February 27, 2012

The Pause

Yesterday, a thousand of us raced in Grabouw. By applying years of hard work and knowledge, I came out 8th best on the day. It was a day where I felt rushed on the bike, all day. After a bit of a rush around day on Saturday (completely self inflicted) and a messy T1, it took me almost 18km of the 27km on the ride to settle down to a mild roar.

The pause that I love, that I pursue, that clear mind, the one that was omnipresent at 70.3, totally left me yesterday out there. A week ago I rode that course hard, with no hassles, faster than I did yesterday. I didn’t put my foot down once and yesterday, I must have put my feet down 15 times during the ride, costing me minutes on a day when minutes meant a few places up front.

It’s a great reflection, the way we race.

When the pause is not there, that ability to be clear and think and power our way through the day rather than force it, we make mistakes. Mistakes create frustration, which makes the pause seem even further away, which makes our motivation to hurt less and so forth. The pause is the success factor on race day, and yesterday, I lacked it.

It was a beautiful day out in Grabouw and I had an absolute blast, despite this. I had the best swim of my life in triathlon, had an incredibly fun ride chattering away with Raynard Tissink, a very rare opportunity for me, as we gingerly made our way around the course with a few laughs and a few frustrated moments for both of us, and I had an ok run, nothing spectacular, nursing a blister the size of a R5 coin on my left heel which I picked up somewhere in the week before the race.

Xterra is, for me, a great chance to mix it up with mates in a sport which isn’t my primary focus. I love the organisation, the vibe, the history and the energy around Xterra and will be racing it for many years to come. As a “roadie” it’s fun to improve a little each year, sticking it to the purists a little as my mountain bike skills improve, despite days like yesterday where I felt like a rookie.

I qualified for another world championship which is a huge achievement, and the second qualification of the year for me. I am feeling hugely blessed and very energetic for my 3rd qualification opportunity in April at IMSA. In the interim there is much work to be done and quite a bit of time in the Pain Cave where the fire is burning bright and the opportunities lie all around me.

Then there is the hunt for The Pause. Just typing it brings a wry smile to my face. I love this hunt…

A special thank you to BoE Private Clients, Velocity Sports Labs, Rehidrat Sport, Puma, Oakley and Pure Planet Racing for making this all possible. A huge congrats to Conrad and Carla for their wins.

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