A DREAM UNTIL YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN

 

The Tempest Two are back again, this time on two wheels. Take a read and take their lead...

Almost every man in their life has dreamt the same dream, the open road ahead of them, the wind whistling through their hair, and the roar of a motorbike as they drive into the sunset. An idyllic scene for sure, but a far-fetched fantasy only obtainable by the Beckham's of this world, or is it?

Earlier this year, we decided to try and make a childhood dream a reality, and prove the system wrong. With zero motorbiking experience, we would look to mount two of the most rugged and impressive motorbikes on the market, and ride them from London to the Sahara Desert, to a boutique festival, Beyond Sahara, in under two weeks.

Arrogant, not possible and stupid

Our journey began in the glamorous setting of a Welwyn Garden City motorcycle centre. We had only nine days from our first lesson, to actually learn and pass both modules of the test, and a few days after that we would be leaving for The Sahara. The look on our instructors face when we disclosed this information, summed up perfectly how most people viewed this endeavour; arrogant, not possible, and stupid.

THE GENOROCITY OF STRANGERS

We would typically spend 5/6 hours a day on the bikes, and doing our best to stop regularly to enjoy the surroundings, and hastily eat a Fori bar and take on some water (often, our only options for food was petrol stations, so the Fori bars were a total god-send!). We would regularly have to manoeuvre our way through herds of goats, and shield our eyes from the occasional sandstorm, but loved every second we spent in Morocco.

What we did not anticipate was the importance of the people we met along the way. From the manager of a vineyard in Spain, to a cafe owner (who let us eat for free when we were told they didn't take card) in Moroccan desert. We were often overwhelmed by the kindest of people who had very little, yet were happy to give as much as they could. This is what adventure is all about, the people you meet and stories you gain. Reaching the summit, or crossing the finish-line is often seen as the best part, but the value is often in the journey.

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After starting in a cold, rainy London, we found ourselves in the Moroccan town of Merzougha. Before us was an image we had seen countless times on Google when researching the trip. Towering orange dunes, shining in the intense desert sun, for as far as the eye could see. Our two Triumph’s had taken us across continents, and had never faltered once. We had started as novice riders, and arrived not experts, but confident riders with a library of memories, and a newly realised passion for motorbikes.

We road the Tigers through a sandy back-road, and left them with a local hotel-owner. Their shift was up for the time-being, as our road tyres were no match (nor was our skills as riders!) for the steep sand-dunes, and our ferocious machines were to replaced by the docile camel for a few hours at least. Our destination was reached, and the two-days of relaxation were welcome, but we soon found ourselves talking about the ride over beers, and sure enough, looking forward to getting back behind the bars. With bodies rested, we turned the bikes around, and set our Google Maps to London, the journey home was ahead of us, and we couldn't wait for what it may have in store.

 A DREAM UNTIL YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN

Our ultimate goal for this trip was not just reaching a destination, but to show people that you don’t have to be an experienced rider to take on a trip such as ours. Many people are intimidated by long-rides, unknown roads and dodgy boarder crossings. Adventure bikes are often labelled for the older rider, but this is not the case. We are two young guys, with no experience or credentials to call upon, and we have just returned from one of the most enjoyable two weeks of our lives. If there is one-thing to take from this journal, that is to forget pre-conceptions of what you are capable of, and start planning your dream-ride, because its only a dream until you make it happen.

 

How to plan your next adventure

 

This week we have a guest blog from James and Tom, A.K.A The Tempest Two, a couple of normal blokes who just happen to do extraordinary things.

Before we can discuss how to best plan for an adventure, it is first important to define what adventure is. For us, adventure need not mean a death-defying exhibition up a mountain, across and ocean or to a pole. Instead, it is something that takes you outside your comfort zone, and makes you positively question your own boundaries. With this in mind, the shape, size and format of adventure is infinite - it is down to you and you alone.

The following three steps, will hopefully allow you to plan and prepare for your next adventure, big or small:

Surround yourself with the best

The people you surround yourself with in life, are vital to your success and overall happiness. This is no different when applied to adventure. If you are taking on a challenge which you know will push you to your limits, then you want to be accompanied by people you trust and respect. The elation of reaching a summit can be soured by the wrong people around you.

When we took on The Atlantic, we were told by numerous people we would fall out, and ultimately hate each other before we reached the other-side. Being in a confined space for 54 days with anyone was going to be tough, but we proved the theory wrong and never once fell out. The reason for this? Because we both had the same goal (which was enjoyment, not world-records), had respect for one-another, and made it our goal to look after the other person. When this is all aligned, the enjoyment of a trip increases dramatically.

So before you start your planning, firstly decide on if you are going solo, or in a team. If the latter, choose the people wisely, as it will ultimately effect the success of your adventure.

Become a sponge

 Knowledge is everything, so become a sponge and absorb it. Unless you are a seasoned explorer (in which case, you are unlikely to be reading this!) then there will be people out there you can learn from. Do the research, and figure out who is best placed to give advice on your selected discipline. If you are running an ultra, then find the an endurance veteran, read their books/blogs and send them an email, you will be surprised at how willing these people are to give you information, they may seem like super-humans, but they were exactly where you were at some point. The information you will gain is invaluable, and often you will learn things you never thought existed. It could be the best route to take, how much you should pack, or even what material pants to wear!

Prepare to succeed

Training: Know what you want to achieve, and prepare to do so. If you adventure is physically demanding, then train to succeed. Not being fit enough is never an excuse, and the worst position to be in is at the back of the pack, slowing others down.

Equipment: Knowing what equipment you need, and how to use it is of crucial importance. A common mistake in planning, is packing poorly. A heavy pack will take its toll, so be meticulous in the kit you bring, and make sure you are familiar with it all.

Nutrition: Every adventure requires fuel, and not taking this seriously can have serious consequences. We found this out the hard way, and during a training climb at altitude in the alps, we left our lunch back in the cabin. We laughed at first, but on the way down the weather closed in, and we both hit-a-wall that was hard to overcome. Our tanks were empty, we became lethargic and clumsy, and ultimately we put ourselves at risk. We learnt from this, so choose your menu wisely! Make sure you have a good mix of carbs, proteins and sugars, as well as plenty of water. If we are on a long-trip, we will often take freeze-dried food, plenty of dried fruit and nuts, and perhaps a Fori bar or two! Its important also to take some variety, as food can act a huge morale booster, you should pack stuff you look forward to eating, not that you simply have to eat.

These three points should help you plan for a successful adventure, they are things we have learnt along the way, and now apply religiously. By following this process, you can achieve that goal you have been putting off for years. Drop the excuses, belief in your own ability, and go for it!

Bon voyage.

 

LCHF & Ultra Running

 

As a start-up, you're continually told by every consultant and his dog to; "identify your key consumer" and learn everything about them so that you can match your product with their demands. However, sometimes you'll be surprised what your product means to whom. Turns out our customers, love eating fat and running a long way.

Ben Scott (@therunningmanx) is one such dude. An early adopter of Fori bars, Ben is now our go-to-guy as we aim to push our running, longer, deeper and darker. Here's Ben's story about how a Low Carbohydrate High Fat (#LCHF) diet drastically improved his ability to run a very long, long, way.

I fell into ultras accidentally really. The first one was supposed to be a 20 mile training race prior to my first marathon but the thought of doing the 40 mile route got the better of me.  Once I’d experienced the joy and satisfaction of finishing that I was hooked.  And it is a bit like a drug, 40 miles became 56, then 85, then 24hours, then 184miles…….. 

I used to be that carb loading, wall hitting athlete who sucked down gallons of Lucozade (other sugar filled options are available) to get to the end of a race. In fact I ran the IoM Mountain Ultra (50km fell race) and used a Camelback full of Lucozade! I got the shakes after about two hours. The same happened again in March this year, I did the coastal path of the Isle of Man, with a mate, and on one of the training runs for that (28 miles) I took a couple of bottles of Lucozade. 16 Miles in I had the same thing: calorie crisis, shakes and the desperate need to fuel up. 

Something had to change

It was Dean Karnazes who got me on the path to LCHF.  I read in his book that he had given up refined sugar, decided to do that, found the book “Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar” by Robert Lustig, increased my fat intake, found Tim Noakes et al on Twitter and the rest is history. 

In April, I did the Keilder 100km trail race I stayed off the carbs and finished 2nd in a time that would have beaten last year’s winner. It was highly amusing picking the pasta out of the chicken sauce at the pre-race carb-fest the night before! 

The biggest difference I have noticed with going LCHF is that I am far, far less hungry.  I used to eat a huge bowl of pasta or rice and within 30 minutes be in the fridge looking for more food.  Now I can go far longer between meals and snack a fraction of the amount. 

I’m no expert on the biochemistry behind inflammation etc. However, I do think that your body is going to appreciate a natural diet far more than a load of chemicals out of a box. My initial argument for pork scratchings, before I got into the LCHF thing, was that pork fat is almost identical to human fat and given that we are able to break our own fat down to use as energy it should follow that we should be able to break pork fat down easily too. Far more easily than some bright orange or blue food dye that makes your energy drink look…….err…..appetising?

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If I was ever in doubt of this fat adaptation business, which I wasn’t, I have comprehensively put all doubts to bed over the past six months. I'm now running faster, with less effort and the sight of energy gel fuelled runners coming into view and disappearing behind me is all the evidence I need.

The people I get most of my information from are all on Twitter. They are: