TransAlp take-aways #elevatephwtransalp
Editor’s note: This is Elevate PHW partner and coach Jay English’s final post from Italy and the 7-day BIKE TransAlp. It was written after the final stage of the race — 338 miles, 59,012 feet of elevation gain, 24,578 calories burned. Preparation for this event began in January.
Read about the journey here:
- (last two days)
I signed up for this, so I knew I was in for an adventure and a brutal physical challenge. It has been tough; by far the most I’ve ever asked of my body.
The pain in my legs was at a level I’d never experienced , but it is almost welcomed. Regardless of how bad they hurt, they worked well, and beyond my expectations.
I think my greatest takeaway from is the perspective . Training for this was simple. I had a plan, I got up early, and I rode up hills. I took care of my body during the process and had wonderful help from our team at Elevate. We planned the logistics the best we could. And then we lined up, and off (and up) we went.
At no point during the seven stages did I ever felt defeated by the pain. Again, I signed up for it, I was physically and mentally prepared, and I was going to honor that by doing my best.
I THINK EVEN FOR THOSE OF US WHO LOVE SPORTS, WE CAN ASK WHY? WHAT IS THE POINT OF PUTTING OURSELVES OUT THERE LIKE THIS?
I love everything about riding a bike, and I’m very thankful that my wonderful parents saw this when I was young, supported and encouraged me. Likewise, my wife who is undoubtedly my everything, has has helped me find a balance with a sport that can be destructive.
Sports represent life in the simplest of ways. Life is complicated and it involves a ton of ups, downs, unexpected events, pain, happiness… In my day-to-day life I try my best to be the father that my children deserve, the husband, boss, coach, son.
I guess it comes down to this. I really like being alive, and riding/racing a bike is a simple expression of that. I prepare the best I can, I understand the risks, I have realistic expectations for myself and I am not affixed on the outcome. I am happy. I am happy with the process. Crashes, mechanical issues, the pain, where I finish doesn’t change my happiness. That’s where I am at with life as well. I don’t need a bike to make me happy, but as long as I can ride one I will.
I cannot see into everyone else who rode the TransAlp. But I got a similar feeling from them. Unless you are a world champion you don’t expect to place in this race. When I’ve talked with riders from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Ecuador, South Africa, Ireland, Germany, Mexico, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Basque Country and England (many more countries are represented) I’ve gotten the vibe that these are positive rationale people who have elected to live life and all that comes with it.
So you think you want to do something like this? That’s a much longer conversation, but I’d ask yourself “why” first. I’m an advocate for everyone to physically challenge themselves outside of their comfort zone, especially in nature. And preparing for a big physical challenge can teach you much about yourself and about life.