At the start of January 2019 training commenced for Alpe D’Huez 70.3. At the end of May 2019 I withdrew my entry from the race and completely changed my plans and thinking for the year ahead. So what’s going on?
Whilst I am a little known for being impulsive, some would say moody but I think that is harsh, this would seem to be quite a change even by my standards. But in the same way that an aircraft crash is usually the conclusion to a sequence of events so too was this change of heart.
Readers that know me across various social channels will know that I recently came off my bicycle on a training ride. At the time nothing much to report other than some road rash and a bruised ego, but next day my left hand had ballooned and was pretty much incapable of gripping or lifting anything. A few investigations later revealed two fractured bones and a temporary ban from riding. Actually swimming was pretty useless too, but I guess my consultant was thinking gentle breast stroke rather than working my arms and pulling the water against my hands. By way of footnote as I type this I sit in a coffee shop waiting to go for an MRI to ensure there is no additional damage.
A bit of a dent to my training plans. But not the end of the world. Marginal call as to the training camp in D’Huez at the start of June. But really? That is a couple of weeks away and I might well be back on a bike by then. Further chats with medical professionals and the conclusion was reached that it was likely to be a bad plan and I should cancel that.
Next problem then; with no alpine training how would I get on in the race? Well climbing has been going OK, but not really getting the meters of constant assent that are needed. Training overall has hit a bit of a block and a plateaux. More to do with motivation, leg niggle and just not enjoying it (which for me is a BIG issue). AmI fit enough? Will I be fit enough? Will I finish and limp across the line or will I put in a credible race? I know that these self doubts are completely normal for any big challenge event (else they wouldn’t be a challenge right!) But in this case I do not feel that I would ‘do my self proud’.
But I would finish.
In which case treat it as a holiday and a bucket list experience? And that dear reader is I think the real rub of it. Frankly this bloody race has been nothing but a complete (and expensive) pain in the arse from the moment that I stupidly said I would go! It has ended up dominating my plans, precluded other races that I do want to do, to go to a place that holds no real appeal and participate in something that I would never have picked for myself. To spend a week with some strangers, that despite some effort on my part, are not turning into friends.
The more I analysed my thoughts, the more I realise that I have a growing animosity towards this event! It would be a long week. And race day would be a LONG day… I didn’t actually want to do it or spend time in that company.
So why the bloody hell are you going?
Because I was invited and at the time the penny didn’t drop that the invite was to fill two places and therefore reduce the rest of the groups accommodation cost. I so naively thought that this was to do with people wanting me to go, join in, maybe do some training together, certainly become part of a new social circle and share a new experience with new friends. Kind of like the experience in Mallorca last year with Wootton Tri, but this would introduce me to the Bedford Harriers. What a naive prat! This was no more complictaed than two extra bodies to effectively subsidise everyone else…
Falling off my bicycle was the catalytic event. And yes it bloody hurt! But maybe the best training event this year! Without it I might (would…) still be on the road to D’Huez, feeling increasingly annoyed and the prospect of a miserable week and a hellish day to endure. OK I could then for ever say I had done (not raced!) Alpe D’Huez… But do I fucking care?
The race season is just about to start. I have some entries for events that I am looking forward to. I am in pretty decent shape and feeling strong. I now have the possibility of taking part in the Cowman Tri with my real friends and having a cracking day. I have changed my club back to Wootton Tri (what the hell was I thinking… Oh yes I remember… IDIOT!). And am trying to sell my Harriers Tri suit (may as well recoup some pennies), as lets face it I am NEVER going to want to be seen wearing that at a race.
This little episode has taught me a lot. Nothing about swim / bike / run but just a LOT about people, and probably more relevant, about me and what I *really* get from the crazy world of triathlon. Worthwhile lessons.
Later I think I will take stock of my training plan and make a few adjustments as the year has changed. But for the better without a doubt. Most importantly, I am confident that when I look back on 2019 in December it won’t have been a wasted year, I will have achieved things that are important to me. And vitally I will have had an awesome year on every front 😉 Sounds like a plan to me…
In the mean time I have an appointment with a set of bloody large magnets, a couple of nurses and a motorised bed. Cheerio 🙂