus on what I want to do after my last race. I want to get out bush. Adventure racing is attractive to me but it involves high costs (race entry is at least $100 per person up to $2,500 per person for longer races). I don’t have that kind of money to spend and know that I’m not really a team sports person. That’s not to say I don’t work well in a team but I’m more of a solo adventurer than someone who wants to commit to doing what others want. I enjoy working with a team for a specific event but also want the freedom to find my own adventures.
I’ve also become a subscriber to Outer Edge magazine and am mostly drawn to the stories about explorers who go off on expeditions. It’s the same with books – I love to read about expeditions and crazy solo adventures. Whether it’s riding a postie bike around the world or running across the Nullabor Plains, it’s adventure that draws me.
So tonight I’ve discussed the possibility of my taking 35-40 days out of my home life to walk the Australian Alps Walking Track. It’s a 650km wilderness hike through the high country of the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria. It crosses Australia’s highest mountains, including Mt Kosciusko. I want to walk from north to south leaving Canberra on either 19 or 26 March 2013. March / April is the best time of year to walk the track because it avoids summer’s heat, winter’s snow and spring’s volatile weathers. There’s still a good chance of getting snowed on at this time of year but that’s the case all year round in the alpine region. And besides, I’m a Queenslander and I love the idea of being snowed on.
All I have to do now is get approval from work to take 5-6 weeks off next year. I think I can work that out because I should have enough leave and this is our only quiet time of the year – the only real chance I have to take holidays at all. And with it being a year away I should be able to prepare so that I can enjoy the time off.
It would be a significant change to my training and racing plans because I would scrap my racing schedule after May (other than Tough Mudder) to focus on training specifically for the walk. This would involve me trail running, hiking and doing some cycling as cross training. I would also need to spend time practicing my navigation because there are large sections of the trail that cross unmarked wilderness areas.
I should know on Monday whether I can have the time off work and that will change everything. Julia Creek and Byron Bay will be my last triathlons for about 2 years because I’d miss the entire 2012/13 season. Not only for training but also so that I can save some money for a better tent, water purifier, maps, airfares and incidentals such as new hiking boots.
I’ve wanted to do this walk since I heard about it about 15 years ago and it is now more than a dream – it’s my 2012/13 training goal.