First Peaks


Team Bicycle Network’s Stefan Magat explores his firsts as he heads into this year’s Peaks Challenge.

2015 is a year filled with a number of firsts for me as an official “ elite roadie” – though I must admit, my career has been a very average one up until now.

This weekend, I’ll be taking part in my first Peaks Challenge Falls Creek – a gruelling 235km ride with more than 4000 metres of climbing – and I can’t wait!

I’ll also be celebrating my first event as a member of Team Bicycle Network. They’re a great bunch (literally) with elite men and women riders taking on the peaks with me.

When I was chosen to take part in the event six months ago, I knew I had a mammoth task ahead in terms of training but I wasn’t aware how much commitment it would take.

Entering an event like as Peaks Challenge can take its toll, not only physically and mentally but also socially. I’ve always known cycling has been a game of strength particularly while on the road, but I never realised how much mental strength it takes to wake up at 5am every weekend and commit a training ride over hundreds of kilometres. There were a handful of times where I came very close to throwing in the towel and going back to bed.

But it isn’t all negative. Sticking to a training plan has allowed me taking my riding to the next level. Looking back at this time last year, I was more than happy clocking up 100km with about 1,500 metres of climbing or even just a Beach Road ride to Mordialloc.

Now, I’m always on the search for up (mountains) and pain. Training no longer feels complete until the legs feel like lead and you’re wanting to give up.

While I’ve had six months to prepare, learning about nutrition has been a steep learning curve and understand how much body reacts to certain bars and gels. I now know nutrition days before, during and after play a huge part in enjoy the whole experience. It can make or break a long training ride. Alongside the correct nutrition, hydration has played a key role. While we haven’t had sweltering summer days, on the odd occasion where the heat has become unbearable, hydrating days before has been my saviour.

Aside from training, I’m fortunate enough to have a supportive partner who pushes me out of bed and forces me out the door to go and train(though I have a feeling she may be banking the hours I spend on the road to use against me later).

In addition, I have a great team mate and friend in Iain Treloar (who also happens to be part of the Ride On team), who I’ve spent many hours on the road with. Together we’ve successfully managed our own training and group training rides where we met some great people. This combination has made all the difference in preparing for the event.

I’ve nervous and excited. I know it will be a brutal 235km and there will hours of pain to endure but if you’re in the same boat as me, we’ve come this far and it will be all worth it in the end.

So what can I take from all of this? It’s just about enjoying the whole experience and not taking it so seriously that it’s no longer fun. Maybe ask me the same question when I’m climbing the back of Falls Creek and you may get a difference response, so I apologies in advance.

See you at Falls Creek. Good luck to all taking part, come and say hi or have a chat if you’re free.

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