It’s true what they say about me.
That I am not the man I used to be. That I no longer win at all costs and that I don’t put in the hours I used to. It’s all truth.
Forget the ‘adventure’ elements, the photos I take of me having ‘fun’ and the distractions that I put up to draw you away from the obvious truth that I am not the athlete I used to be. It crept up slowly and yet, one day, it was there, obvious to all.
I am outgrowing the level of competitiveness I once had. It’s a combination of the simplest thing, called growing older, as well as a shift in perspective and responsibility for myself.
Sure, you read the stories of the 8h24 Ironman guy who just sold his company for $3.5 billion. You read about the guy who juggles a job, wife, three kids and is Ironman Age Group Champion. I am sure they are also living the Banting way 100% to the letter and that their kids are National Age Group Champions in Chess, for the u/12 category, by the age of 8 whilst breaking World Records for the 200m Butterfly.
I am not sure when those guys kick back and take an hour to discuss the relevance of the inclusion of Hautecam versus Alpe D’Huez over a few beers or when they stop looking at their powermeters to maximise their workout time, never mind have the freedom to go out and play Beer Pong with their mate who is leaving for another country, on a random Wednesday.
Each to their own, and all that, but I think the key thing is to grow out of one thing and into another with some panache. Don’t be the guy who goes from winning at sports to winning at Diabetes in 8 weeks flat with a messy divorce and a wedding to a Russian bride in the middle, if you get my drift.
For me, this came as a gradual thing.
And yes, I can still rock up and kick some ass, but the amount of ass I kick is not the driving factor in my athletic career any longer. As you get a little older as a competitive dude (barring Conrad Stoltz and Jens Voigt) your goals turn from kicking everyones ass to kicking everyone younger than your ass’s ass.
When I started considering things like Cent Cols Challenge, after our initial exploring sessions with the Epic Unsupported Tours, I knew that there was certainly something different going on. That the way I pushed myself physically could be different, without the desperation for a time, a place or a result that exists.
My work life is very deadline, numbers and profitability driven. Sure, we make cool stuff, but in the end, its business. I am lucky to work in my passion as well, and I never take this for granted. But I shifted my competitiveness to this environment and in turn, found that my athletic life was a way to decompress, as there was enough achievement reward in my work life.
And so, I grew out of competing for the win. If you are older than me, I know you might feel the same way and still be trying to kick my ass.
And in turn, if you are younger than me – and not PRO (lucky you Dan Hugo) – if you pass me on the run and I happen to stick with you and drop you near the line – its only because of your age, punk!