Lanzarote is billed as one of the toughest long distance races in the world. Being my second I was cocky as hell. I even invested in a snazzy pair of new speedo goggles a few days before the race.
The swim start in lanza is the stuff of legend. Totally unnecessary. But legendary nonetheless . Two and a half thousand athletes are funnelled through what could be described as the width of a room.
You hit the water like a missle and are soon engulfed. The washing machine goes into its last spin cycle whilst at the same time getting kicked and punched in the face.
My snazzy speedos were expedited from my face. Never to be seen again. There is no hand up in air. “Sorry gents I seem to have lost my water spectecles, any chance you old chaps would have a spare? ”
The only option was to put the head down and somehow using jedi powers find my way without the ability to see.
Exiting the Australian exit for the second 1.9k looped I screamed Goggles like a recently felled Hollywood screen soldier looking for a medic. And with a stroke of luck I got a pair!
Lesson: When you can’t see shit, keep going. You may be helped by a random stranger
Having the best kit means nothing
In the same race towards the end of the 7hr bike leg I arrived at the second lowest point in my life . (The lowest is a doozy)
On the second last climb. I was willing my €4.500.00 Trek 7.5 speed concept time trial bike up that bastard mountain. Grinding the gears, at the corner of my eye I could see something starting to creep past.
I looked to my left. A British army soldier, riding a €400 fixed gear bike was about to pass me out. It get’s worse. On the back of his bike was the Japanese flag with the image of Hiroo Onoda.
Who the jaysis is Hiroo Onoda you may ask.
He is buck, a few buttons short of a remote control- that kept fighting in the second world war 29 years after it ended because he did not know the war was over.
lesson: No matter how much you have. Someone with less is doing more. Keep grinding.
Yet again the same race . And people wonder why I will not go back there.
Towards the end of the lanza bike, I was, bonking (body has ran out of nutrition to fuel) like no one has ever bonked before.
There is nothing left in the tank. But you have to somehow keep going.
Draughting ie. Staying behind another rider to gain aerodynamic benefit from the rider in front, is illegal in most triathlon races . There is supposed to be a 12 metre gap between each cyclist. In order to prevent cheating.
Not only did I draught behind another athlete, that athlete was; Female. Old as fuck . So old in fact Wayne Rooney would have been all over her. She was a granny. No offence to granny’s anywhere.
But then, as a 33 year old man. On a €4.5k bike draughing behind a Rooney groupie it was my greatest low point. And what made.it worse was, one of those bronzed continental types passing as I was draughting giving me a disapproving shake of the head.
lesson: If its embarrassing but its getting you to your destination. Suck it up.
Everybody hurts Everybody cries
Everybody around you suffers too
Sure there has to be a sad song!
It is easy to get sucked into your own self in these drives of motivation . However everyone around you takes the blows as much as the individual racing.
Be thay at home tracking, or there on site frantically fretting about the health of their own loved one.
Everyone has their own personal drip drip drip of cortisol. They feel every bump on the road to the start line never mind the finish line. They are as emotionally corded to a dream. As much as the dreamer, he or she. But without any comparative release of chemical to that of the main card .
Lesson : those who follow and execute dreams drain the emotional resources of those around them.
I get a lot of comments from folks after I post regarding my trend to always comment, on some sort of bodily fluid ejection. What you take from that sentence depends on how corrupted you may already be. Seek help.
But it does happen. People do shat themselves. The old 50/50 the joke is as old as endurance racing or two day drinking itself.
Do not trust a fart lads. It may destroy you . And whatever you do, please preempt this scenario by not wearing white all in one triathlon gear . Beacuse the result is hard for the duck running athlete in front as much as the horrified individual behind.
Lesson: err on the side of caution .