Whatever you have planned for the weekend, it's probably not a patch on what Elivar Featured Athlete Sally Toye is up to. Currently somewhere in Mongolia, on a semi-wild horse she has never ridden before, Sally is competing in the Mongol Derby. Elivar is fueling her journey.
The longest and toughest equestrian race in the world, the Mongol Derby extends 1,000 km through the Mongolian Steppe and recreates the horse messenger system developed by Ghengis Khan in 1224. In the 2017 race, there will be 12 men and 24 women playing the role of the messengers, and representing 9 countries. Elivar's Sally Toye is among them.
To find our exactly where in Mongolia Sally is use her race tracker
Before she left Sally reflected on mental side of competing what can only be described as a crazy endurance adventure:
"Riding this long and so many days is going to produce some sore stiff muscles and it’s going to hurt! What is pain? For me it is a sensation. This 1,000 km race is going to hurt! There are sensations that hurt but these aren’t the brain. Our brain makes up a response to that pain which is the emotion. Research has shown that this can put you on the self doubt/ it’s too hard/I can’t path and a response which is another type of fear. Then there is fear of failure, fear of success and fear of pain!
If you just split endurance up into little bite size pieces you can tell your brain that this is just a response which will probably pass. It will pass more quickly if I can remind myself that the body is strong and the mind is just trying to help. Most of all take it in the moment and be present. Over that next hill is a costa coffee and a warm duvet etc etc… well ok probably a ger (Mogolian tent) and a bowl of noodles! It sounds good on paper…
Some people focus on the finishing line and visualise the whole race piece by piece, each vetting going well and calmly with low heart rates. You do need also to focus on now this moment. Being in the present moment according to the google research I have done helps you make better decisions for a better race and great strategy. Being in now can help with performance anxiety to improve performance.
Also with this lot in mind you can then have something left to cope with the inevitable curved balls that will happen, we shall see. I have been visualising a perfect Derby being strong and confident and staying on the horses. I have thought about the many curved balls- cramp, bruises, lost horse, broken kit, tiredness, needing cake and food, being smelly, too hot, too cold, wet, and so on. I have been working out what I will do and how I will get through these challenges visualising them objectively not emotionally. The brain has a Y connector in it one way goes to emotion and one way goes to logic and we cannot use both at once. Ask someone something when they are cross won’t work as they are in the emotion of the moment you have to let the emotion subside and then go in for logic!
Also you are what you think! I am going to need a great self talk. One technique says you can come up with three positive things which should help your brain flip back into a happier place. I know there will be some dark moments but I also know these will pass like clouds or waves or whatever my brain can come up with at that moment!"
Sally is raising money for Cool Earth. Cool Earth is the charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction Click to help Sally reach her funding goal
Sally's complete blog can be found on Aloride's excellent site here
Riding the route of the Giro D'Italia would be a challenge for most normal cyclists. 3,400 km over 21 stages between the 5-28th May. But what if you were 77 years old? Well, meet Mick Ives.