Meet Idai Makaya
October 18, 2015
I’m Idai Makaya, an Athlete & Ambassador for ElliptGO in the UK. Here I share my own (rather extreme) ElliptiGO Journey…
All my life I have been drawn towards the attainment of my full physical potential. At a young age I took up callisthenics training for general fitness – and I really enjoyed that. Then my training evolved at the age of 16 into a more ‘bodybuilding-style’ of exercise, with more of a focus on my physical appearance – as is common in people that age. At the same time as I had started bodybuilding training I also took up what I would call “jogging” (just slow paced fitness running – accompanying my mum – so she wouldn’t have to run alone). When in my 20s I added kickboxing & martial arts training to my regime and my running got really serious, because I had wanted to get fitter for kickboxing. Eventually, that training led to 2 second place finishes at the British Taekwondo Championships.
I didn’t really like bikes in my youth – probably because I never had the right one! I believed that road bikes made kickboxers less flexible (which they actually do) and that they were not good for your posture. I also felt that, as an exercise, cycling just takes a up too much of your time (if you want to get really fit doing it). In my view, the riding position was ‘unnatural’. So I had avoided cycling, in favour of running. In my early 30s I had become a newspaper and magazine columnist, writing articles about martial arts fitness, general health, healthcare and fitness. I worked in the health & healthcare industry at the time and I did some part-time martial arts instruction as well. It was through my magazine work that I first came across the ElliptiGO bike – when I had interviewed the ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes, back in January 2010.
Dean was one of the early ElliptiGO adopters who had spotted its potential for training runners without impact – and when I saw his video of the ElliptiGO bike it was a genuine turning point in my life. I recall telling my wife, as I had watched the video: “This is the future of cardiovascular training…” Finally, I thought I had found a bike which met all my training criteria – with regard to flexibility training, posture, calorie burn intensity, and comfort.
I was certain the ElliptiGO was to become a new revolution in fitness training and I knew then and there that I was going to be a part of that ‘revolution’. So I had contacted Bryan Pate – the CEO of ElliptiGO Inc. – and we eventually got into discussions about building the European ElliptiGO community. In mid-2010 I had stopped running (after about 20 years of run training) and I took up ElliptiGO cycling, instead. Little did I realise, at the time, that training on the ElliptiGO would finally get me into the sport of cycling – but it did…
ElliptiGO training is highly addictive – and once I got started I had become completely absorbed in my new journey of discovery and had progressed really quickly. In January of 2011, I had decided to ‘take things up a level’ and I had joined the Cycle Touring Club (CTC). I would regularly do Sunday club rides on my ElliptiGO with the CTC riding group in Milton Keynes and that had schooled me well about road cycling, how to use the roads safely – and that sort of thing. It had also given me more of an appreciation for the ‘culture’ and the social aspects of the sport of cycling.
I had started training for a 100-mile cycling event (century ride) on my ElliptiGO in 2011 and I had gone on to do two century rides by the end of 2011 – and many other shorter cycling events – all on the ElliptiGO. In 2012 I had attempted a new challenge – aiming to complete a 24 hour time trial cycling event on the ElliptiGO. I had successfully covered 232-miles in the 24 hour event and from that point I became very keen to challenge myself even further and to test what’s truly possible on the ElliptiGO. So I entered a second 24 hour time trial in 2013 – after learning from my first 24 hour cycling experience in 2012. In the second 24 hour time trial I had covered 252-miles in a 23.5 hour ride from Manchester to London.
That experience had led into my longest ever ElliptGO cycling challenge – the London Edinburgh London Audax cycling challenge (LEL 2013). LEL is a 1,418 Km ride – from London to Edinburgh and back again – with a time limit of 116 hrs & 40 minutes. It is held every 4 years and over 1,000 clyclists take part in it. I took part in LEL 2013 alongside 2 other ElliptiGO riders – Alan McDonogh and Steve Cook. Alan and I both completed the LEL 2013 ride successfully on our ElliptiGOs, within the testing time limit!
Check out a short film of our LEL 2013 Ride by clicking on the video play button below…
In 2014 we had continued to challenge ourselves in Audax long-distance cycling events and more ElliptiGO riders had joined us in our ultra-endurance rides. Towards the end of 2014 we had decided to try and build a team of ElliptiGO riders to take on the most prestigious long-distance cycling event in the world, the Paris Brest Paris Audax cycling challenge (PBP 2015). PBP is a lot like the LEL event we rode in 2013. It is 1,230km long, with a time limit of 90 hours. Like the LEL ride, the PBP event is also held every 4 years – but PBP has been run regularly for nearly 120 years (making it the oldest cycling event in the world). In fact, the Tour de France was born out of the PBP many years ago – because the cycling governing body had thought 1,200 Km was too far to race in a single stretch.
We were able to convince about 20 ElliptiGO riders to join us in our PBP challenge by the end of 2014 – but they would all have to qualify for the PBP 2015 event by riding a what is called a “super randonneur series“. This “super randonneur series” of Audax cycling events would involve completing a 200 Km Audax event (in under 13.5 hours), then a 300 Km Audax event (in under 20 hours), then a 400 Km Audax event (in under 27 hours) and, finally, a 600 Km Audax event (in under 40 hours).
As you can see, the qualification process for PBP 2015 was very demanding – and although 15 members of the ElliptiGO team eventually became certified “randonneurs” in the qualification process, only 8 of us in the team finally completed the full PBP 2015 qualification series. In August 2015 the 8 of us in the ElliptiGO Team had lined up in St Quentin, France, to start PBP 2015 alongside more than 6,000 other cyclists. It was an epic adventure and all of us rode really well. Six of us from the ElliptiGO Team eventually beat the 90 hour time limit, to successfully complete the PBP on ElliptiGO bikes!
My ElliptiGO journey continues and I’m keen to see even more people joining us in the ElliptiGO community. So if you want to do what we have done (and change your life forever) get in touch and we would love to welcome you into the ElliptiGO family! There isn’t a better way to exercise than on the ElliptiGO (whether you want to lose weight – and get into peak shape – or if you want to take on the most epic endurance cycling challenges on Earth)…