As some of you know, this weekend just passed, I ran the Otter Trail, a 42km, 2700m vertical gain explorers adventure that should not be confused with a run at all. I left Ironman SA behind in May to play around on the trails through winter and get back to basics, back to the 4 pillars that I speak of so often:
- Aerobic Capacity
The Otter is unlike anything I have ever experienced and I can see why experience on the trail counts. My rookie attitude was great for what I wanted out of the race, but if I want to go back and race, I have learned that there is nothing like specific preparation for an event like this. First, I wanted to get a quick overview of the race out the way before the important stuff – what you can take with you on your journeys.
The prologue was great the day before and looking at the depth of the field, I was hoping to make the top 24, called the Abangeni, so that I could avoid the 4 minute delay near the start, and well, because I am a competitive lad. The field, however, was stacked and on getting to the prologue venue I was astounded at the names just hanging around. In my mind, I had 23min as the cut-off to make the Abangeni. I had my work cut out for me.
I forgot to hit the start button on the Garmin at the gate and ran the flats and downhills as hard as I could, but holding back on the hills. The route was tricky, hilly and slippery to say the least and I crossed in 22:41 and thought I had just done enough. Turned out 23:20 was the last guy, I had managed to sneak in the top 20 in 19th and was happy. Time to rest up and get ready for the long day out.
I opted to run the race on home made rice cakes and Rehidrat only as this had worked well throughout winter training. It was superb and a choice I am going to keep making in longer races.
The race kicked off at 6:30 and it wasn’t long before we were off onto the beach and heading for the first trail marking. The front guys meant business and I opted to hang back and try make a push in the last 2 hours of the day as I didn’t want to finish in pieces. The first climb was over quite quickly and before I knew it, we had ticked off an hour and I was running with Jock Green, feeling great. The bloukrans swim is great and that is where the associated picture for this post comes from.
In the 2nd hour I really found a comfortable groove as the trail was more open and I felt really good as I was starting to pull back the front group of guys one by one. I was bang on track for the time I wanted to run and was coping with the ups, downs and technical sections well.
The trail is 100% single track and 100% technical by most peoples standards. I ran almost exclusively on trail for the last 3 months, but as technical as I thought I could run was a long way off what we experienced. In years to come, when I go back to run in a few years, I will include weekly rock scrambling, platteklip trips and far more single track running. I cannot describe how technical the trail is, and the mental aspect of remaining focused for that long is something I could pay more attention to, as an Ironman athlete who zones out and just plods on.
Around 2 hours I caught Bruce Arnett and another guy, and ran with them comfortably and we were making great progress through the rivers where cold water was a welcome sight.
As we crossed under a canopy of trees I felt 3 distinctive stings on my head (hornet I figured) and the ensuing headache and wooziness that followed between hour 3 and 4 were my only downfall for the day. I lost contact with the group I was in, and a few more groups as I struggled with focus and the poison worked its way through my system. It was not ideal but it was what it was and I opted to head for the finish as fast as I could, but without making a silly mistake like falling off a cliffside. This meant going a little slower, but I was content.
Around 4 hours I was picked up by a chap who was going well and my head was coming back around so I opted to dig a little and stick with him. I yo-yo’d off the back of him for about 30min and then found a nice rhythm. I figured 5 hours may still be on the cards if I motored and we were starting to pick up some big names on the trails. For a moment I thought of what could be, with the time I lost (I counted about 10min lost in my head) but it was just a moment – I was here for the experience.
I figured if I hit the only tar section with 6minutes to go I could make it, and at 4:58 we hit the tar. That little dream was over and I took a slow jog to the end, finishing in 5:04. I was happy to have come through the dark patch where I felt woozy and had to slow down, but managed to get through it and finish strong. This is a course you come to scout your first run unless you`re an overall contender. I need another year of technical running to be able to move down the hills with the front guys and in the end, I would still have been 25min off without the interruption in the middle, so I have plenty to learn. But here is what I did learn this winter, while running trail:
- The feet follow the head. If you believe you can run something, you can. The brain learns by hope, trust and chance/failure.
- I need to run more specifically towards events. Nothing prepares quite like it. For IMSA – flat, form focused runs. 3 hours max. For Otter – hilly, rock scrambling runs. 5 hours max (I only managed a handful of 3 hour runs).
- Trail makes you strong and powerful if you keep the intensity down and focus the intensity on running downhill.
- A decent gym routine does wonders for your trail running.
- Lunch runs in winter are the best thing in the world. A quick 40min out on the Table Mountain trails twice a week was superb.
- The endorphins high that comes from trail can result in more “training hangovers” than I thought. A reason to run every day then…
- Winter is the time to play. That was my biggest lesson. Trail was a massive adaptation and I looked at it like a new sport, a new challenge and a new adventure. Every session was an adventure and I came out of winter relaxed and refreshed, in a space that I entered a tired and broken man in May.
And so, for the first time in 5.5 months, I wrote myself a training program yesterday and it’s time to get the focus and plan back after a winter of running when I felt like it and how I felt like it. I hope the take the playful attitude into the next phase and keep the spirits high. Someday, I will be back to play at the Otter with the big boys, with more specific preparation and more strategy. This time around, I was the tourist, which was absolutely perfect for me.
The following words come from a very wise man I know:
It takes a long time to work out that life is this simple. It takes focus and discipline to keep it simple. By sharing stories from inspiring people, beautiful images and my experiences, I hope to inspire others.
It matters not who he is, because he longs not for the approval or the recognition by calling his name here. Aloha!
I find myself caring less and less about races and more about the path, the journey, the experience. Yes, I am competitive. Very. This year I achieved more than any year before. It was harder than I imagined, the goal of winning 70.3, Xterra & Ironman age group titles in the same year and qualifying for 3 sets of world championships. In this arena, it doesn’t get higher than that for a guy like me.
But here are the experiences that stood out for me, this year:
- Duelling with an animal for 9hrs32minutes. The animal was my ego and the vacillating that occurred between giving into the legend/friend/competitor chasing me and being 100% in my own bubble.
- Conquering 2500m of vertical gain in one run. Oh, it snowed during the run and my senses are still raw from the experience.
- Completing massive, technical, troublesome projects despite the circumstances. It was a true team effort, not something a solo endurance junkie gets his hands dirty in a lot. I have people around me I can trust implicitly. I know VERY few people who can claim this.
- Failing, over and over. I joined a powerlifting/crossfit gym this winter. I sucked. I failed multiple times every session. It has instilled a humility in me I wish I could put a finger on, but failing is a good thing and has taught me a lot this winter.
The harder than you think motto applies to all of us. Our possible is just that – possible. It’s this moving, morphing thing that relates to how hard we push. Most of us only push until just before failure. If, like me, your central governor is a little rubber band, pushing to failure means going pretty far. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you. I learned that a progressive fail is possible this year. You could shoot out the blocks and fail within 3minutes or push more gently, fail at 20, as the watch stops. But fail you should.
Stick your neck out, admit it’s harder than you want to go, but that’s why you should go. I see so many athletes who play it safe, being content with results instead of throwing the boundaries out the window and being ecstatic with the journey, littered with failures and successes.
Who wants to be content? I think Calvin sums it up perfectly for me:
When you watched Meet the Superheroes earlier in the week, did those athletes strive you as content or as people who wanted euphoria? How much harder is their hard? Harder than you think?
There is always the excuse factor. That “If only” thing. If your goal is pure winning, a tangible like that has a never-ending list of excuses. If you are shooting for excellence or your goal is the journey, suddenly you’ll find this a superb exercise to see how deep your excuse goes. Add a “then what” after your excuse, for example:
Excuse: If I had a lighter bike….
Then: I would climb faster.
Now take it down another level:
If I climbed faster…
If you goal is simply to hit a time or beat someone, you’ll find those are two never-ending lists. There will always be lighter bikes, faster guys and bigger hills to conquer.
Get into the process of moving your body, not the bike. Of getting into the moment of being out there, pushing your body up that hill, pushing and willing your mind to get there against yourself, not the other guy.
Approach the questions in your life this way, the excuses for non-progression.
You’ll quickly work out if your goals are excellence based, ie a never-moving journey where you’ll find constant joy in every session, or if you are setting yourself up for disappointing finish line after disappointing finish line.
The time when I moved goals to experience, to excellence and to learning was the time when my life switched fully, when I awoke to the process and the days when Urban Ninja was born.
Here are some great articles to think about this weekend.
Have a superb weekend.
Sports are a way to tell a story. There, I said it. A path to excellence through the persistent application of methods, materials and toys. Add in some grit, determination and repetition and voila!
The more endurance orientated your sport, the more likely you are to be telling a story. If you`re a 100m runner, perhaps you are more of a haiku expert. But for the freaks like me, we are writing epic 5 book tales with our bodies and our minds.
Where does this all stem from?
I clicked a link today, on the 22 rules of storytelling, by Pixar, possibly one of the greatest storytelling companies around. Check this:
#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
Those are ALL things that relate to how I am living my life. Your life is a story, whether you like it or not. It’s up to you how you go about telling this story. Is that not just the most beautiful choice ever. Here is a canvas. Paint it how you like. You can keep painting over it, but the paint adds up and when you want to fix the bottom layer, you have to scrape through all the others as well.
I was having a chat with Chad today and as is the norm when I meet people – they ask me how I fit everything in.
How do you get it all done?
I am continuously striving for the simple life. This means de-cluttering. I spoke about that in the last post and I am currently in the process of another clean – 2 black bags of stuff going to the kids at Songo – and have taken photos of 50 items in my house I am going to sell, with some benefit to others. Today I am going to try and talk about the other items which create the dream I am after – the Simple Life.
- Sleep 8 hours a night, as your highest priority.
- De-clutter every 6 months. Be ruthless.
- Cut the applications and platforms you are not using. Kill Facebook on every appliance you own and leave it for internet access only.
- Turn off notifications. Who cares if someone liked a post you put up. Kill your notifications. If its important, people will call you. If they don’t, they need to learn to.
- Filter your email. Unsubscribe from all your newsletters and filter only what you really need into an RSS reader.
- Buy local, ethical products. Search for local, organic foods that get delivered to you once a week. Shop for ethical meats at a butchery and visit the owner, getting to know him, so that he gets to know what you like. This will mean less trips to malls, shopping centers and a more relaxed approach to food. It will mean you have to try new foods, and your kitchen should be an area of love.
- Cut the junk mileage out of your training. You know which ones.
- Cut the TV. In our house, we watch one or two specific shows per week, which we enjoy. For the rest of our available time, we play games, talk about trips we want to take and things going on in our lives. We are proactive about our relationship, talking about things that are important to us while the other half really listens.
- Cut the junk food. This means wheat and sugar as a primary. I am not perfect in this regard, but I go as far as I can. We all fail. Start small by cutting out white and brown bread, sugar in your coffee and avoiding pizza and pasta. There is amazing food out there.
- Drink good wine. This is a personal favourite. It makes me happy to drink a beautiful, elegant, simple glass of wine at the end of the day. It’s a journey in its own, teaches me how to appreciate nuances, smells and tastes that combine with the food we eat.
- Have amazing friends. It’s your choice who you befriend. If your friend are not amazing, your life will be complicated. They will sap your energy instead of building you up. I have a core group of friends who make me a better person just by being around them. They exemplify everything I am striving for. They inspire me every day.
- Keep your wardrobe simple. Essential items that make a difference. Things that tell people about you, not about who you are trying to be. Making an effort is important and your clothing should not be the place you are skimping. I am not talking about expensive gear, but about having the essentials around that take the hassle out of deciding what to wear in the morning, but that leave people thinking you take care of yourself.
Those are some simple ways to keep it simple. I have time because I make time.
What’s your excuse?
I am at the age where my toys are on the up. I am also at the point where these toys are inhabiting every corner of my living space, and at the point where its become an irritation to me. So I am at the point where I can either:
- Rent storage and pay extra just to have stuff.
- Get a bigger place to love to accommodate my toys.
- Sell stuff with profit a good cause with some of the stuff.
As you know, I am closely associated to Songo.info and I donate about 4 black bags of old kit there every year. So I am more of the opinion that I should be trying to simplify, yet again. Its a radical process that I have to keep doing. I was reading a little about simplification again this morning and came across some great ways to handle the disease that is clutter in our lives. What I was reading had a much broader impact than just the stuff cluttering my space, but it made me think about stuff specifically and what the absolute minimum stuff is that I need to get through my days.
Here is the process I am going to follow in the next few weeks to get back down to a minimum.
1. Make a list of everything you own.
Include everything and I mean everything in there. Socks, shoes, hats, old tools, everything…
2. Assign a value to everything on the list.
The value should represent what you feel you could sell that item for, as well as the amount of time you would need to sell it, realistically, in the simplest way.
3. Write down how many times per month you use that item.
Then add, on a scale of 1-10, how much you enjoy that experience.
4. Now start a new list, removing the following items:
– Items you have not used in 6 months.
– Items you listed under 5 on the enjoyment scale.
– Items you have duplicates of that you do not use.
– Items under R100 in value go into a DONATION pile.
5. Sell those items. Take 10% of total sales and donate it to a worthy cause.
Think of a charity you have always wanted to support.
6. Take another 10% and treat someone, without care for the value.
Possibly take some long lost mates out for a long lunch or treat your long-suffering girlfriend to a weekend away. But use some of it for a cause that improves your life or truly benefits someone else’s life.
7. Take 10% and spend it on yourself on items you have been longing for.
Do it, without a care.
8. Put the rest of the money away, and forget about it.
Interest rates are low, times are good to save. Don’t be a fool and spend it all.
These seem like simple steps and perhaps you’ll be amazed at the value you could derive out of this. Not only will you not miss 80% of what you give away or sell, your space will be improved, your life more calm and you will be down to your minimum possible stuff.
Who is with me?
I have been fiddling, tweaking and trying a whole lot of different things lately. New toys, new techniques and new ways of thinking in approaching the basic idea of moving my body from point A to point B with as little effort (but as quickly) as possible.
Simple, not easy. I came across the following paragraphs:
When contemplating how best to build the specific preparation phase of your season, keep the following four points in mind.
Getting tired is the point of training. Your training program should be challenging. Following your most important workouts, it’s normal to be tired and/or sore for 12 to 36 hours. If you feel “nothing” then you can afford to bump the intensity and duration a bit. If you are experiencing persistent fatigue or muscle soreness then you are over doing it. Most of us have no trouble with this point – as highly motivated athletes, we are most often giving ourselves a little too much.
Get tired the right way. Each of us has a limited amount of recovery “points”. You want to use your recovery points the most effective way possible. This means that your fatigue should be generated in the most race specific method possible. Further, your most challenging sessions should address your greatest limiter. A 45-minute track session might be beneficial to you. However, is it the best way to use your recovery points?
Increase your recovery strategy in line with your training strategy. When you step up your training, you must step up your recovery. Injury, burn-out and illness are nearly always caused by a breakdown in recovery (flexibility, sleep or nutrition) rather than a specific training issue. The intelligent athlete uses as many recovery tricks as possible – healthy foods, naps, consistent sleep, massage, yoga and flexibility work. These items speed your recovery and enable you to tolerate more training. The faster you bounce back and the greater the stumuli, the greater the training effect.
Never sacrifice aerobic work for intensity. Steady paced, aerobic endurance training is the heart of endurance performance – it is the critical success factor for a solid bike split and being able to “run-the-run.” In the final weeks of A-race training, many athletes drop their core endurance sessions in favor of high intensity “race specific” interval sessions. The most race specific workout you can do for long course racing is your key endurance day. Your B- and C-priority races will give you plenty of higher intensity work.
Those points are incredible. I cannot stress how important they are.
Now is the time of the year where athletes are frustrated. They are fed up with the weather, the cold, the darkness.
So they push a little harder in the sessions they actually manage to get to. This leads to niggles, to a compromised immune system and a tired head. So they feel a little depressed, rest 2 days and then hit it hard again for a few days. It makes them hate their jobs a little, and because they are sick and niggly they stay at home instead of drinking a beer with mates on Saturday night.
Stupidity is doing what again? Something about the same thing over and over?
We train to get tired. We train to learn about our bodies, surely. Not only how to lie to ourselves about how tired we are but admit that we are tired, learn what the niggles mean, what the emotional responses are to the physical stimulus and learn what feelings mean more and which mean less? Surely there is an education process?
I wonder when I look at the mass that makes up the majority of endurance sports people.
Do they ever learn?
Why are they always falling short on their goals?
Is nobody teaching these people to fish? You must know this story;
Fishing rods are cheaper than fish. You can’t give people fishing rods, when there is no lake. It’s like selling fishing rods to people who live in the desert. They should have water. If the people who live in the desert have a lake, they can go fishing. At which point, it is okay to give them fishing rods, instead of fish that they will finish eating in a day. Greedy fish-eating bastards who live in the desert.
Unless you have a lake to fish in, what’s the point. Spend the time cleaning out your life, cutting the clutter, before you spend the time training because your answers and your achievement of goals will not happen if you leave the lake dry.
This again relates to training YOUR body. Go slow, go long, keep the intensity down. Repeat, repeat and repeat for 1000 days. Then think about adding 4 weeks of intensity before your big race.
The slow stuff builds the lake.
By going at YOUR intensity, your pace, your aerobic lake will build and then, one day, you can bring your rod to the lake, and pull our the biggest, shiniest fish in the lake.
Until then, train YOUR body, fill your lake.
I was having a conversation with ThatGuy this morning. We had been out riding in the cold, the slight rain and the dark for about 90min, dealing with a puncture along the way. We were talking about training, about consistency, balance, life and how to get it all together in one go.
Unfortunately, there is no one go solution. Sure, I can prescribe the same 15 week program to about 90% of you and you will get fit, you will get faster and you will stay injury free. The first 15 weeks is the first block.
Imagine it as building blocks. If you stack them one on top of the other, eventually it will fall over. You have to widen the entry point at some point. It means going back down to ground level and starting again, from scratch. The other blocks remain, but to stabilise, to gain marginally at the top, often we have to go back and build, from the bottom.
How many 15 week base periods do you need to lay out to get to Kona, for instance? Once you’ve learnt to know what it takes to qualify, is it easy from there on out?
The answer is no. Competition gets stiffer and it takes sacrifice, dedication and quite a bit of suffering just to get to the start line sometimes. You have have plateau’d and not listened to your body and on race day, you may come up short.
The building blocks we take apply to everything in life. Do you keep plugging away at your day job and expect growth?
Surely if you have not studied in the past 20 years you are missing something that could make you a better salesman/technician/engineer? Look at the top paying professions – they require constant studying, update courses and continuously upgrading your qualifications. If you are not doing courses in to further your career, how do you expect to get to where you want to? You read how many blogs about triathlon / running but refuse to read up about sales techniques or new discoveries in your field of work?
Do you think that guy does the same thing year in, year out? That he doesn’t study or work at his “building blocks” to make him a more successful champion? At age 38 he had the best year of his life in our sport. That after the worst year in 5 years. He went back, considered his base, reworked his targets, his style, his strength, studied, references, consulted the best and worked towards being the best triathlete in the world. Simple, not easy.
Where are your blocks about to topple over?
Are you considering every angle?
Are you studying, consulting and reading up on new methods, extreme technologies and are you really putting in all the work to get to where you want to be?
This thought pattern currently has me doing Olympic lifting classes, skills clinics and studying ways to remove the ongoing stress of growing up, making a living and becoming wealthy versus the focus of a balanced lifestyle where abundance is my focus and application is the inset.
Morning rides make for superb conversations, don’t they?
Last night, I had the privilege of being at the premier of The Road Uphill, a movie about the Schleck brothers. It’s two days till the Tour de France and it was an important look into the aspects that surround these two talented boys. Andy – confident, powerful, a bit more brash. Frank – insecure and without the belief that makes a champion.
There are flashes of Fabian Cancellara, who never let’s you doubt he is the man to beat and Jens Voigt, who will give everything for his leaders.
Here is a quick overview of the film:
I was deeply saddened by the movie. It was incredibly beautifully filmed, and the storyline is great, but left me sad.
The movie starts by showing young Schlecks and the story of their father, an ex-pro who rode as a domestique. Their dad clearly believes that winning isn’t everything. That is why he rode as a domestique in the support of other riders and not winning for himself.
The attitude at Leopard was the same. Their team directors always spoke of others to watch, about it not being about the win and for me, the Leopard team was a rehashed version of CSC, down to Nygaard, the worst Riis impersonator on the market. Survival camps, hugs and team spirit were all part of Riis’s formula for success, but he taught his guys to win. At all costs. You bury yourself for your team mates, because they will turn themselves inside out for the win.
If I rode till I coughed up a lung and the guy who I rode for was openly ok about not winning I would be highly irritated. The mediocrity issue is also touched on in this post and was openly witnessed by the spat between the Schlecks and Bruyneel earlier this year. He wants winners.
Sponsors demand winners.
Do you think Trek make the 2nd best bike in the world and are ok with that? No, they innovate and fight to make the best product on the market, so that a rider like Andy Schleck can use it to win the greatest race of the year. Their R&D is paid back 100 times if he wins. If he comes second, I would imagine the sales are not quite the same. It’s the same for all their sponsors.
Their Craft kit is custom-made perfection, for winners. Not cool kit for kids who got close to the top.
Perhaps I am being a little harsh about this, but damn it, sport exists for the win. I just don’t believe either of them will win the Tour without changing that attitude. Tony Hawk wasn’t happy with the 720 that existed on the ramp, so he pulls out a 900 and stuns the world into action. He could have stuck with 720 no hassles. But the 900 was what we remember with almost 8 000 000 views on Youtube.
Which brings me to mentoring and how important that is. Had their father been a winner at all costs, perhaps they would not have been as good as they are, his kids. When dads are as good as an Eddy Merkx or a Michael Schumacher, we don’t see their kids emulating them, because their dads push too hard at a young age, perhaps, or are disinterested because to be those kinds of winners requires a selfish approach in the first place.
Bjarne got the best out of the Schlecks – Frank with classics wins and the belief that he could win and Andy – he took Andy from a young age and moulded him. I met Andy & Frank when we brought the CSC team to South Africa in 2006/2007 – Bjarne then believed that Andy would become the tour champion and Frank should focus on the classics, specifically the last week of classics in Liege and Amstel. He was mentoring them and moulding them for the future, with every word.
In the film last night, I felt the guys were lacking in mentorship and almost made the rules as they went, raced as they felt. Lacking in tough love. An entire film about it being about uphill only, but that it’s alright to finish second, as long as you had fun, is not what professional sports is about. It’s not what gets young kids through the time times when they are trying to get to the top.
When it comes to champions, it requires a helping hand to mould the raw talent, the powerful determination that is there in an athlete. Look at what Bjarne did for Basso, for Fabian and what Bruyneel did for Lance.
They have the best bikes, the best wheels, the best gear, the best financial support, massage, food and more. Why should their performance not reflect the same?
Why should they play it so safe?
Maybe there is not enough on the line for them?
What are your thoughts?
Dare I say it, but a pause has arrived. The three projects that have consumed my work life for the past 6 months are spat and polished and ready for the market, one already live for a few days, and it has presented me with a decent moment here to pause and take a breather, get back on top of my personal admin (like entering races, setting a program and getting on top of my personal time) and yes, blog a little more. Work hangover is about to hit and I am looking forward it it, as it will mean immersing myself in new projects and new ideas.
I have said that I learned a lot racing this year, training this year and without a doubt, I learned the most in my work environment. Working with corporates and dealing with the hierarchies within a massive corporate has taught me more about myself than possibly anything else has, ever. Patience, acceptance and learning to work within the confines of a space where even mild chaos is frowned upon, has been a challenge. Corporate structures are immensely impressive. As a small company, we weave our way in and out of their structures and adopt the bits we have to in order to make the project a success. I like a bit of chaos. Why else would I put myself into situations that are tough to get out of like being stuck in the middle of the Karoo without water with no car and 4 other dodgy guys for company?
Either way, three world class products are about to come out of New Media Labs, because we work incredibly well as a team. We delegate, we support and we take responsibility for the project as a team. On top of that, we have two internal projects running, very near completion, and just last night, we won an international award for a project we worked on recently.
But now, for me, for just a few days, it is time to breathe. Time to write, to create and to be flirty with my future again.
I am very excited for these few days. It means getting back to regular scheduled programming, planning adventures and being good about getting outside more regularly, being good at eating superbly and sleeping the best hours I can. I am very excited.
In the cycling class I give every Thursday morning I remind the guys and girls to breathe and breathe properly. It’s a vital skill to learn, to master and to keep practising. I’m about to rock that party breathing like my life depended on it.
Come with me.