I am sitting and gazing out the window at the wind gently pulling on the leaves of our raspberry tree outside. Another day has broken with golden streaks of light brightening up the grey coloured landscape of our city. Yesterday I did a short run and after that I jumped on my little 125cc motorcycle and rode with Wessel as he did the final part of his training session. Man he looked so comfortable as he strode along finishing of his workout for the day. Kids truly are trophies we do not deserve or earn, but they are a privilege to have and love. They truly light up my life.
A few weeks ago Wessel entered his first 'open' cycle road race. For the first time he was competing against not only his age groupers, but also against adults. Although he is 11 years of age, the youngest category for him to compete in was under 14. I remember the lady at registrations making fun of him and asking him if he would be able finish the 50k ride. Myself, I didn't know what to expect. He has only raced a max distance of 30km's before and against children of his age. My thoughts were that only finishing would be great and that a top 10 in the 14 years age group would be above average for an 11 year old.
Because it was a race that started in Middelburg and finished at Loskop Dam 50km away, I had to take the car to the finish and therefore could not ride myself. My great friend, Johann de Klerk (did the Cape Argus in 2:47 which is brilliant)said that he would take Wessel through the race. He really couched the young lad and told him where to do what...there are a lot to learn when riding in a big group for the first time! We really thank him for that! About 5km before the finish there is a very hard 2km climb and that is where Johann told Wessel to go. I was sitting on the other side at the finish line watching the first guy crossing the line. 'Well done' I thought as I prepared myself for another 20 minutes or so before the little man would cruise in. Up in the distance, about 1,5km away, I saw the second guy racing down the hill towards the finish area. As he was about 300m away I noticed the tiniest little figure sitting on his wheel and looking very good. Could it be? As Wessel crossed the line in third over all, I was just so amazed and overwhelmed with joy. No time to get a camera ready. No time to cheer. He wasn't due for a while still! Just so unexpected!
Hard work pays off. Full stop.
In our family I was the fit one. Doing Ironman and racing my bike on weekends. He was 'just' the child. But, on that weekend things changed around. A child became the hero in his father's, mother's, sister's and friend's eyes. My thunder was stolen! I am still preparing to compete at the Ironman World Chanmps Kona 2011. I still want to be competitive in my age group. With all this in mind, I also know that the real race is up front. Where Alexander and Lieto fight it out. Never will I compete in that arena, but he is approaching it at speed.
All I want to say to The Weasel is this: In the hard world of sport, thunder theft is allowed. Work hard and fill up your bags...the journey is a great one.
Thanks to all my friends who train with him when I can not. For all the motivation and inspiration. Johann de Klerk, Warren Graham, Johan Stemmet. You guys all are part of the team.
Now, I should go get on my indoor trainer and kick out another two hours! Don't want to look too bad against the young man!!
Have fun out there. Be strong. Live hard.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Have you ever seen the state of a tarred road which had been closed to traffic for a couple of years? It's condition is like that of a ancient sunken sea vessel. The whole surface is covered with cracks resembling varicose veins and the structure has grass and weeds growing straight through it. It is covered with dirt and looks like some scene from a horror movie. It is a sore eye to see and it is just unbelievable to come to the understanding that constant traffic would have kept this road 'healthy' and would also have extended it's life span.
Are we any different? Aren't we all like little roads designed to convey whatever we have chosen our cargo to be? I am totally convinced that this holds some truth, however ridiculous the comparison might be. The main truth in this whole picture we have just seen is this: Traffic is to a tarred road what healthy living and training are to the human body.
During the last three months during which I was plagued by injury and sickness, I was just dumb struck by the speed at which I in 'flesh' became the closed tarred road! I am over weight, unfit and while in this useless condition, I just started beating myself up over how I let it all go this far in the first place! When we as muscle driven vehicles stop doing what we do, then we become dusty, cracked and broken. We are susceptible to sickness and we open ourselves to depression and all sorts of ugliness.
All a road needs is a car or a truck or a bike to cruse over it every now and again. Not all are freeways carrying 10,000 cars per hour. Not all are quiet roads running through a neighborhood. But all roads have this in common: they need traffic.
I will never ever totally 'close my road' in the off season. I will close some lanes for 'maintenance', but there will always remain an open lane or two for some traffic to flow. Whether I just do easy gym sessions or whether I just go for relaxing swims.
When a road has been ruined by being closed for too long, then it takes a LOT of money and effort to recondition it back to tip top form. That is where I am at now...LOTS of effort and time to recondition my body.
Never again.....and that is a promise! Let the road begin.
Be strong and live hard!