Positions on the bike, at the desk – March

Hey you! It took me forever to translate this thing but here is my race schedule for 2015:

  • April
    • in Cannes the 19th (M format: 1km-40km-8km)
    • in Vitrolles the 26th (S format: 750m-20k-5k)
  • May
  • June
    • in Salagou the 6th (M : 1,2-40- 9)
    • in Valence the 14th (S : 750- 20-5)
  • July
    • in Geneva, the 12th for the European Championship (M)
    • in Marseille on the 26th (M)
  • August
  • September
    • in Chicago, the 20th, for the World Championship (M)
  • October
    • in Nice on the 4th, for the Nationals (M)

12 races in a year, I suddenly feel like I am a pro! I am so excited by this racing schedule. The first race in Cannes is an international race where there will definitely be some electricity in the air. Then I have 4 sprint races. Sprint is a distance I never officially raced before. I suddenly feel like a beginner. This will be my first sprint triathlon! 😉 Then I have the European Champ’ship. I am not sure things are gonna go well there because my heart already beats at 140bpm just looking at their website! This will also be my first race with my outfit of the French Nat’l team! Cannot wait! Then I’ll spend the summer climbing passes in Marseille and the Alps. This’ll be great to compare myself with the 2h32 of 2014 and hopefully be in the top 15 and get a qualification ticket for the HY-VEE US championship. The Alpe d’Huez and the Mont-Blanc will be amazing for sure. Last but not least, Chicago. I might need to calm down because I feel like I am going to be reborn on that day. As they say on their homepage: “Destiny is calling”.

Looking at this calendar, I can’t help but to realize how much I am living my dream. Recently, I heard another coach say “Don’t dream. All qualifying spots available are taken by former pros”.

You know that I dream. My eyes are all set on Tokyo 2020. It might sound completely nuts at times but if I didn’t believe in it, I wouldn’t be in the French National team, I wouldn’t be qualified for Chicago either, this blog also wouldn’t exist, I wouldn’t have been training in the Canary islands, I wouldn’t inspire anyone except maybe the son of my neighbour…

Want my opinion? You better dream.

Recently, you asked me “And so, Rio? What’s gonna happen? Are you gonna make it?”

Nah, not gonna make it. Yes, I’ll be in Rio for a reason or another but I won’t be able to qualify. The pros are fighting for their  qualification spot this year and since I am still 30 minutes late behind the pros, it’s not gonna be possible.

But honestly, ever since the beginning of this adventure, I’ve been telling myself “To qualify for Rio would be a bonus. The real race will be in Tokyo”. I’ll be even more honest with you. I told myself several times that in terms of improvement, in terms of drama, in terms of story, it would be great if I could fail on the doorstep of Rio 2016, in order to be even more motivated for Tokyo 2020. Seems like what I had in mind is going to unfold just as I planned.

I remember my coach during the 2014 season who used to repeat to me: “Greg, your race is in 6 years. Don’t forget that. Not before. It’s in 6 years. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”. I remember during each run, he used to tell me “It’s in 6 years that you’ve got to run 10k in 30′, not next year!”.

In February, I went to the movies to see “Unbroken” from Angelina Jolie. I knew it was about an olympic champion who was gonna become war prisoner but that was it. Quite quickly, in the movie, the main character, Louis Zamperini, becomes gifted for racing and qualifies for the Berlin Olympic games in 1936. He’s about to leave his hometown, on the platform at the train station and his brother tells him “Come on brother, these are your games!”

There, Louis turns back and says: “No, Berlin is just an appetizer. The real race will be in 4 years…in Tokyo”

I didn’t even know they wanted to organize the 1940 Olympic games in Tokyo. The movie started just 12 minutes ago and I am in tears. My mom is next to me. She doesn’t hear me cry but she knows. Spontaneously she turns to me and hold my hand. The first time I told her I wanted to qualify for the Olympics, I think she looked at me like “My Lord, what is my son gonna do this time…”

But today, when I come back home from training, that is to say around 12 times a week, she wants a detailed report and if she has a suggestion, she became authoritarian like “Ah no Greg, if you want to become a triathlon champion, you’ve got to do this!”.

Don’t be afraid to share your dream. The reality is that the number of people who want to help you is limitless. I promise you. I’ve noticed it many times but the reality is that your biggest critic is that big voice inside of your head. Not the others.

After the “inspiration” part of this post, let’s move on to the practical section. Ever since January, I became a lot more focus on my legs flexibility. So I decided to stretch 30′ every night. There are many studies saying that stretches are useless or even bad but according to the study I’ve been leading for the last 30+ years on myself, stretching = LIGHT LEGS. No stretching = HEAVY LEGS. At least, it’s clear. I remember Kobe Bryant who once said that the more you age, the more you’ve got to stretch. Maybe that’s because Kobe and I were both born in 1978 😉

Yes, my daily evening stretching session gives me light legs. However, 24 hours later, I am back to square one. Cannot touch my toes. I don’t improve. When I was 20, a few days of stretching and hop, my hands were flat on the ground. I have to solve this mystery and no need to tell you that the “it’s normal to lose flexibility as you get older” doesn’t work with me.

This is when I really became aware of my working position, sitting at my desk. However, when I was in Fuerteventura, without my computer and therefore without the need to sit down at a desk, I was able to gain massive flexibility in just 24 hours, not by doing something more but by doing something less (sitting). This is how I started to think that SITTING = DANGER!!

I went back home to France and tried consciously to improve this. My legs are worth it. Here are the options I tried:

  • Sitting. Back straight between the back of the chair and the front of the desk. No, doesn’t work! When I get up, my lower back is still rusty.
  • I’m on my knees with a cushion on the floor. My back is straight but my gluteus and hamstrings are always in tension. No, doesn’t work!
  • Standing. I put a night shelf on my desk. The computer is high enough. I kicked my chair out of there. I am standing all the time. I was very motivated and curious because many athletes/entrepreneurs preach this solution.The first few days went fine but after a week, I realized my legs were just tired all the time and didn’t recover well anymore. No, donut’s work! Too bad.
  • Lying down, flat on my stomach, with one cushion under my legs and another under my chest so that I don’t flex my muscles too much and…it kinda works!!! Of course, I wouldn’t stay this way for hours but that might the perfect solution to answer emails for 30 or 60 minutes.
  • Lastly, here is the winner (so far). It’s a sort of counter chair. It doesn’t have any backrest and it’s as high as the desk.There is no backrest so my back is straight. And since the chair is high, my legs are always kinda straight and not bended.

Now let’s move to the “advice for triathletes” section! When you talk with triathletes about equipment, you better be sure someone will quickly talk bikes…and their price! I think all triathletes, right or wrong, believe inside of them “Man, if only I had that bike, I would…” (I do).

But I learnt from a coach that your number one investment should’t be a 5000 Euros bike. This coach says that what is going to impact your performance the most is a bike fit. This is how, after thinking about it for months, I finally booked my appointment. I went and it was great. Once there, Lionel, the specialist, asks me what I am training for. Of course, I mention the World Championships. He takes my bike to put it on the platform but tells me as soon as he touches the frame “Uh…is that your racing bike?”

“Yes”

“You’re brave!”

My bike weighs 8,8 kilos. Pros have bike weighing around 6,5 kilos but Lionel says it’s not necessary to go that low. 7,8 kilos would be perfect. He says that the inertia when you pedal makes it that 100 grams equals 1 extra kilo to pedal against, something like that. Needless to say I was aware that my bike was obese 😉 but now it became all clear. I told him “My sister says that training with a heavy bike is good because the day I switch to a light one, I will fly”.

Here are two photos: Before and After the bike fit.

screen-shot-2015-03-18-at-08-07-14

BEFORE

screen-shot-2015-03-18-at-08-07-24

AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not biochemistry but you’re freakin’ gifted if you can see any change with your eyes naked! 😉

My knee is now a bit more forward. The seat is also more forward. The handlebars are lower to decrease the angle of my back. During the initial measures, Lionel told me “Uh, Greg…your bike is assembled as if you were cycle touring, not as if you were qualified for the World’s” 😉 We also lowered the angle of the aero bars and the seat. Conclusion: I cannot wait to take this new bike out!

The month of March is also the beginning fo the public speaking season. I’m the defending European champion so I better prepare some good material. I cannot stay at home and watch my new bike endlessly! 😉 I need a speech!

This year, I decided to only participate in the english speech contest. Last year, I finished 2nd at the national round and I need to up it up this time. A trip to the European finale in Porto is at stake! Then, this summer, the World Championship of public speaking will be in Las Vegas. Worth writing a speech and rehearsing 50 times in front of a mirror, right? 😉

On March 12th was the first round, in my club. I was the only speaker registered so my only challenge was to respect the time of 7 minutes. I could have fallen in love with my voice and speak for 8 minutes but no, I resisted the temptation. 😉 Mission accomplished.

On March 28th was the 2nd round, in Nice. This time we are 3 speakers. The other participants are doing their thing but I am in the back, playing with the son of a friend. He asks me to lift him and put him upside down. In my head, I am thinking “Keep it up son, make me think about something else”. I still have 30 seconds before getting on stage and this is where everything happens. This is when I decide with which energy I will say my first word. I think about my last work outs. I think about a few songs. Some friends cheer for me. I tell them “I am gonna kill this contest”. Last year, I was the challenger. Getting on stage and not knowing what to expect. This year, I just realize everybody knows what to expect. The audience knows what I am made of. I just realize it. I’m not a rookie anymore. The crowd wants to be stunned. They want amazing. I realize this and instantly knows which energy I will give them.

I am on stage. I just said 6 words and I realize to my surprise that the audience will be my hostage for the next 7 minutes. The more I speak in public, the more I realize how this energy is the most important. Thanks to it, I win this contest and qualify for the next round on April 25th.

Have you noticed how the specialist only adjusted a few details on my bike? And that those details are supposed to change everything?

Imagine, a specialist could do a “yourself fit”. He would only adjust a few details on you but that would change everything. What are the little things, you think he would adjust?

Remember what the coach said? A “yourself fit” is the number one thing you should invest on.

It’s April, go hard after what you’re after. Peace.

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