Tag Archives: Rest day

Maps & checkpoints

Maps & Checkpoints by andrewgillsag
Maps & Checkpoints, a photo by andrewgillsag on Flickr.

We have a 1:25,000 topographic map, an MTB trail map, orange & white fabric, a sewing machine and lots of imagination. We have plans to use this and our intimate knowledge of our local bushland to create something fun: an adventure race training course to challenge our friends.

We’ve never tried anything like this before. But, after just a year of racing, we think we can pull it off. Besides, this is just a fun day out where we hope to give our friends a chance to practice their skills and to introduce them to our local trails.

I’ll keep you posted as plans progress. But if you are coming along on the day, don’t expect to find actual CP locations on my blog. This is the only look at the map that you’ll get. And, in this current format, it’s too old to be of much use before we update it.

Here’s some hints about why this course could prove challenging but fun:
– the highest “peak” is just 82m
– most of the “peaks” are between 18-36m
– some young sections of she-oak are almost impenetrable, with the young trees standing literally side-by-side forming a wall of wood
– all we need is a day of rain for the swamp lands to fill with water and the surrounding lands to turn into a boggy mess
– we have some fantastic flowing MTB trails
– there will be some unusual extra challenges.

Today is a rest day for my body but an exciting day for my mind.

Stockton siesta


24 hours after finishing the Great North Walk I watched the sun set over Stockton’s Shipwreck Walk.

I’ve had an easy day. I spent an hour typing up the first few data of my walk notes at the library but couldn’t upload my photos but it will speed up the process when I get home.

I’ve enjoyed chatting with other guests here at camp. Hearing all their stories helps me understand mine. It’s a good chance to get perspective on the more mundane things in life: work, money, house … that sort if thing.

Total: 6km walking

5 hours until holidays


That’s me this morning heading to a work meeting all the way down in Canberra. Despite the blue tie andy travel destination, I am not a politician (Google recently deposed Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s women’s power speech if you don’t get my lame attempt at humour).

In just 5 hours I will be on a flight back home to Brisbane and 19 days off work. I’ve some trail running, chores and packing planned for Saturday to Monday. Then Tuesday morning I fly to Sydney to start my much anticipated (by me anyway) Great North Walk adventure. Bring on 14 days of just me, my pack and a 250km long hiking trail through the Australian bush.

Total: Rest day due to long day of flying interstate.

Guilty rest day pleasure

Mmmm awesome chocolate by Andrew Gills
Mmmm awesome chocolate, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

I went out to the grocery shop at lunch to buy something healthy to eat but saw that they had the new flavours of Cadbury’s Marellous Creations line of chocolates in stock. Well, that was the end of my healthy rest day excursion. So, here I am, resting my body and treating my mind to 290g of delicious naughtiness. For those who live in the imperial world, 290g is just over 10oz; so it’s a lot of chocolate and I’m enjoying it immensely.

The chocolate is melting in my mouth, leaving me with the sweet crunchy chocolate biscuit, crispy clinkers (mmmm … I love clinkers) and kind of chewy gummy bears. The sugar overload is making my afternoon at my desk in front of the computer more enjoyable; it makes me feel like a big kid.

Ooh, what am I doing typing this? I need to use both hands to pull another piece of chocolate off the block 😉

Back to training tomorrow … but today I’ll just keep eating the brown vitamin.

Total: 0km and 290g chocolate.

Getting geared up

I love outdoors gear. I think it’s one of the reasons adventure racing appeals to me so much: because it can involve cool gear. While today might be a rest day for my body, I certainly gave my credit card a good workout. But it was all essential adventure racing equipment.

It started with me going to the bicycle shop and buying the Merida Big Nine TCR 100 29er mountain bike that I looked at yesterday. I received a $100 voucher to use for accessories so also bought tubes, frame pump, bottle cage, tail light and cycle computer. The shop didn’t have any frames my size in the shop (17″ frame) but they should have the bike in by Thursday at the latest, which works out well because I’ll be in Perth (on Australia’s west coast) until Wednesday evening.

Then I stopped at Kathmandu to buy a deluxe saddle bag and cycling multi tool for the new MTB. I have one each of these for my road bike and am so impressed with the products that I decided to buy a second set so that I don’t have to change them between bikes.

I then went online to the Area51 website to purchase some team adventure racing gear. When I phoned my sister to confer with her, she mentioned that she too happened to be on the Area51 website doing the same thing. We bought:

While I was thinking about adventure racing, I also decided to skip the 45km Red Rocks to Coffs beach trail run on 21 April to focus on the 24 hour Rogue Adventuregaine on 27-28 April. I am going to be focusing on mountain biking until Rogue because this is a huge weakness for me.

Total: Trip to physio to get elbows pushed into my muscles, stretching and rest.

Crazy rest day

I’ve had to take some rest time last night and today. My right calf was tight and sore all yesterday, with some tension also in my right achilles. I iced it during the day and last night. It’s not painful anymore today but I can still feel the tightness spreading to my right shin. I’ve looked at my monthly stats and have done a lot of mileage this month for someone who’s meant to be easing back in after a lengthy period of injury so decided a few days rest wouldn’t hurt.

Mind you, today has been crazy anyway. I caught a 5am flight to Canberra so left home at 3:15am. And now I’m at the airport waiting for a 7pm flight back home, so I won’t be home until about 8:30pm. In between, I gave a major presentation for work and sat an online university exam. Now I’m going to settle into a few hours of listening to the Scout leader training eLearning modules.

Tomorrow is Scout water activities camp – no doubt it will be a lot of fun for us leaders too. And then Sunday Whoops Witch Way has the iAdventure Sprint Adventure Race. It promises to be a hilly course.

*sighs* … At least the stressful parts of today are over … What a double whammy – public speaking and an exam.

Total: Rest

Becoming a Scout Leader

Two months ago, I embarked on a new element of my outdoor adventure journey. I entered a world that was totally foreign to me. A world I had often heard about but which had remained a mystery. I decided to see whether I would like to be a Scout Leader.

It started quite innocently. I was searching the internet to see whether there was any meaningful, fun and ongoing volunteer work available in my community. It’s not that I don’t have enough on my plate, what with work, uni, my monthly Justice of the Peace obligations and endurance racing. But I just felt called to look for something.

I didn’t know what I was looking for until I stumbled across my local Scout Group’s website. There it was in black and white: “Assistant Leaders needed for immediate start. No experience. Self-paced training.” It didn’t take me long to fire off an email. And, seemingly instantly, I received a response from the Group Leader inviting me to come meet with herself and the leader of the Scout section.

I did some research. I watched YouTube clips, and read a range of websites and blogs. From what I found, Scouting looked like a lot of fun, not just for Youth Members but also for Leaders.

I started with minimal commitment. I just attended a couple of Scout meetings and a Group Council to see whether the format appealed to me. The Scout meetings were great fun. Tents were pitched, canoes were set up on dry land so the Scouts could practice their paddling strokes, plans were made for camps and discussions were held about hikes. Before I knew it, I was choosing a Scout name and signing an application for membership.

Last week, my application for membership was approved and I was given my Scout membership number. I’ve ordered my uniform and started the eLearning component of my leader training. On Saturday, I’m going to my first Scout camp. I won’t be staying overnight because I have a race on Sunday. But I’m looking forward to taking this next step into what was previously a mysterious world: Scouts. And I’m quite proud of my personal decision to share my outdoor skills and experiences with tomorrow’s outdoors men and women.

(I didn’t train today. I decided to do some stretching and get back into the exercise tomorrow. I didn’t want to risk returning to training too quickly after the weekend because I am very aware of how I pushed things last year and ended up injured.)

Ooh only 16 hours to go :)

It’s only 16 hours until the Fleche Opperman 24 hour team cycling challenge starts. I haven’t been this excited about an event in ages. And it’s only an hour until I can go home from work to pack my gear and give my bike one final clean before the ride (I can’t believe I’ve turned into one of those guys who actually cleans his bike, but I have an my bike is so much nicer to ride for it).

I have Scouts tonight so at least I will have something to keep my mind occupied for a few hours. Otherwise I fear I would over-prepare ;).

In other news, I have bought myself a Carradice SQR Slim Bag from Wiggle. The bag is expected to be ready for shipping in April so I should receive it just as the weather really cools down (weather really cooling down is relative though 😉 ). I expect it will revolutionise my riding because I currently don’t ride much if it’s too cold or too wet. This way, I will be able to carry my fleece, wind vest or waterproof without being stuck wearing it the whole ride or carrying a backpack.

Total: Another full day of rest with stretching.

For all those who have training gear everywhere

Random gear on a bookshelf

Random gear on a bookshelf

I read a great post on RunNature this morning about how one of the realities of being an outdoor athlete is the accumulation of ‘stuff’ that occurs around the home. As I read the description of how RunNature’s friend Hari had running gear spread around his kitchen, and how RunNature herself has running gear scattered on shelves and in drawers around her home, I found myself nodding knowingly because my home suffers a similar case of ‘outdoor gear explosion’.

So, on the pre-race rest day, let me describe the manic process I go through as I try to pack my gear for various races.

Firstly, there’s the random head torches, gaiters, maps, map case and other assorted gear that I have to collect from a bookshelf in the front room of our home. The collection on this shelf changes on an almost daily basis depending on what I decide to shove on the shelf.

Running shoes drying outside

Running shoes drying outside

Then there’s my front porch where my wet, muddy or otherwise dirty shoes sit amongst the wind-blown leaves so that they don’t stink up the house as they dry. It occurs to me as I look at this photo that I should probably check my shoes for spiders before wearing them, given the pile of leaves that have accumulated in this spot. Should I admit that this is the first thing people visiting our house see when they come visit?

More shoes randomly dropped

More shoes randomly dropped

There’s currently also a pair of wet shoes that I dropped on the spare room floor when I got home last night. I was too lazy to open the door and throw them outside. I didn’t want to put them in our wardrobe because that would only result in everything getting stinked up. Oh but wait, we don’t have many clothes in our wardrobe because most of the clean clothes are … prepare to be horrified … lying on our laundry floor in a big pile because we’ve not found time to put them away.

Bikes cluttering the garage

Bikes cluttering the garage

For adventure racing and Audax events I need to fight my way through the clutter in my garage to get at my bikes and cycling gear. I got my mountain bike serviced (did I mention I got new brakes installed?) earlier in the week and still haven’t quite got around to putting the wheels back on. I’ll do it tomorrow when I take it to the race. I should mention that I sweep my garage once a month but the wind always blows the leaves straight back in. At least the bicycle stuff is now contained to one side of the garage, rather than being even more spread out like it used to be.

The rest of my gear is randomly stored on shelves and in cupboards around the rest of our home. Tents, sleeping bag and hiking pack in the linen closet; hiking stove, gas and billy in the pantry; clothing all over the laundry floor; Goretex jacket in my wardrobe; wet weather pants in my motorcycle top box; my hiking pack and hydro bladder are currently on the floor of my office at work (I must bring them home tonight); First Aid kit in the medicine cabinet (at least that makes sense); kick board and hydro belt in my wardrobe; hats variously dropped around the house.

For a Virgo I sure am messy. I always plan to keep my outdoor gear together in a tidy place, but I’d rather be out training and racing than spending time keeping things neat; so I expect that my gear will just be dropped in puddles for the foreseeable future 🙂

Who else has outdoor gear scattered all over their homes?

Still alive

I’m still alive 🙂 The past two days have been crazy busy so I haven’t had a chance to breath, let alone blog. Yesterday I flew interstate for work, leaving home at 3:30am and not walking back in the door until 9:45pm. So, when today’s 200km Audax ride was cancelled due to heavy rain (100mm is expected to fall today), high winds and the threat of electrical storms, I happily rolled back over and went to sleep.

My body is fatigued from a heavy week at work so today I am allowing nature to guide me. I’m not training to win an Olympic medal or to be a world champion. So it’s okay for me to spend the day inside hiding from Mother Nature’s fury. Besides, I am really engaged with the pile of text books I borrowed from the university library. I read a whole book about literacy on the plane yesterday and am excited about working through the exercises in the set text today and tomorrow (because tomorrow’s weather is meant to be the same as today).

It will be sunny again in no time. But if there’s one thing I know about living in the sub-tropics, it’s that we don’t have a winter to force us to rest. Instead, we have rain days that provide respite from the heat and endless activity of summer.