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  1. I’ve had the initial conversation with myself, and I’ve made it real by sharing it - HERE - now I need to set my mind on the right path (so that the body can follow) and do some research. 

    This week is a good time to do that. My race season has finished, my new campaign is just starting, and any big mistakes right now are easily absorbed. This week is low risk. If I knew nothing about the Marji Gesick now would be the week to do all my homework. If I was new to Marji this would be my cheat sheet: 

    1. Join all the Facebook groups where the multitude of questions I might want answers at some point have probably already been answered. As a bare minimum these are: #TRAIN4LIFE and Marji Gesick Talk. I’d also follow the pages for Marji Gesick and 906 Adventure.
    2. Get on YouTube and watch all the Marji Gesick videos I can find. Start to get a handle on what the trails look like, what bikes people ride, what the feel of the event is.
    3. Start deciding on my equipment, and use the groups to look up anything I don’t know. What tyres are best?: go in the Facebook groups and use the search function. Ask the questions now, find answers now. Make decisions over the next few months based on this initial fact finding. 
    4. Elevation and distance. Sure it can change. But it won’t change radically in anyway that is likely to make the puzzle completely different.
    5. Work out some initial logistics: where is the race? Where is it compared to where I live? How will I get there? How long will it take? How much will the whole thing cost including all these logistics? Does it affect my work/do I need to book annual leave? 
    6. How do most people feed? How do the people closest to my level feed? How can I replicate them?
    7. What equipment is needed that I don’t currently own?
    8. What equipment is needed that I don’t know how to operate/use effectively? (most common being GPS) 
    9. Where is the closest place to me that I can replicate at least some of the challenges of the race (elevation, technical trails, etc)
    10. Honest assessment of: current fitness, what it takes to complete the race I want to do to the standard/time I want to achieve, and how far off that standard I currently sit. 

    As always it can really help to write a lot of this stuff down. Start with initial thoughts, questions and rough answers. I can get into (and will cover in future blogs) the weeds later. Personally I prefer a hardback A5 notepad, a good pen and a pencil. I show my age ;-) Somewhere I can keep it all together, reach for and read conveniently, and regularly update and adjust.

    This week is all about catching as many of the things that trip people up later as soon as possible. It’s research week, it sets my mind in the right place, it removes a lot of the energy draining elements that plague a lot of folk along the journey. It is a time for identification: what does it look like? What do I need? What might it take?


  2. Me, Marji and coaching…

    I’ve been official coach of the Marji Gesick since 2018. I’m a full time endurance coach, with the best part of 3 decades experience of coaching and preparing athletes for races and challenges just like this. As an athlete (previously retired, more on this shortly) my background was primarily in mountain biking, initially in what we now know as XCO, before developing into a long distance specialist, 24 hour solo competitor, and long distance trail record breaker. I retired from racing officially in 2008 but always dabbled (addicted to races would be a good description) and many years later, after working with Todd and 906 Adventure I tried to get back to training regularly, and racing a bit more, as part of my commitment to our shared #TRAIN4LIFE philosophy. 

    This is where we are today…

    I am 50 years old, have yo-yoed with body weight, health and fitness the past 15 years, suffered spinal injuries which continue to cause me pain to this day. I run my own business, share another start-up with my wife and an additional business partner, and I am a very hands-on father to 3 children ages 4, 8 and 11. We run a TV and device-free household, prepare the majority of our food from scratch, and play where we can as a family. We live in a quiet part of the UK, living by the sea and close to some amazing moorland (Dartmoor National Park) Family activities include: mountain biking, surfing, paddle boards, hiking, sea and river swimming and more recently Jiu Jitsu.

    Looking forward to Marji 2024…

    As part of my goal to support your quest to train for and complete the Marji Gesick I will be lining up with you at the start of the 100 mile mountain bike race in 2024. Along the way I will offer my guidance as coach, and my thought processes, training and adjustments in overcoming life’s obstacles as an athlete to get to the race ready to rumble. I hope that sharing this journey will help you with your training, life adjustments and finding the balance to make training something that you embrace for a lifetime. 

    Step 1: Suggestion…

    Commitment to a race starts with a suggestion to ourselves; it goes somewhere along the lines of: “I think I will do the 100 this year” (or the 50, or the Run, etc) It can help a lot right now (or once you have your entry in) to make our initial thought public. Create a little pressure; it doesn’t need to be huge, but it does help to make it real. This post does it for me. Until today I’ve had the luxury of being the “expert” who tells others how it’s done. I get to do that because I have a long, long history of getting other hard things done. But if I commit to come do this race… well I sure as hell better make it happen, after all I’m the coach, I have at least one advantage don’t I? I’ve made this real now, I’ve made that initial commitment. This is the mental step that engages me to the problem and commits me to a solution - subtle self-inflicted pressure.

    All being well I will see you on that start line next year. How can you take this initial step? Where can you make yourself accountable to others on some level that will motivate you when the weather turns bad, the light is scarce commodity and the warmth of the duvet is calling? It’s a very small commitment at this point in time, and it’s easily, and quietly dodged later if life takes a wrong turn, BUT it’s the act of lighting that touch paper right now that eventually turns into the success those who make the suggestion crave come the day of the race. So this week I made that suggestion to myself, discussed it with Todd, serviced, rode and washed my bike, and then wrote this first post for you.

    To take this same step yourself all you gotta do is light your own touch paper, create your own pressure, make that first step. It’s small but it’s also massive, do it now…