The Climate

I am purposely staging the race in the middle of the Australian Summer to make it more difficult. As you are probably aware Australian summers can be incredibly hot. However, the first half of the race will be hotter than the second. Temperatures will top out close to 50 degrees Celsius – even though the mean temperature map plotted will indicate otherwise. Definitely for the first half you are almost guaranteed very hot days with little chance of rain (maybe the odd thunder storm). When I ran across Australia in 2001 it never rained once in the entire race apart from one convectional thunderstorm on Day 2 that cleared the humidity. The closer you get to the east coast, the more likelihood of some rain, but be comforted by the fact that it will probably be warm rain.

When thinking about your training, if you don’t live in a warm climate, it is important you are fully acclimatised before the start of the race. Before I ran across Australia, trying to train through a cold, wet English winter was hardly ideal preparation. So a good chunk of my training time was spent in a sauna. I would drink copious amounts of water. When I felt too hot I would either have a cold shower or swim a few lengths of the pool before getting back in, before repeating the whole process again and again. Build up slowly how long you spend in there. By the time I left for Australia I was up to two hour sessions in there with a few short breaks in between. Don’t underestimate the importance of a sauna as a training tool!

The Terrain

This is not an overly-hilly route. We are climbing no mountain passes. The Nullarbor is essentially flat with a few gentle undulations. The second half of the ride is hillier, but not by a massive amount. The main factor in this race is the heat. Train with that in mind rather than hills.