Bird Stream

Entrepreneurship, development and (sometimes) cycling, often simultaneously, mainly in Nottingham

The Perils of Focus

Yesterday was to be the culmination of 9 months effort and training. From the moment i got back on the bike after having surgery to repair a broken collar bone, La Marmotte was my goal.

Training for La Marmotte ended up consuming the whole of my training focus. After a winter battling through icy conditions to get the miles in, 3 hour turbo sessions and then a spring and early summer of more and more hills. A positive feedback loop ensued. I got faster up hill, enjoyed them more, did them more, got faster, etc.

Racing, triathlon and time-trialing all played second fiddle to the pursuit of a decent time in the Alps.

Despite a virus affecting my last couple of weeks taper, I arrived on the start line in Bourg d’Oisans yesterday feeling ready. This was borne out by the first ascent up to the Col du Glandon. It went really well. I felt strong, rode within myself, passed lots of people and felt stronger the further up I climbed.

The descent from the Glandon was neutralised which meant timing stopped at the top and started again only when you reached the bottom. It’s a dangerous descent upon which several riders have died over the years so this meant everyone could get down safely and start racing again when it was safer.

Unfortunately not everyone seemed to understand this.

My race was unceremoniously brought to end with a 40 mph crash as another rider decided to try and undertake my on a sweeping corner and clipped my handlebars with his thigh as he went through.

La Marmotte had become all consuming and in an instant I was sat shaking and bleeding on the side of a mountain, soon to get Abandonée marked against my name.

I’d let the training for the one event subsume me and the event had spat me out unceremoniously

This was a taste of what Olympic athletes go through, except they have 4 years between events and they give up everything and rest everything on that one performance.

It was a valuable lesson. Achievement is great if you achieve and while I am driven by achievement, pastimes should also give oneself a break from constant self-improvement.

I’ll be back next year, but it won’t be my only focus.