With every year comes a new trip to Japan, centred around a race which I can use as a good excuse for a little holiday/DJ tour in my 2nd home. I have done 2 xterra (one in Marunuma in the Gunma prefecture some 3 hours north of Tokyo, the other one in Hokkaido, both in bear territory) and one ironman (also in Hokkaido). These races were all in fantastic locations, deep in Japanese countryside. This year however I came for the 70.3 which is based in…an airport. Centrair airport just south of Nagoya. Not exactly the same charm! + more
Being back in Nice, where I have strong familial roots and where I spent most of my childhood’s holiday, I couldn’t help but feel more than a little nervous in the days leading to the ironman. After all this is the race where I had to give up last year 30k into the bike after falling sick the night before the race, following another DNF in 2011 this time 30k into the…run for my first ever ironman, when debilitating cramps had the better of me. This time though I was feeling strong and healthy after 3 solid weeks of training, and rather confident and determined to finish at (almost) all costs. The other goals were to do that under 9 hours with a sub 3 hour marathon. And there was even the dream of a top 10 (which considering the level of the field I kept to myself) !
In 2013 I came here slightly injured, very unprepared, and had a taste of what this race had to offer: pain, by the buckets. Finishing the bike course was an ordeal that day, and I didn’t even attempt to run.
2 years later I was back with the determination to finish and hopefully even grab a decent result. With only 2 months of proper training under my belt, one long ride and a couple of medium long runs, it was quite a long shot, but at least I was healthy and mentally ready.
Welcomed on the island and treated like a prince by my friends Laura, Eamon and lil’ Carlito, in their magical house lost in the lava hills near a town called Florida, all I had to do was to focus on the race and make sure I didn’t ride in beach attire (sic).
I have done a lot of crazy stuff in my time, willingly or not, but it seems the most extreme sport out there is commuting in Babylon, London town that is. After 12 years of daily commute, often on the edge and with quite a few incidents along the way (mostly resulting in material damages), I’ve been hit twice by careless drivers within 5 weeks. Once in plain daylight the day I got back from a key training week in Nice, and the 2nd one at night as I rode back home from the cinema – only to be hit head on by a drunk driver pulling out with no lights on the wrong side of the road…
After 4 races in 2013, 2 DNFs and 2 poor results, a debilitating achilles’ injury and some mysteriously missing bike legs meant I was seriously questioning myself. I am already not totally able to fully answer the question “what’s the point of all this ?” when I’m going well, so after being out of shape for such a long period the idea of quitting the sport altogether seemed to pop up on a regular basis. I know there are lots of non triathlon projects currently on stand-by which I would be happy to tackle if time suddenly became available…. + more