Rupert Guinness fell into endurance cycling.
The Australian sports journalist had been penning a novel on the history of cycling in the country.
While compiling a chapter on a group of intrepid cycling explorers in the 1800s called the Overlanders, Guinness said he was swept up by curiosity.
‘‘They became folklore legends in their time,’’ he said.
‘‘They helped to establish a lot of our current road networks.’’
Gripped with the desire to participate in endurance cycling, Guinness chanced upon an advert for the 2017 inaugural Indian Pacific Wheel Race — and the experience became the basis of his new book, Overlander.
It was no ordinary bike race, with competitors riding completely unassisted from Fremantle in Western Australia to the Opera House in Sydney.
Having never participated in cycling quite like this before, Guinness began training where he focused on riding alone and at night.
The time alone on the road was something Guinness struggled to deal with, as emotional demons bubbled to the surface.
‘‘I had a few personal issues and had gone through a rough period in my life,’’ he said.
Struggling with his self-esteem, Guinness said he developed an eating disorder and the mental demons he had previously battled came knocking at the door.
‘‘It’d come from nowhere, without warning,’’ he said.
It was not the only emotional battle Guinness faced during the ride: fellow participant Mike Hall was tragically killed at the peak of the race.
Guinness made the decision to not press on after the race was cancelled — but the death spurred him and other past participants to take part in an unofficial commemorative race for Mike this year.
They completed the 5000km journey in 27 days, two hours, 15 minutes and 51 seconds.
Guinness said although he still had the same demons within himself, the ride helped him to not be ashamed of his vulnerabilities.
Weekend Life has one copy of Overlander by Rupert Guinness to give away thanks to publisher Simon and Schuster.
To enter, email [email protected] and tell us what is on the front cover of Weekend Life this weekend.
Remember to include your name, address and daytime phone number.
Entries close Wednesday, August 15 at noon and the winner will be contacted by phone.
The winner can collect the book weekdays between 9am and 5pm from the Shepparton News office, Melbourne Rd, Kialla.
For the full terms and conditions of this competition see the Weekend News’ Classifieds section.