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October 10, 2011

The Calm of a Champion

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First off, congrats to Ray Tissink with his 7th after there being rumors of a non-start a week before. Proud of the man.

It was The Big Show over the weekend. What a show indeed. In the last few years, the men have upped the game, with no clear favorite going into any Kona for the last few years. If you had a rough patch, you were out and only a perfect performance brought you the win. So how does the man called Crowie do it, so often, so well?

For me, he is the calm in the storm, the eye of the moving machine that is Ironman. Always quiet, always calm, always professional. If you look at his week before the race, switching 2 key sponsors, you have to know that it must have been a long few weeks leading into the race with those negotiations.

Add the pressure of winning 70.3 Worlds, just a few weeks before.

Don’t forget that he had a puncture in Vegas and raced having just come off anti-biotics, after a 4 months struggle with a virus.

Somehow, his preparation was perfect and his race was perfect. I would imagine him to be a delegator of epic proportions. He clearly has a team around him who he trusts who handle the pressure for him.

I would imagine he gave 50 interviews in the week before the race.

I imagine that he knew he had to cover every move and suss out which one would stick, then it was time to show everyone he COULD ride at the front. For me, it had nothing to do with the bike. His slowest marathon in a few years, despite running a 1:11 in Vegas tells you that he bikes his freaking heart out, hoping the poker face would not crack.

But he kept calm, managing energy on the run as Raelert & Jacobs chased, but for me, he won the race by riding almost too hard, running along the edge of a sword with his desire to be Champion, again. Hunger is beautiful thing to watch as it gets let out. Throw in a bit of anger, a dash of regret and a handful of calm and what you are left with is an incredible mix which gives that quiet power, that awesome-to-watch-goosebumps-power when the guy/girl passes you on the run, fluid, easy and looking like a Sunday stroll when you really know they are going FULL TILT.

Look at Chrissie – look at her patience, her resilience and her attitude. Man, I wish I had just some of that. When the moment obsessed media and minds went “she’s out of it, too far back”, I bet she was thinking “Be smart, ride your own ride, you have the run”. Inside, raging like a wounded buffalo, she picked off her competitors until simply, there were none left and the history book will show her as the victor, unbeaten at the distance, Champion of the World, again.

Watching the race unfold and reading some reports today made me realise that I need more calm, which in turn, means more confidence in my form. I know it comes from putting in the work and this weekend, I covered 350km on my bicycle and tapped out 15km of running at the end of a big week of exercise, so I am getting there. I found some quiet, powerful moments out there. Perhaps the Ellipsis is the Calm of a Champion. The pause to believe in yourself entirely, to back yourself when the chips are seemingly down but when you know that there are still miles to be covered, competitors to smash.

Either way, this weekend’s race was so full of lessons. We witnessed 2 races being raced for 226km, over 8 or 9 hours flat out. That is incredible. In the end, we saw the Calm of 2 great Champions triumph over the best in the world.

Great inspiration for the week.

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