By Ollie Whalley, Anja McDonald, Tristan Rawlence & Scott Emmens
Hitting the finish line at Bluff is a confusing time of mixed emotions: immense satisfaction from completing something awesome; the disbelief at no dancing girls nor event organiser handing out cans of lager to celebrate your arrival; relief from the relentless daily routine that punishes your body; and post-adrenalin blues.
Many a TA rider has wistfully reflected on the simplicity of just riding your bike day after day - avoiding the realities of work, mortgages and global meltdown. As a wise person once opined, the satisfaction is all about the journey - there are easier ways to get yourself to Bluff - but there's also a healthy rush from meeting an ambitious goal. As for any serious event, warming down rather than collapsing in a heap is important for your post-TA body and soul.
Immediately Upon Finishing
Satiate your natural urges to indulge in life's simple pleasures:
- Eat (pizza, vegetables... whatever) in quantity. Your body needs to rebuild after burning all those calories.
- Take a long shower - good for you and others.
- Eat some more.
- Sleep in a (soft) bed, and give yourself permission to power nap during the day.
Your body has written a lot of cheques and it is now time to start re-building. Have fun doing ‘ordinary’ things:
- Call your Mum.
- Get a snazzy outfit from the op shop for your journey home.
- Score a soft cushion for the trip, your bum will thank you for your concern.
- If you come in early, spot-track and cheer on other TA riders.
- Stretch, reflect and relax.
- Score (at least one) sports massage.
- Share experiences with other riders, or with a medical professional for any lingering health issues like numb hands.
It is not unusual to feel a tad down after focussing your life on preparing for, and undertaking, this grand adventure. The life of eating, sleeping and riding is unmatched. 'Normal' living can be a little mundane and unfulfilling afterwards. Here are some ways to work through this:
- Enjoy some quality and quantity family time.
- Maintain your fitness gained, and help sore bits recover with a sensible routine of low intensity riding.
- Chill at the library or binge a box set or two.
- Follow another bikepacking event (dot watching).
- Seize any weather-window to nail a multi-day adventure.
- Now you've proved that 'not racing' is ok, and you've tested your body's outstanding capabilities, research a big trip - pick a random country, devise your own route, and ride.
- Repay some karma by helping out others as a trail angel.
- And don’t forget to give your bike some love.