Recently I quizzed my own team mate, Claire Bell, on how her preparation for Spring Challenge is going. Claire is an inspiring chick who always has a smile on her face - no matter how exhausted she is. We met through multisport (at the pub in Twizel after the Hard Labour Weekend multisport event to be precise) and she is a kickass athlete! Claire is a first-timer to Spring Challenge but is no stranger to training, so I knew she would have valuable wisdom to help others out there giving it a go for the first time.
What is it about Spring Challenge that made you want to do it?
"It’s always been on the to do list. I like how Spring Challenge is getting a lot more females into the adventure racing scene, from beginners through to competitive teams - it’s an event made for anyone. I’ve heard so many good things about the event and how inspiring it is . . . so I’m excited to finally be giving it a go!"
What part of the preparation, and/or the event itself, are you most excited about?
"I’m excited about improving my mountain bike skills as I’m relatively new to it! In terms of the event, I am excited about the team aspect; competing with a couple of friends makes it a more memorable experience, you can motivate each other throughout the day and have some good banter along the way!"
Claire's positive and bubbly nature doesn't let her stop there, she is also excited about "being inspired by so many women giving adventure racing a go . . . and exploring a new part of NZ."
Are there any parts of the event that you're nervous about?
"I'm a bit nervous about navigation - it’s not my strong point!"
What kind of training are you doing at the moment? What does a normal week look like for you?
"At the moment I’m working on biking and paddling strength while I recover from a running injury. A normal week would include a mix of interval training and some longer endurance sessions - and of course a rest day or 2. I try to get out into the hills as much as I can (maybe once a month) to do some tramping and be lucky enough to call that 'training' too!"
What keeps you motivated to get out there during the winter months?
"The love of it! It’s not often I don’t feel like going training - I might bribe myself if that’s the case 'no coffee until you’ve been for a ride'. I limit excuses - if it’s cold or wet, I wrap up. If I don’t have time, I get up earlier and find a good head torch Mixing up training locations helps too so I don’t get bored of the same routes - I’m spoilt in Te Anau with so many different trails to run and lakes to paddle!"
Do you have a few handy tips for your fellow first-time Spring Challenge competitors?
1. "Get all your equipment/clothing/compulsory gear etc organised early so you can train with it before race day. There's nothing like putting your pack on on the day and it’s way heavier than what you're used to."
2. "The same goes for nutrition, always train on what you will eat and drink during the event."
3. "Train for the terrain - limit your time on road because it’s an off road event. You’ll feel better prepared if you’ve spent more time in the wilderness!"
4. "Most of all enjoy the training! Don’t let it feel like a chore. We are so lucky to have awesome events like this to motivate us to get outside and into the back country. Training adventures are the best!!"
Thanks a million Claire - some fantastic advice in there, and a great reminder to us all to be grateful for NZ and opportunities like this!!! You can follow Claire's adventures on Instagram @clairebell_nz - it's inspirational stuff!
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