It was during a 6 day trail riding trip to Portugal that I final heard myself say “Who fancies the Red Bull Romaniacs”? Well, no one as it happens but driven by my up-coming 50th birthday and my buddy Mike (a seasoned Romaniacs competitor who eventually felt obliged to join me), I watched the website, filled in some details, sent a bank transfer and I was ‘IN’ competing at the 2016 Red Bull Romaniacs Iron Category.
Romanics is a grueling event due to the extreme nature of the terrain and the fact that it is held over 5 days in high summer in the centre of Romania where temperatures would be in the high thirties centigrade. All the advice from experienced enduro riders centered on my fitness being the key.
A friend who works in the food industry said he had a contact that manufactured super food energy bars and offered to try and enlist some support. The result was a supply of 'Ollybars'. My wife has a master’s degree in applied human nutrition and took a look at the products, suggesting that if I could manage to break with my traditional fare of porridge (porridge makes me retch but has been my source of energy in sport for years!) that these bars would certainly pack a punch.
Olly advised 2 Ollybars would fuel me for a half day extreme sport and maybe a third at lunchtime would be sufficient for a whole days’ effort. It seemed unlikely but I started training in June, a month before the event by eating one of each product for breakfast. What became immediately apparent was that not only were Ollybars tasty but after consuming them, I just didn’t feel hungry again for hours, I had inadvertently discovered a secret weapon.
You have to seriously consider how to stay hydrated in very hot conditions, wrestling a 110kg motorcycle in very steep terrain, falling off and picking it up time after time with diminishing strength, you have to take on board enough food to sustain the power output. Both Mike and I were astonished at how effective two Ollybars were at providing fuel for a day’s riding. We never took the third bar at midpoint, just didn’t need it.
In the end I came 21st place and Mike came in 19th both in Iron class, we did well to achieve this and I think the secret, if there is one, is that we took the event seriously. You don’t just rock up and give it a go, those guys didn’t make it through the first day. Read more about my 2016 Red Bull Romanics adventure, my training and how to survive the event at ........ ?