Wednesday, 1 October 2008



Been about a week since I last posted, been busy studying (mid terms quickly approaching), rowing (I'll explain) and training. Last week was the final hard week in my first 3 week stint of winter work, I got in ~ 70 hours of training, ~1000km on the bike, ~140km running and about 70km in the pool. Easily the most hardcore three weeks of the last 11 years I have been training, the weather, renewed focus and beautiful surroundings have all made it seem easy but I'm glad I'm on an easy week to let my body catch up.

Last weekend my floor (Mawds 3 as we're known) got a team together to race in the annual "Day of the Longboat" race that UBC puts on. Its very well attended with teams from all over entering and fighting it out in the Pacific for 2.5km of full on Longboat racing. We took an early blow as two team members pulled out and drafting someone in at that late stage would disqualify us and halt any progress into the final on Sunday. There were however, guys on the floor who wanted a spot on the team, so instead of leaving them out we drafted in an extra member that morning therefore meaning we had one chance on Saturday to make a splash. We all agreed to give it 100% and to go for glory in the heats, one of our team mates was an ex dragon boat racer so we had plenty of technical help from him, with our strategy in place we marched confidently to the start line. As team captain I was perched nervously at the front ready to shout my motivational commands at my crew! Off we went, full steam, towards the first turn buoy already opening up a lead over the other boats, we were perfectly in synch meaning our lead just opened up. The guys all worked so well together proving that 9 teenage boys from completely different sporting backgrounds (Volley ball, American football, Dragon Boating, Basketball, Mountain Biking, Swimming and Triathlon) can put in 12 minutes of hard work together and blow the other guys out of the water (by minutes). We were in no way the biggest team, no way the stongest, but we set the 2nd fastest time of the day and if we had been allowed to compete in the Sunday finals our time would have won overall. It was great to get out there and race in something completely new with all my new friends, there was a lot of shouting during the race and a lot of pats on the back afterwards. Great fun!

Later on that day as we were celebrating our win with the rest of our house over a few beers when me and my friend Gordon (running partner) were discussing how fun it was being out on the water and all the different kayak trips you can do all throughout Canada for weeks at a time. Think "Deliverence" without the Hillbillys. As we spoke about it more the more trips we thought up, starting out as a weekend trip building up to a month in the wilderness with nothing but survival gear and a rifle! Later on this got me thinking about the different endurance goals I have in my mind...

There are things out there I want to do. Everyone has their list. An Ironman, a marathon...the usual. I'm sure I'll do an Ironman and in turn a marathon but they're not particularly high up on my list of adventures. The things that get me really excited are the true tests of character, the week long races that span continents and whos finisher's list usually could be counted on one hand. The great races, where it's more about guts and determination than speed or your VO2 Max, where there is more glory in the journey than in winning.

The Great Divide Race- -2,500miles mountain biking across America from Canada to Mexico, if you don't finish it in 24 days your disqualified...and it's free.

The Canadian Death race- -125km across three mountains in Alberta. If you finish you can call yourself a "Death Racer"...I want that title!

Cycling. Vancouver, BC to Calgary, AB. One of the famous cycle routes, 1000km in 5 days through 2 mountain ranges and 3 national parks.

or how about around the world. Mark Beaumont did it in 195 days, 18,000 miles...

Climbing a great mountain. Denali, K2, Everest?

I think these are the things that would satisfy my sporting goals. Once you've done an Ironman you would find someone who had done two, ten ... or fifty. Or a marathon, someone would have done it faster...
These are the events that the glory in finishing is the prize, the winner maybe has a slightly bigger ego from it but the glory is still the same. No one can turn around and belittle your acomplishment, if you find someone who has done it faster or more times no one will care, "Oh I'm sorry did you just say you've only cycled 2,500 miles once?" doesn't stand in this case.

There are many things we set goals for in life.

Some bigger than others; graduating school, finding the right job, the right wife...but the goals that when we reach will define us are the truly important ones. For some these might well be getting into the best Grad school or getting the best job but for me it's going to be about seeing how far I can go, how far I can push myself physically and mentally. I don't think I'd be satisfied by an Ironman finish...or win for that matter. Too many people to stack yourself against. It would need to be something where it didn't matter how fit you were or how old but simply how tough. In completing a great endurance race of any kind you have to find something new inside yourself in order to finish. There is nothing natural in racing for 15 or 20 days straight on 2 hours sleep a night, you need to be nuts...and that's a cool ...



No comments: