The Transcontinental Race No.5 arrived. The iconic torchlit start was magic, a surreal memory that could have been a dream. Conflicting emotions; sombre, symbolic, excitement, uncertainty. The whole town turned out for the show, flame torches lining the streets and lighting the way. Cobbles. A lap of the town, then up the Muur van Geraardsbergen. Cobbles, flames, faces. The Kapel crowns the climb, I crest the cobbles and tip onto smooth tarmac, looking down to my Garmin for the next instruction.
From here we are on our own, the cheers and torches fade behind us. The endless months of focus, agonising preparation realised in that moment. We ride into the night very much at one and alone.
I didn’t finish the race, only making it as far at CP1 before having to scratch due to a knee injury. I don’t plan on writing a detailed race report of ‘my race’, there is not much that I can say. Apart from, lessons have been learnt the hard and bitter way!
This is ultra-racing, unpredictable at heart. You can only be so prepared. In the end you can only hope for the best then turn to learn on the job.
Following my decision to scratch, my mind state did make me realise how much pressure and importance I’d placed on ‘my race’. Training and preparing well, I had high expectations of myself. Expecting my preparation to see me through, perhaps finish my first ultra-race in a decent time. As a rookie, clearly a naive approach to take.
From the start, I did love it. And for a short period, living through everything good that the TCR embodies, not forgetting my gratefulness for being part of the legendary creation of the late Mike Hall. So, with this there is renewed and continued determination to race again. More on that later…
But the most valuable asset I can take away from my TCR is something that Mike Hall frames perfectly, and I’ll use his words here.
if we treat things as a pass-or-fail test, we can torture ourselves over the outcome. But if we consider it more as an experiment with an uncertain outcome from the start, then we always at least get an answer.
And my answer is to focus on the bigger picture. Cycling might be at the centre of this, but it wouldn’t be worthwhile if not for the incredible people I’ve met, adventures had, and the way it makes me a better person. Cycling plays a key contribution towards my sphere of optimal living, of sound wellbeing. With the bigger picture in mind, every action can add or detract, despite how minimal it seems in the moment. I’m quite passionate about this concept: 1+1+1. It’s a continuous state of learning. Integral to my development as a person and on the bike, I intend to blog about this alongside my cycling adventures.