What takes longer: riding a bike from Sydney to Perth, or watching the entire catalogue of NCIS?
Jason Potter never thought he'd know the answer to that question, but COVID tossed up its share of curveballs. With Melbourne one of the most locked down cities on earth, avid cyclist Potter had to find other ways to get his fix.
He settled for hours upon hours astride the stationary bike at home, with the goal of riding the equivalent Sydney-to-Perth route.
"Three years ago did the MS Gong ride virtually because of COVID," Potter explains.
"Then over the course of October I did the equivalent distance from Perth through to Wollongong on the home trainer. I'd do few hours in the morning, a few hours in the evening, six or seven hours on the weekends and I ended up doing over 4000-odd k's on the trainer.
"It requires a level of, mental stupidity and mental fortitude to do it. My coach thought I was absolutely crazy. He'd never had anybody spend more than about three or four hours on a trainer. He said 'once you've been past that you are in the realm of craziness' but I've done eight-nine hours straight.
"You just watch tele, I've got a nice little view in Melbourne looking back over the Yarra River. You pick a good series and start at the beginning and work your way through.
"I went back back to the pilot episode of NCIS. There's 30 seasons or something and I still didn't finish it. I got a fair way through it so it runs longer than 4000-kilometre ride in terms of hours so they did a lot."
Stupidity perhaps, but it created enough of an itch for him to want to scratch it for real, and for a good cause as he looks to raise $100,000 for MS. It's a cause close to his heart given his mother's battle with multiple sclerosis.
"After I did it virtually, I knew the body could sort of handle that amount of exercise over that period of time," Potter said.
I thought 'maybe I could do it for real'. I thought if I was going to do it I could try and do it for a cause and the MS cause is close to my heart because my mum suffers from multiple sclerosis.
"We thought we'd try and combine the two things together and do the ride across the country to raise those funds and awareness.
"It came to a point where we were going to do it but there was a chance because of COVID we thought 'do we risk starting this process and then, you know, getting to the WA border and can't get in?' Now we're back in a much more normal world to a degree we decided, let's go."
While he's been riding for the best part of two decades, the 48-year-old insists he's "not a professional athlete by any stretch of the imagination" he will be looking to complete the ride in 29 days.
Beginning this Saturday with the MS Gong Tempe-to-Wollongong route, three weeks ahead of the annual event on November 5, and finish with the MS WA ride in Perth on November 12.
It's a plan that will see him spend eight hours a day in the saddle, with just three rest days along the way.
"We's starting with MS Gong route as a nod to that," Potter said.
"We start off by going down to Wollongong then we'll essentially turn right and keep going until I hit another ocean. We're going to average around 150-160 [kilometres] a day.
"I've got a support crew with me, some days will be long, some days are slightly slightly shorter and that's how we're going to get through, little by little. The longest stretch is nine days straight coming into Perth."
It's a mission that will hopefully end with him meeting a hefty fundraising target.
"I'm trying to get to is $100,000," he said.
"People can follow me along on, on the website 'Ocean to Ocean Ride for MS'. There's a track me link and then donate link and the like that people can get involved and follow me across the country."
The MS Gong Ride aims to raise $3 million dollars for those living with MS - You can register for the MS Gong ride at msgongride.org.au
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