Thursday, 14 August 2014

Caravan Calamity

It's always a gamble, entering a big endurance event. Months of work and build up, all for one day. It is all consuming, every weekend gets taken up with a training epic or practise race. Holidays get planned around good training locations. Toenails gradually disappear. Life becomes divided in "before and after", where "after" is really the only suitable time for hardcore socials as it won't interfere with training. Money gets spent fine-tuning your bike (okay, getting bar tape that matches your frame and helmet..) whilst your car gets abandoned and no matter which bag you go to, there will be some sort of energy bar in it, just in case.

I found a good balance this year and have tried not to take it all too seriously. You might look at my all-singing, all-dancing, colour coordinated training plan with integrated pace calculator, mile-tracker and event calendar and you might think I am taking it all very seriously, but I really just want to make sure I do enough not to DNF my first iron distance triathlon.

In fact, having fallen madly in love a few months ago I am not at any risk of over-training; I have done just the sessions I needed to. Whereas previously I would have filled my time with junk miles and gym time, now I finish a session and think about my next candlelit dinner and cuddle on the sofa. There I was smugly thinking to myself that I had finally found the perfect balance and that I finally had my priorities in the right place... then, as I laid strapped to a stretcher in the back of an ambulance - after being hit by a caravan and writing off my bike - my first thought was, "How should I rearrange my training plan?" and my second, "Can I do my impending half ironman on a mountain bike?". Obviously nothing has changed.

I was gutted to drop out of that half ironman, which was planned for the following weekend. I was going to race alongside and catch up with one of my favourite triathletes at the Owler Tri in Kent. Plus, the race medal was a pirate owl and I needed to have it in my collection. However, bike-less and sore, it was never going to happen. My concerns moved forward to Weymouth.

The first two weeks after the accident I doubted I would realistically be able to race. Fortunately the injuries were not season-ending. Annoying and painful, yes, but manageable. I did need to take a couple of weeks to rest and told myself that I would use this opportunity to eat super-healthily, but as I sat awkwardly at home resting only on one bum cheek, feeling sorry for myself and trying desperately hard not to pick off road rash scabs, I returned to my default setting and went hard on the biscuits, cake and ice cream. And wine, but that was medicinal.

This week, as the swelling continues to subside, I am feeling far more confident about participating. I felt the pressure ease as I realised it wasn't about racing any more, it isn't about a time, it is about going and doing something challenging and having fun along the way. When you think about it, that is what the whole season is. One big event might be the pinnacle, but race day itself is the easy bit. It is just something you have to have on the horizon to motivate you through all the time spent plodding, pedalling and risking gastrointestinal distress in dodgy waters.

I have done most of the hard work and hopefully that will be enough to see me through. Now I just need to get used to my new bike, gently ease back into it all and think positive thoughts. And lay off the biscuits. And wine.


  1. Great mate... Nice post I think you 're have talent to be a writer

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