It’s been a while since the last post. I’ll be honest. This is getting boring now; the whole trying to think of something to write about. Nothing significant has occurred so why waste time mouthing off about it? I knew you’d understand.
The Tour de France is ‘on’ (in fact it’s almost ‘off’ – last stage tomorrow). Froome the arachnid has it in the bag. He’s the weirdest looking man in sport. Every time I watch him on telly it looks as though he’s slept in a suitcase. He’s all elbows and gangle. Anyway like I said it’s almost over. Pretty much all that stands in their way now is the long-ass climb up to Alpe d’Huez. I read an article in the rags this morning by a lad called Andy Hampsten (a stage-winner in 1992) who summised a feeling that I can definitely relate to….it’s worth a quote in full:
“….I did end up lashing out a couple of times. When I pushed myself that hard mentally on a climb, it would create a fair bit of rage, which is not a negative thing at all, as it helped me to keep pushing myself. It got to the point where so much mental energy was being expended on pushing myself physically to go uncomfortably hard that I ended up really on edge and not wanting to deal with all this mayhem at all, but at the same time it was also incredibly exciting. The upside to it is that, as long as someone didn’t knock me over, the huge amount of energy coming out of the crowd matched the rage that I had pushing myself to go faster….”
As a bit of context there, he was talking about the presence of so many people lining the sides of the road, ostensibly to cheer the riders on – I say ‘ostensibly’ as a few of them this year have a penchant for a pint of piss and a glob of spit every once in a while. I digress. Support can be awesome. I definitely push myself that bit further into ‘the rage’ when there’s some complete strangers screaming in my face. There’s just something about it that gets to me. I ran in the Sierre-Zinal last year and the avenues were lined with the running groupies that all the Euro-wads get. Early in the article Andy writes about “losing my equilibrium…usually, racers look at the road and the nature of the climb, studying which grade and line to take. But that was out…visual clues and balance were lost…you get into the impression you’re riding into a small hole among the fans.” It feels awesome! You’re a rockstar…….but that’s the good side of it.
The side that really gets on my tits, and causes the want to lash out, is the side when you see people that aren’t taking part, have no idea of the discomfort you’re feeling, don’t appreciate that the ‘concentration’ on your face isn’t your ‘game’ face, it’s your ‘I’m literally about to shit myself through my nose’ face. I can’t deal with the “keep going you’re doing really well” from the fat plodder waddling up the path next to me. I just know I’ll see him in the pub later giving it the Barry McGuigan about his ‘gnarly’ day on the fells. Bore-off.
At the same time though you’ve got to stop and ask yourself, how arrogant am I?! It’s deplorable and I hate myself for writing it but it’s true. The rage is well and truly alive but it’s important to remember that the rage is never actually due to these people, it’s generally because at the heart of it I’m a deeply competitive person. It’s generally a personal competition, only ever against myself and ‘the clock’. Sometimes it spills over and manifests itself in a way directed against others and I’ve had a couple of times where I’ve had to seek out a marshal or official after a race and apologise. Surely I’m not alone here?! It’s nice to see a voice from the past experiences this too though.
Anyway……..here’s what I’ve been up to lately, in list form:
Norman’s Law 5th 33:11 (experienced ‘the rage’); Beinn Dubh (Luss) 5th 39:06 (3 secs faster than last year); Kinross 10k 1st 34:20 (unexpected); Dumyat 8th 38:58 (exactly 8 mins faster than when I first ran it back in 2004); Old County Tops 20th 8:22:23 (what a race, perfect day with a good mate); Kinnoull 7th 27:06 (legs a bit sore still, 30 secs faster than last year but two places worse off – go figure); Slioch Horseshoe 22nd 2:14:20 (another of ‘the rage’ races, legs would not work – mega hip flexor issues); Durisdeer 48th 1:43:05 (British Champs); Hill of Fare (turned up late due to road closures – fully flipped my shit in the van on the way over – ran off ‘the rage’ with a lap of the route and ended up coming in faster than the winner); Eildons Hill Race 2nd 38:32 (very hot, felt like shite – it showed); Glenrothes 10k 5th 35:42 (day after the Eildons – would have done a heck of a lot better had I been fresh – but nice to have a back-to-back effort); White Tops 2nd 45:36 (had a shocker, may as well have moon-walked it); Forfar Hill Race 1st 29:35 (caught Brian on an ‘off’ day); Dollar Hill Race 2nd 1:24:38 (mega – didn’t even want to do this race but got itchy feet and had promised a lift to another from the club. Started very conservatively – sparring with James for a bit before dropping him on the climb up the first hill, felt really good so went for it. Maybe would have challenged for the win had I been more aggressive at the start….equally as maybe would have wrapped my tits in and ended up in 102nd! – photos above and below from that race); Alva Games 7th 23:21 (what an absolute old-school bastard of a classic!); Heart of the Park Challenge 3rd 52:28 (about 3 mins adrift from the winner having got lost. Rubbish race if I’m honest – essentially £14 for a bag of crisps. Scandalous. Never again); Maddy Moss Hill Race 5th 54:29 (enjoyed this, typical slow start into a good, strong finish – a lot of help required finding the right route – cheers Bob!); Kentmere Horseshoe 4th 1:38:24 ( not to over-do it but easily the best race of my life – beat last years time by over 6 mins and felt super strong all the way).
So there. That’s where I’m at. No racing for a while now. Got the Lakes Sky Ultra coming up in September and a wedding to get out the way first (I’m joking – I’m super excited for it) plus a honeymoon in the Dolomites (cheeky hill sessions coming up). One last thing that’s new is that I’ve changed shoes. Yup. Interesting huh? Well, since you ask, I’m racing in the Salomon Fellcross if you have narrow feet then give them a whirl. Best racing shoe I’ve ever had. Hands down. Better than inov-8….there I said it.
Now bugger off you schleps.