Archive for the 'cycling' Category

Fear is temporary, Failure is permanent.

Fear is temporary, failure is permanent. This was a throwaway line from a mountain biking guide I was riding with at the weekend, and it struck me just how true it was. In fact you could substitute an awful lot of words for ‘fear’. (On the day in question, cold, wet, tiredness, climbing, and a number of others could have easily been substituted.)

Why do we make it so easy for ourselves to just give up?  Most of us have heard the saying that we’ve never failed until we stop trying. A lot of us even agree with it, even more if you count the ones who just won’t admit it. What we don’t like to admit is that once we do give up, we have failed. We can always start again, but that attempt has failed, and we are NEVER going to get it back.   Maybe if we think of this a little more it might just give us the extra impetus to try just that little bit harder, to keep it going just that little bit longer, to resist the easy option of stopping, to make that one extra phone call, to keep on going until we hit the targets we set ourselves for a reason.



A Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles. When they arrived at the monastery and had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?”

The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying the sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!” The teacher praised the first student, “You are a smart boy! When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over like I do.”

The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path!” The teacher commended the second student, “Your eyes are open, and you see the world.”

The third student replied, “When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant nam myoho renge kyo.” The teacher gave praise to the third student, “Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”

The fourth student replied, “Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all sentient beings.” The teacher was pleased, and said to the fourth student, “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”

The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.” The teacher sat at the feet of the fifth student and said,”I am your student!”

 *Copied from the ‘Veloquent’ blog here.*

I like this. Sometimes we just need to do what we do because we like to do it, not for any other conscious reason. Not to justify it to ourselves or anyone else, but because it free’s us from having to find reasons and arguments to do something we enjoy.

Once upon a time, I was quite a good rock climber. I trained, I entered competitions, I even tried out for the British squad (unsuccesfully, but I didn’t do too bad – in fact, a friend of mine, Chris Cubitt, became British Climbing Champion for 2 or 3 years on the trot, and I remember beating him at one of them!). Funny thing was though, I got better at climbing when I stopped training and just climbed for fun. I did half as much work, lost a chunk of muscle, and started using better technique and smiling a hell of a lot more. I just climbed – to climb. No more, no less.

I’m sure there’s something in that, somewhere.

An update on a Duathlon

Weeelll – you know how it is. I meant to do it, I really did. I had my goal all set – finish a 2/10/2 Duathlon (Thats a 2 mile run, 10 mile ride and another 2 mile run, all off road) in less than 90Minutes.  I had my training plan all mapped out, I knew exactly what I had to achieve each step of the way.


Things get in the way. Stuff happens. Plans change. Goals change. Life changes. Who I am today is not the same as who I was yesterday, and accomodations must be made that appreciate that.  Blah, blah, blah… Excuses, excuses….

You may be thinking by now that I didn’t race the Duathlon, and you’d be WRONG. The bit that changed was the time and position goal. Having become incredibly busy at work, my family took precedence over training for a personal achevement goal and I din’t spend enough time training. The plan went out of the window to be replace by a new, less intensive and less structured plan. I.e. I didn’t go jogging as much as I could have or should have to achieve what I wanted to achieve. 

That is NOT to say that I failed. No one fails until they give up, and often perceived failure is merely because the goal wasn’t set right to begin with. Priorities change and we should not get overly upset about goals changing along with these. They are, after all, only targets.

So, although I don’t yet know the final results, I’m pretty suer I didn’t achieve my placeing goal (top 40%), and I’m absolutely certain I didn’t achieve my time goal (90 minutes).  It has to be said though, that the appalling weather today had a significant impact on the time goal. Running in temperatures approx 2C, and sheeting rain does that. I was muddier, colder and more exhausted finishing this event than I have been in a looong time. The sense of achievement remains though – I completed it in approximately 1Hr 55 Minutes.

Now its just a case of stepping up the training for the next event in February.

Duathlons – my latest goal

Bike and tree

I added a new goal to my list today. Actually, to be more accurate I revised an old goal that had slipped for a while. 

18Months ago I entered my first ever MultiSport race. A duathlon. I do a lot of cross country mountain biking and a friend of mine invited me, along with a bunch of others, asked whether I was interested and I decided to give it a go.  There were 6 of us who signed up to that first one, some of whom had competed in triathlons and similar events before. This one was a fairly simple 2/10/2. That is – 2 miles running, 10 miles cycling, 2 miles running. ALL offroad, so significantly harder than you might think at first glance, although obviously not quite an Iron Man event 🙂

We had 3 Months warning for that event, and I hadn’t actually jogged further than a few hundred yards in almost 5 years. My cycling kept me fit, but jogging even 2 miles was a challenge initially, and I remember my first training run hurting for a week!  I did keep going though, and I did enter. On my own, as it turned out, as the other 5 all fell by the wayside with various excuses.

I finished it. 102nd out of 153 finishers and a half dozen who didn’t make it to the end of the cycle section. I was actually at about 80th after the bike ride and dropped a LOT on the second run. (Straightening up after a 10 mile cross country ride and trying to run again is not easy! I must’ve looked a little like an extra from ‘Planet of the Apes’ for a while.)

Top 70% – I was OK with that as a first event, but I KNEW I could do better.  So I planned for the next one, but got overtaken by other events – now I’m going back 🙂

This time I’m aiming for top 40%, and the one following this I’m looking for top 30%. 

So I’m training again. Jogging a couple of times during the week. Cycling more at the weekends, I have a training plan mapped out to get me there. I KNOW I can do it, its just a case of sticking to the plan.

The first one is mid November, and the next is early Feb.

Wish me luck 🙂

About me.

A professional speaker focused on helping people get more out of their day; for themselves and their companies.
I help people get things done by helping them realise that all the knowledge in the world will do absolutely NOTHING for them - if they don’t use it.
I want to change the world, and getting the right people in the right place is only the start. In todays world it is so, so easy to get pulled into doing all the wrong things. I help people figure out what the right and wrong things are and make sure their energies are focused in the right place.
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