Thursday, 13 May 2010

Pilot Error and the Silver Linings in Dark Clouds.

Recently, I wrote about failure and geometry. More specifically I noted that there was more to any endeavor than the distance between two points.

In a recent race I encountered a whole different type of error. Screwing up - doing an extra lap on the bike ride. Aside from that momentary (6 minutes worth) of a lapse (laps), the race was great. Best ever sprint bike ride of my life, pretty good swim, average run.

This was the "icebreaker" race. The morning started out with snow and it was -1C. The race organizers considered canceling the ride part of the race.

Instead. The transition was moved indoors (that added 5 minutes to my swim to bike time!) and I wore many layers and tights and a cover over my helmet - as did others.

I had the worst sprint triathlon time of my life - rivaling my first ever one I did 4 years ago.

I had the best time in a sprint triathlon in my life - rivaling my first ever one I did 4 years ago.

So how can this be? How can such a crappy performance be remembered so fondly?
It was a terrible day to be racing outdoors. Roads were wet, air was cold, snow was falling. But through all this, I decided that I would enjoy myself, regardless of what I encountered. I bundled up and took my time getting ready after the swim. But when I was ready, I gave it everything I had and blasted through the bike course that was straight and flat and with a tailwind in one direction that had me going 43k/hr.

It was so much fun that I forgot to count laps. I did seven, instead of six. But I enjoyed every single one of those laps and then followed them up with a strong and happy run.

This race was clearly an example of pilot error. I screwed up. I could have had a very good time. But, really, it is all about attitude. I didn't really care about time. I wanted to be comfortable, not cold. And I wanted to race as fast as I could, shrouded in a puffy dark cloud of comfort. Was I happy? I was ecstatic. And I took the energy of having completed this race into my very cold commutes to work.

This is not a race that will be forgotten soon...ask any one else who did it and they'll share similar stories.

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