Friday, 20 February 2009

Anonymous Heroes

OK, so South East Queensland is still in the grips of a severe drought and we all actually welcome the rain, any rain. However, how many of us morning cyclists can honestly say we were disappointed to wake this morning to find damp, but not wet roads, no rain and an encouraging, if not totally clear sky. I for one was secretly pleased the conditions were good for cycling, and in fact were ideal.

I was out on the well known Nudgee Beach ride.

Exiting the bike path on to Nudgee Road, I noticed another cyclist about 50 metres or so behind me on a TT or tri bike. My mental note to self was to keep riding my own cadence, speed and heart rate and forget about trying to prevent the catch (refer Ego post) and I'm pleased to say I maintained my discipline this time.

He caught me after a few minutes and I then tucked into his slipstream and had a fabulous tow to the beach. (40 kph, 100 cadence, 130 – 135 HR)

At the turn around, I thanked him for the tow and he invited me to tuck in again on the way back.

We got talking and instead of tucking in, he rode side by side.

He said he is a finance executive with a local “all finanz” organisation and we chatted about the financial crisis and the employment down turn. I asked him if he raced triathlons and he said he did. Talk came around to training and he revealed he is preparing for the Port Macquarie Iron Man.

This guy holds down a full time executive job and is married with a child.

He went onto outline his current weekly programme and it was nothing short of an extraordinary commitment.

His training for this weekend is something like this:

Saturday 200 k bike and 3 k swim
Sunday 100 k bike and 20 k run

He mentioned he normally is “just” a cyclist and loves racing and it turns out we belong to the same club. His forays into triathlons are infrequent.

What is amazing about this guy is the incredible commitment and passion he has for his sport. Other than simply doing it, there is no glory, no prize money, no photo or article in the paper or vision on TV. He just does it and loves it.

There are thousands of anonymous, but totally dedicated athletes out there, working extraordinarily hard to make the start line of extreme endurance events and I was privileged to meet one this morning.

Finally, the support provided by the partners and families of these people is also heroic and receives even less recognition than the athlete.
On behalf of all unknown athletes everywhere, thank you.

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