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The Old School Coast to Coast

So the idea is a pretty simple one.

Complete the Kathmandu Coast to Coast course, which has remained relatively unchanged for 40 years (at least the core essence of the key iconic stages) using only the equipment, nutrition, hydration and clothing that was available to early pioneering multisporters in 1983. That's it.

Well I thought that was it but this goes a lot deeper than just that.

Whenever I mention this idea to anyone, the first question they ask is why? I guess it is a valid question. My go to throw away answer is normally, 'well why not'. But if I am honest, I have no idea.

Thinking about this concept a little deeper, if we take a leaf out of pioneering mountaineer George Mallory's book, who famously answered; "because it's there", when asked why he was attempting to scale the dizzying heights of Mount Everest in the early 1920s. I think this is a big part of it for me. Because it's there, because it's a challenge, because it will be a very different Kathmandu Coast to Coast experience than I have had before. While I will take this 'Because it is there' mentality with me, fingers crossed this half brained scheme of mine ends better than Mallory's last attempt at Mt Everest in 1924 when he and his climbing partner Andrew Irvine went missing on the Mountain. Their bodies were only found 75 years later.

When I drill down into this idea a bit more it is one of those things where there is no real point but at the same time, there are lots of points.

1) Back in my day

Recently, I have caught myself saying to my young kids, well back in my day {fill in the blank how my upbringing was so much harder than theirs etc}. I always used to laugh when my parents, grandparents or other 'old' people use to say this sort of thing and disregard it as a 'yeah, yeah that's just you though, I would have been fine'. Now it is time to really find out how it was 'back in my day' for early multisporters.

2) Living history experiment

The Kathmandu Coast to Coast is such a rite of passage for Multisporters the world over. It has had such an impact on so many areas from the outdoor gear industry, nutrition, coaching, kayak manufacturing, the NZ bike industry, physio strapping tape importers ;), the event industry as a whole and not to mention if not officially creating, then definitely cementing a type of endurance athlete that did not really exist before, the multisporter. I remember my dad taking me down to the Kathmandu Coast to Coast to watch the start when I was younger. All I wanted was to be a multisport like all those super human athletes that would race from one side of the country to the other. As soon as I was able to I was toeing the start line at Kumara Beach when I was 18 years old. Since then I have lined up a total of 6 times on Kumara Beach along with countless other race start lines in the pursuit of improving as a multisporter/ endurance athlete. This kick started an interest in exercise physiology and led to 6 years study at university and eventually helping others on their own endurance journeys as a sport scientist and performance coach. This event has had such a massive impact on my life and thousands of others. This impact goes so much deeper than the race day experiences as mentioned above. It is this history that I want to immerse myself in and explore how far this unique sport has evolved over the last 40 years.

3) All the gear and no idea

I have always loved the saying, 'All the gear and no idea'. This typically is used within endurance circles to described a person who has gone out and bought all the top of the line, wiz bang, latest and greatest gear without knowing how to use it, don't train, can't fix a flat tyre or spend most of the day swimming next to their fast kayak rather than in it. I have never had the flashest gear in the world. When I first got into multisport as a teenager I had old second hand gear and loved nothing more than beating others who had flasher gear than me. As my training, racing and study progressed I up graded my gear as I was able, to what I would describe as good gear. I liked to think that I could maybe save some money and still race fast using my knowledge of the human body and training that I was learning while studying sport science. In hindsight, maybe it would have been cheaper just buying the flash gear rather than getting a student loan. This year I will truly have none of the gear (even good gear by today's standards), unfortunately though I am not sure that any about of idea can fill this gap.

4) Why not?

I am the type of person who needs a goal. Something exciting to work towards, something to prepare for. I love the structure, gear prep and the direction that training for an event or adventure provides. To be honest without having that goal and focus I struggle. The idea of doing an Old School Kathmandu Coast to Coast has been floating around in my head for a while but I have always been 'too busy' with other projects or trying to race fast that I have never got it off the ground. However, with 2021, being the 40th Anniversary of the Kathmandu Coast to Coast I figure it has to be this year!

So here we are, lets go.

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