0

Your Cart is Empty

Why do we do this?

August 01, 2017

Why do we do this?

ioMerino Outsider, Kyle Williams, knows all about testing himself, having completed some incredible adventures over the past few years. But the question is: why? 

By Kyle Williams

 

Why do we do this?

It’s a bone chilling 1 degree Celsius (33.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Snowy Mountains, Australia’s highest mountain range. The brutal alpine wind blows relentlessly across the exposed mountain ridge, making the ambient temperature feel well below freezing. It’s after midnight and I am in the midst of complete darkness, somehow trying to navigate an off-trail route through the blackness, snow grass and endless rock boulders to Mount Stillwell, 1 of 21 mountain peaks above 2,000 metres (6,562 feet) within the Snowy’s Main Range.

 

 

Accompanied by best friend and adventure partner Jamie Smith, we have been at this for nearly 19 hours now as part of our ‘A21 Ultra Adventure’: A never before attempted 82 kilometre (51 mile) ultra marathon adventure across Australia’s Snowy Mountains Main Range whilst climbing its highest 21 peaks above 2,000 metres (6,562 feet). What Australia’s mountains may lack in elevation, they make up for in the sheer brutality of the terrain and weather. For the majority of this ultra, there has been no designated running trail. Instead, there has sometimes been a ’blink and you’ll miss it’ footpad: A mostly overgrown, undesignated walking trail about 1 foot wide. Miss the footpad and you end up smashing your way through snow grass. For the uninitiated, snow grass is spongy, densely tufted clumps of ankle to knee deep grass that is incredibly difficult to run on. It’s like running in beach sand - soft, unstable and draining - only worse. Coupled with never-ending alpine winds gusting up to 100 kilometres an hour (60 miles an hour), Australia’s Snowy Mountains provide a physical and mental suffer-fest of the first order.After 19 peaks, I’m in the hurt locker. My quads feel increasingly heavy with each stride through the unstable snow grass, whilst my hips and ankles feel like they are slowly being crushed in a vice with each passing kilometre. Worse, my mind is starting to rebel. Energy sucking mountain peak scrambles, endless off-trail running, and night time navigation are not usually part of the deal in ultra running. As someone experiencing their first ultra, I surpassed my comfort zone many hours and kilometres ago. Now, here in the sheer darkness and unrelenting wind gusts of Australia’s toughest alpine range, I confront the eternal question all trail and ultra runners must answer:

 

Why do we do this?

For those that have never experienced it, trail and ultra running is not just about the ’running’; the physical act of running is actually a ’vehicle’ for testing yourself. The only way to get better at anything in life is by testing yourself. Sometimes in life, you actually NEED to put yourself in a hole and then force yourself to crawl out. Do that and you will experience a level of personal growth that is life-changing. You realise that nothing in life comes easily and the ones who succeed aren’t necessarily the fittest or the smartest in the room. Those who succeed simply share a will to do where others do not. They are willing to work hard, willing to give everything they have and are willing to suffer.

 

The act of trail and ultra running in essence then is a true psychological crucible, requiring hard work, suffering, and perseverance to come out the other side. To succeed, you must put yourself in an uncomfortable position. You must be willing to push past your perceived limits. You must be willing to experience ‘the moment.’ That point in a race where you don’t know if you can continue, but somehow find a way to keep moving forward.

 

 

With these thoughts in my head, my emotions start welling up. I realise that I’m experiencing ‘the moment’. I realise, whether consciously or not, I needed to put myself in the hole and this ultra was the vehicle to do so. Now, I must force myself to crawl out of it.

One step becomes two. Two becomes a jog. Then, before I realise, Jamie and I cross the finish line at Charlottes Pass. After 19 hours, 82 kilometres (51 miles) and over 4,000 metres (13,123 feet) of elevation gain, I collapse on the ground from the sheer emotional and mental effort. I lay there totally spent and elated all at once, with the reality of achieving a world first and completing my first ultra at the forefront of my mind. I faced my fears and somehow found a way through. I feel more alive than I ever have and it simply doesn’t get to feel much better than this. Finally, I understand...

 

This is why we do this.



Also in THE ADVENTURE ZONE

The River of the Trembling Spirit - Iceland Traverse 2019
The River of the Trembling Spirit - Iceland Traverse 2019

May 09, 2019

Three Aussie mates, Gareth, Dan and Rich venture into the wilds of Iceland, facing polar conditions on the Vatnajokull ice cap and freezing waters on the river, completely unsupported, with no outside help for a month. Find out what they packed and how to plan to tackle their Iceland traverse. 

#TheRiverOfTheTremblingSpirit

Read More
Less isn’t more. More is more.
Less isn’t more. More is more.

April 01, 2019

While some companies are finding ways to reduce the amount of merino in their clothes, we’ve used a revolutionary new Quantum Knitting technique to add even more Merino for even more comfort and performance. Our new Quantum range has a massive 107% premium merino! Find out more! 

Read More
Conquering Tokyo & The Rain.
Conquering Tokyo & The Rain.

March 28, 2019

We spoke to marathoner Andrea about her recent trip to run the Tokyo Marathon in what turned out to be some very ordinary weather. Or course, she was prepared with her ioMerino so she wasn’t too fazed, but here’s what she had to say about her race, and the rest of her trip to Japan.
Read More

JOIN THE CLUB

Fabric Guide

While Merino is an amazing natural fibre, not all Merino fabrics are created equal. At ioMerino, we make our own fabrics, using only the best quality fibres, and to very specific specifications that make the most of the natural benefits of Merino. All of them are 'Merino rich’. No cheap blends passed off as Merino. No cheaper scratchy fibres or synthetic substitutes to save money. No unethical production. And each fabric is made for a specific purpose. So if you see something with a small amount of elastase or nylon added, you can be sure it absolutely needs to be there to enhance the natural stretch and durability. 

It took every bit of our 140 years of experience in the wool industry to perfect our fabrics, but we think you’ll agree the end result was more than worth the effort.

Ethically Made. Ethically Sourced. Perfectly Natural. 

 

Altitude / Zodiac

Lightweight 170gsm 96% Australian Merino Wool with 4% elastane for extra stretch and comfort. A MicroMerino® Fabric. 

 

Ultra / Universal

Lightweight 160gsm 83% Australian Merino Wool blended with 12% nylon blended for extra durability and 5% Elastane for stretch and comfort.

 

Chaser

Midweight 265gsm 96% Australian Merino Wool with 4% elastane for extra stretch and comfort. A MicroMerino® Fabric. 

 

Summerino - Keystone 

Ultra Lightweight 150gsm 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino® Fabric. 

 

Merino Compression

Midweight 280gsm 76% Australian Merino Wool, 15% Elastane and 9% Nylon for extra stretch and compression properties.

 

Vital

Ultra lightweight ribbed 155gsm 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino®  Fabric. 

 

Summit

Outer Weight 280gsm Fleece 100% Australian Merino Wool. MicroMerino®  Fabric. 

 

Pinnacle

Midweight 260gsm 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino®  Fabric. 

 

Elemental 

Midweight 260gsm waffle texture 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino®  Fabric. 

 

Stride / Glacier / Velocity

Midweight 255gsm French Terry 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino®  Fabric. 

 

Natural Merino Wool benefits: