26 September 2008

2008 A year in Review

“There is a moment – that may stretch for eternity – a moment when the runner should have backed off. He could have backed away. She could have pulled up and still had a respectable showing. Maybe even victory. I can imagine the roar of desperate breathing, hear the thunder pulse, Color drains from the picture. Sounds are muffled.

He didn’t let up. She didn’t back off.

They ran right up to Death and touched his chin.”

-Benjamin Cheever strides

I know, this quote does sound rather eccentric. Something Prefontaine would say, “run right up to Death and touch his chin” Although I think this is one of the important lessons I have learnt this year and Simon Whitfield demonstrated something like this in Beijing.

“The best Pace is the suicide pace and today is a good day to die.”
-Steve Prefontaine
There we go, that is what I’m talking about. I think it took a year of road racing to get this out of me. I know there were a number of races when I would go for an attack knowing very well that this could be either genius or ill-witted. I know that I am red lining it and I may conk out at any moment but there is that chance. In cycling the win almost always goes to the one who is willing to hurt more and I think this year I have learnt how to hurt among other things.

Overall I would have to say it was a successful year, but in a different than expected way. I was very excited at the end of the prior season lowering my 10km off the bike from a painful 36 to a consistent mid 33 within the season. Beginning this season I was running very well. Mileage, mileage, mileage, every day no less than an hour. I would Join Coach Paul O'Callaghan's squad every Thursday for a 10mile sprint through the hilly streets of Broadmead chasing after some of the top notch distance runners Victoria has to offer. Rarely was I not in running shorts.

The trouble came when I signed up for the Stuart Mountain 10mile hill climb in which I fell down the mountain….and in my competitiveness I got up off the ground limped to the bottom of the hill obviously not right and finished 3rd. This was the beginning of the injury that would force me into a cycling emersion season. I rested and recovered but later it became evident that my IT Band was back. In hopes that I would still have a Triathlon season I joined the guys down in Arizona, first in Tucson for a month and then in Flagstaff for another. Swimming and Riding every day on some of the most beautiful roads and sceneries I have ever seen. In Tucson the obvious Highlight was Mt. Lemmon and the Shootout. For Flagstaff it would have to be my solo ride up Snowbowl and the weekend group rides/races surrounded by snowy mountains. At the top of Snowbowl you look south and see nothing but mountains, to your right, the Grand Canyon and to your left the Desert. Fantastic!

With the season passing by with no racing under my belt, worlds around the corner in my own backyard, I needed a break from it all and re-focus on a new objective for the season. How could this happen, Andrew…? I got a UCI License and started racing bikes. The learning curve was steep. Starting out in Category 5 I quickly moved through the ranks ending the season in Category 3 and almost 2. The Local Cycling league always allowed for some great tactical practice. With 4 successful events including a second place in the Neild Road Hill Climb and 3 criterium win. 2 on my favorite course the very difficult Newton Heights and one on the Celeb Pike Circuit. The events that stick out the most in my mind this season would have to be the Skagit Valley Omnium and the North Shore Circuit Race. Skagit Valley was a solid weekend of racing for me. Soloing 27km to win the road race by 3min. Solid Time trial for 3rd place and a gutsy criterium spending the majority of the even out in front and winning it in a sprint finish. Again in the North shore Circuit race (My first Cat 3 event). Tactics were simple, duo breakaway 15km into the race and a solo ride for the final 40km to the finish on this very hilly and open course. If there was any point in the season that I “ran right up to Death and touched his chin” this was it. I was in a world of hurt struggling up the final climb up to the finish. So it was a successful year on the bike. I have maintained my swim and turned a weakness into strength and soon I will be running again.

As I look over at my shelf I count 14 books I have read over the season on everything sports related from Sports Nutrition, strength building and a load of Sports Psychology. I figured if I am not running then I shall learn. So when I am back on the triathlon circuit I will be mentally stronger than I have every before. I have learnt an incredible amount about the regular stability and strength routines that I should be doing on a daily basis as injury prevention. I suppose it is better to learn this now then in 4 years. That of course being London.

“Time is the enemy. Time is what we are fighting in our lives, as we fight in our running. We can never achieve a total victory, but every time we achieve a partial one. Every time we extend the boundaries of man’s capacity we affirm our human dignity. In the air, we have flown faster than sound. On the ground, we have broken the barrier of the four-minute mile. In the operating theater and laboratory, we have learned ways to prolong the life of the human body far beyond what was ever dreamed. The day will come when each human being will be able to choose for himself exactly how long he wants to live just as the day will come when we travel not merely beyond the speed of sound but beyond the speed of light. Every record that is broken on the running track, on water, in the air, on the salt flats, is a gesture of human independence. The day will come when we will smash every clock in the world,
because we shall have conquered time, and clocks will no longer be necessary.”
-Coach Sam Dee in The Olympian

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

“The Law of floatation was not discovered by contemplation the sinking of things”
-Thomas Troward

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

1 comment:

A-Russ said...


that is a great video you've made.

As i look into my crystal ball I see a you in a break-away at U23 Worlds in Aussie Aussie Aussie!