13 year old Tristan Gaudin was diagnosed with a heart defect after constantly fainting. While doctors first thought nothing of it, saying it was just a kids thing, his parents knew something wasn't quite right. Sure enough the teenager was diagnosed with Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) – an abnormally rapid heart
rhythm. After reading more about CHDs on the heart Kids website, he realised his condition weasn't as bad as so many others, so he decided to raise awareness for Heart Kids and money. A keen mountain biker, Tristan recently competed in the Taranaki Mountain Bike Challenge. He has written a piece for us about his achievement.
"I started my 6hr MTB Challenge right on 8am and finished at 2pm, doing a total of 70 laps (63km) and managing to raise a total of $3661.47 for HeartKids NZ.
The laps started on a short section along the gravel road near the main gate entrance, before a sharp pinch climb into the Kiwi Mid trail. I climbed up through the muddy forest before emerging into the pine trees at the furthest part of the lap. I turned at the marker post and heading back down the Fenceline trail across some short timber bridges, through a small woody forest and back onto the gravel road. The support tent marked the start and finish of each lap. The course chosen meant that there was a bit of variety and the trail conditions were good, despite the rain before and during the event.
Every couple of laps I changed bikes because it needed to be cleaned and checked over as it was really muddy and there were lots of pine needles on the tracks. It was great to be able to ride different bikes, Mitchell Cycles had lent me a Spare bike and I was also lucky enough to ride Craig and Tony’s bike’s too. The bikes were quite different so kept me on my toes, getting used to quickly adapting to these different rides. We didn't have a set plan for bike change over, but I got quite good jumping off one and onto the other before going out for another lap, even popping the odd wheelie. During the ride I had a meal and drink plan, any food I took on I ate while I sat on my bike and had food that was easy to eat and had plenty to drink.
Unfortunately Dad recorded my only crash of the day, I skidded over a small wooden bridge and went over the side. I got back on fairly quickly and was lucky not to have damaged my bike or myself too seriously.
It was a really great to ride with Craig, Tony and Dad, who all gave me encouragement and chatted to me as we chipped away the hours. Also big thanks to Amelia, Tim, Emily, Aedan and his family for riding out with me, it’s certainly made the day a lot more enjoyable.
I would like to thank the New Plymouth Mountain Bike Club for the use of their trails, Mitchell Cycles for lending me a Spare bike, everyone who supported me with the lead up to this challenge and to those who helped and came out and support me.