I didn´t finish. I´m so sorry for letting down the high hopes and well wishers. I truly appreciate all and every comment of support that have come through my blog, Facebook or via e-mail.
Most of all I´m sorry for my crew. They have had to put up with my temper tantrums, demanding persona and God-awful early mornings on my behalf and they have carried my flag of motivation through the worst of times. The single reason I finished yesterdays stage was the fact that I couldn´t bare to DNF and look them in their eyes as long as I could still stand on my legs. Once pride, vanity, ego, ambition and other forces of usual motivation are used up, that kind of respect is all that keeps one moving.
But yesterday beat the shit out of me. All I had in the way of mental fortitude, spiritual strength and raw primal energy was pretty much taxed. I just couldn´t hurt myself that way again. Not so soon. And today hurt. It hurt from the get go. The easy way out would have been to gracefully bow out prior to the stage, citing injury or whatever. But there´s rarely an easy way out at these races. That´s not why I am here. That´s not why anyone´s here. We´re all here to see the true core of our character, the inside out of dreams, hopes, expectations and all in between that defines us.
This life is about daring and trying. About going all in. Not being scared. Scared to fail or scared to miss. Because if we are, not much would be attempted. Not much would be accomplished. We would never be able to be our best if we didn´t at the same time risked being the worst.
I have an injury I haven´t been able to completely solve. Sometimes it´s better, sometimes worse. Sometimes a lot worse. I´m doing a new MRI on Monday next week and a new method of therapy. Appearantly there seem to be some calcification in a part of my hamstring close to the attachment. It´s not a problem in itself, except for being stiff and sore, but it fucks up my bodies range of movement and my stride so that I incur injuries in other parts of my hips and legs. Injuries that just stem from running slightly off balance or with tension. Today, there was no way I could run further. And that´s a shame since my running this fall has been awesome and way better than it has been in a long time. But something happened this week. Don´t know if it was residual fatigue, the long flight, bad training or just bad luck. But pain started shooting down my leg. It got better just before the race but crept up during the bikeleg. Yesterday it was out of control. And today I didn´t have a miracle worker on my side.
So if I ever only raced when I was certain that I was at a 100 % or without fears or with a body that worked flawless and where everything in preparation had been perfect, I wouldn´t have raced much. Nobody would have. There are always worries. And if I raced with low expectations, over risking a failure, only being happy to finish, I wouldn´t have enjoyed it as much. It wouldn´t have made me a better person. Because that´s what stepping up to the plate does. Stepping up, and at times, missing.
And I missed. But at least I tried. And I tried as hard as best I could. I tried as far as my legs would literally carry me.
And I´ll keep trying. And by doing that, risk missing. But in certainty that the biggest risk and the worst miss comes from not even trying.
It´s only sports. We all do it, basically, for fun and personal growth. Maybe I´ve grown some. Regardless, life goes on. And so will I.
Hats off, many gratulations and kudos to all the athletes that finished the day. Alexandre Ribeiro is a worthy champion, bouncing back from a few bad races over the past years, to win a fourth time! And to Mike Coughlin who got hit by a car 10 days ago and should be lucky to be alive, let alone finish second! Way to go Mike!
This was my worst day ever on a bike. 280 k of painful struggle against an un-willing body and the worst conditions imaginable.
I knew I was caught up shit creek when I had trouble walking after yesterdays stage. Not so much from being tired but from my glute/hamstring attachment condition that so far has been hard to diagnose. My latest examination revealed a calcification in this area and it all stems from a small injury that I had in May last year.
Sometimes when I ride really hard this area flares up and becomes red hot painful with (I guess) inflammation. This fall, the more I trained the better it´s been. The only time it was really fucked up was after a very tough 250 k ride four weeks ago. I could hardly walk pain free the day after, let alone run.
Yesterday, it was very bad. I did all I could to heal including ice, massage, recov pump boots, compression socks, painkillers and hot/cold creme.
It started good enough today though. We rolled out at an easy pace much different than last year. The winds had kicked up and had kicked down a tree down the road so we rode neutralized for a while. The rain started pouring 10 minutes in and after having in vain tried to pee civilized, with my dick out, I realized it wasn´t going to matter at all. Peeing was all in-house after that.
80 k or so in we were three guys at front but I wasn´t feeling the love from my body. Heartrate was low and good but my legs, especially my left leg, were stuck in mud. My left glute was crying uncle and I soon had to see Alexandre Ribeiro ride away.
Another 20 k or so later I had to get off my bike and lay on the grass and pop some painkillers. I don´t like taking Tylenol and such but this was an emergency and I was at a make or break border. But I wasn´t going to give in that easy. I still had a lot of good fighting to do.
On went the misery tour and Hilo came and went. The steel crate bridge felt more than slippery and I didn´t want to go down there and get cheese grated. Soon after I got a flat and my day got better and better.
The winds were worse than I remember them being and it was a slow ride from Hilo. I occassionally clipped my left leg out and pedalled only with my right leg, all along gritting and spitting in the face of dismay. I kept reminding myself I should be so lucky to actually have two legs, even if one was a no good sumbitch leg, when we have people in this race with only one leg and a prosthetic.
When we had maybe 90 k I started riding slightly better. I had resigned myself to having a dark day on the bike and knew that only getting to the stage finish would be a victory in it self. The winds backed up and I could use some momentum and once I had Waimea in my mental reach I brightened up a tad bit. I even considered talking with my crew but I feared that if I smiled or joked they would finally pull me off the course citing insanity on my part. They had been so worried about me that they had stopped talking to me too, afraid that an off beat comment would set me off either crying or screaming.
When I reached Waimea I never expected that the worst part of the day lay ahead. I always regarded this part to be cake walk. A nice wind-in-the-back climb and than a celebratory decsent to the finish. And yes, there was wind allright!
I have never ever ridden in such weird and howling winds. Sure, I was a beaten dog by now but I´m still at 180 lbs and for me to pushed all over the road there will have to be strong gusts!
I had serious trouble staying on the right side of the road and some asshole drivers came very close to hitting me when they, probably all fat and delirious from eating donuts or Burger King, didn´t give me an extra inch to work with and insisted on passing at a touch and go range.
It actually got to the point of scaryness that I screamed to my crew to ride right behind me in order to prevent passing cars to come that close. This was a great tactic of preventive care until race marshalls warned us. Appearantly this is against the rules. Sure, but if the rules are there to safe guard the athletes, this was not a good rule at the moment. We didn´t give a fuck about the rules anyway as we clearly were more motivated to keep me alive and standing. This approach did not sit well with the rule-follwers of the world so I was given a six minute penalty. I wouldn´t exactly call that sound judgement on their part as I clearly didn´t gain any advantage in speed but merely in safety. A bullshit call, if there was ever one!
Coming down the hill on the other side was even more scary. The wind roared so loud through the trees that it sounded like being in a flight engine. I held on for dear life and twisted and tossed my way down the 10 miles to the finish.
I had to sit down for a long while after crossing the finish line with head in hands. I wanted to quit a million times today and I wouldn´t let myself. I couldn´t let myself.
We filed a complaint about the penalty and I don´t know what happened. We left shortly after and are spending the night at Hilton Waikoloa. I´m still in the lead, I just don´t know by how much.
I´m in bed with my Recovery Pump boots on. Just had an awesome massage by Julie, who is one of the therapists working on us over the weekend. Had stuff to eat and have rubbed lotion all over my body. Brushed my teeth, the most underrated item of personal hygiene after a huge day of self punishment. Basically getting all the good karma that money can buy. And I´m going to need it come tomorrow!
My legs are fucked. My lungs are fucked. My back is semi-fucked. But my spirit it riding high and is unbroken so far. All normal and as should be. This race is no joke and if it was easy it everyone would do it. Maybe they would even call it soccer! Getting on the bike tomorrow is going to be dark and scary and slow initially.
I had a good swim, except for hitting my head on my lead kayak:) Rich Roll took it out hard and I decided to let him go a bit. I could use his lead kayak as guidance as well.
I love the feeling when the sun rises over the mountains and drop its light in the ocean! It really creates a spiritual and serene setting for the first stage and for the first day.
It slowed at the Outrigger with a few k to go. It felt like we were threading water for a while put I pushed on and eventually reached the turn bouy in to Keauhou Bay. I came out in 2.20, a minute or so behind Rich. My best swim and the course record is 2.14 so I guess it wasn´t that slow of a swim after all:)
I took off easy on the long climb out of transition. Easy but steady. Cuz there´s no real easy when climbing in the heat. The first 60 miles roll up and down and there´s a lot of rollers that eventually beat the crap out of ones legs. I was reasonably strong though and I poured on the miles.
The last 25 or so miles takes you back from sea level (which you have descended down too) up to Volcanoe at 3800 feet. This part last year, was the hardest hour and a half I´ve ever spent on a bike! I dreaded it now as well. Luckily it wasn´t AS hard as last year. It was just hard, hard but manageable. That is, until the last five miles. Five miles that might as well have been 50 miles in my book. The-miles-just-never-end!
I finished in 7.15. I was happy to roll off the bike and hit the ground like a sack of bricks. Mike Coughlin out-split me on the bike by a few minutes but trail me by half an hour. He seemed equally trashed at the end.
We´re all a sore sight tonight. Everyone, except Fredrik who just spent 10 minutes standing on his head as part of his yoga exercise. My sympathies and utter respect to the athletes still out there. When you finish late you don´t get much rest for next day. A day that begins all too soon.