The Next Level - the ballade of Stevie Bunyard

Bunyard and the Red Feather Boa
You always hear of how people change their lives by adopting drastic measures. The tabloids feed on those stories like sharks embroiled in a blood feud. It’s what movies are made of - the quintessential stories of Rudy, Rocky and GI Jane. And yet, unless you keep your eyes open, you never see it in real life. So many people are busy involved in the 10,000 hour rule of becoming experts or just surviving the rat race that exceptions, alas, are a rarity.

That’s why I love sports for the common man. It allows underdogs the opportunity to make a concerted change by adopting a strict regime of discipline, rigour and asceticism in order to aim for an endeavour measurable in time, sweat and tangibility.
Bunyard swearing allegiance to his 2013 Campaign

I met Stephen Bunyard a few years back. I liked him immediately. He has the disposition of a military horseman saturated with chivalry, nobility and the narrowed eyes of a warrior scanning the horizon for sparks of adventure. And, soon enough, you learn that’s just the first layer. He is the type of man by which the zeitgeist of an era is determined. 
Bunyard - plotting world domination (far left)

Stephen had undertaken the bold task of reinventing himself as a cyclist. And not simply a get-your-bike-out-the-garage-reinvention, but a determined and well plotted plan of attack. He took a harsh look at the goal he wanted to achieve. The goal? Riding with the Apocalypse Cows in the 2013 Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge and doing two loops of the 94.7km course with the first loop in under 3 hours. Simple. Elegant. Tough. And with that in mind he changed everything.

In 2012, he finished the 94.7 on his mountain bike in a time of over 5 and a half hours. Granted this included some tequila and burger stops, however I remember watching him weave his mountainbike up Summit Road like a zombie trying to mount a Silverback gorilla. It was painful to watch and a reminder of the suffering endured by the tail-enders of that hot, hilly course. 
The Start

In 2013, just a few weeks ago, he rode two laps of the 94.7 and broke the 3 hour barrier (2h57s to be precise) on his first loop. He then went on and finished the second loop and rumour has it even pushed an ice cream bicycle across the finish line.

Just add wings

A new term has been coined: “Doing a Bunyard”. It means a complete overhaul of one’s lifestyle and perceptions in order make the impossible possible. Otherwise known as The Next Level.

2014 – Do a Bunyard,