February 5, 2013

Minimum Excess

As athletes, we are prone to excess. We awe at athletes training 25 hours a week just to finish the IRONMAAAAAAN and we justify every piece of compression-aero-drag-reducing-tweaked-modified-naca-profiled-tubing-minimalist-cushioned gear we don’t need. We are obsessive. We like excess.

I am guilty of this. I have to continuously clean out my closets as I hoard like a pro. I am doing my best to keep things to a minimum and at the moment, I am cleaning out my closet by using a service like to help me clear my unwanted goods.

A while ago, I tried to get down to 100 material things. I got pretty close and perhaps this is the way to approach it again. What would the minimum amount of material things be that I could get away with? What is my minimum for happiness, for success?

These are important questions to me. Perhaps some of you are going through the same questions and it makes for an interesting debate.

For a hoarder like me, it’s something I will consistently have to monitor my whole life. Just like being serious about my long term health – my family history suggests I am going to have to remain stress-free and healthy if I want to live as long as I envision my life to be – I need to be serious about minimum excess. We founded Pure Planet Racing based on this concept.

If I had to clear it down, I could likely get away with the following stuff, as a wardrobe, for example:

–          2 sets of jeans

–          3 warm jackets

–          5 t-shirts

–          3 sets casual shoes

–          3 sets running shoes

–          2 sets cycling shoes

–          2 shorts

–          2 formal shirts

–          1 suit

–          1 set formal shoes

–          5 sets of cycling kit (3 x summer, 2 x winter)

–          5 sets of running kit (3 x summer, 2 x winter)

–          8 pairs of socks

–          2 sets of pyjamas

That is 44 items in there. Doable? With careful approach, I believe I could get down to this.

So what is my minimum for success and what determines my happiness?

–          Ageless athletic economy

–          Maintenance of stable weight and mental, as well as physical health

–          Riding with my mates.

–          Being engaged at home.

–          Having the emotional freedom to create, in order to play with the world as my playground

–          Changing the world to be a better place through this, my platform and you, my audience

Repeated loading till breakdown is a pattern I want to remove from my life. The risk is huge and the rewards are not worth it, yet, as athletes – we strive for this pattern. Do not underestimate the risks of your pursuit of athletic prowess. Be aware of the minimums you need to adhere to in order to achieve those goals and stick to the minimums.

It’s also worth checking into the motivation behind your goals. These are items I have to consistently check and make sure that my goals include a large dollop of:

–          Fun

–          Integrity

–          Healthy competitiveness

If those are not there, then I don’t enter those races or don’t commit to those personal goals beyond sport.

Surely our biggest goal is long term athletic health? If there is no fun in that and the reasoning for your exercising every day is not based on an outcome that is integrity-based, what the hell are you doing flogging yourself out there among the injured, tired, unhappy masses?

Maybe I am just getting old and considering success beyond the result. Maybe it’s the current strife we are facing in our sports where every “result” is being scrutinized. That is the big hope for Privateer – we hope people will get back to having fun, doing it for the right reasons and forging healthy competitive behaviour. We hope that the beautiful reprobate athletes who make up our following will become the leaders for this new, minimum movement.

They are athletes who cut the excess better than 99% of the athletes I have spoken to in my life.

These are my minimums. I hope to keep trimming the excess in pursuit of these minimums.


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