Training in Paradise City

I just spent 24 hours in bed. Cannot move. My muscles hurt. Cannot train. I am just exhausted.

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The next morning, I take my bike, my big luggage, my small luggage, my big back pack, my small back pack (normal for a triathlete) and put everything back in the trunk of the car. My mom is with me. I am driving away and after a few turns, she says: “You must feel like you’re leaving Paradise City now”.

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I am just back from a 9 day training camp in a country where I went for the first time: Portugal. Have you ever been there?

During those 9 days, I trained in Porto, Tabuaço, Coimbra and Lisbon. It was custom made. For the first time, I took my bike and my Scicon Aerocomfort bag and assembling and disassembling my bike was just a pure bliss. So much that everyday, I timed myself to see how fast I could do it. So far, my best is 12 minutes 30 seconds 🙂 I drove across the country in a Peugeot 308 and it was a great car. So much that I now have no choice but to ask them for sponsorship! I mean it!

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But before talking about triathlon, I am going to write you a review of Portugal as if I was writing for Trip Advisor.

In Portugal, the sky is blue. It’s sunny all the time. About 25 degrees. When you get closer to the sea, it’s windier. When you go in altitude, it feels like it’s 40 degrees. The highways are desert. No car. On some roads, there is nothing but electronic tolls! No ticket anymore. Un typical Portuguese dish is a “Francesinha”. It’s a kind of toasted bread with some cheese, meat, sausage, some sauce with beer and some more cheese on top. Portuguese are kind. Lay back. Easy going. When they drive, they don’t honk. 95% of them speak english. My Trip Advisor verdict: 4,5 stars out of 5 🙂

I tried the pools in each of those 4 cities. These pools all have something in common: They were desperately waiting for me! Indeed, each time, never mind if it was a 25 or 50 meter pool, I had a water lane just for myself. Heaven. When it was time to bike, I would put my ride in the trunk of the car, would drive outside of the city, park somewhere quiet and just discover the roads cycling.

The 3 days in Porto went very well. The schedule was busy because there was also a conference about public speaking and I was a bit tired (probably more than that) because I had to wake up at 5 in order to train before the conference start.

Paradise City is a small village in altitude, in the Douro Valley, called Tabuaço. It’s a Unesco World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, that’s when my body gave up and that I went for a 24h coma instead. But as I left this place, I had a vision. The day I am world champion of triathlon, I’ll be the one organizing training camps. Other athletes will train with me in the most beautiful places in the world, in the Unesco World Heritage Site. I am like you. I love travelling but natural beauty and landscapes are really what attracts me the most. Combining sports and beauty this way will be amazing.

After Porto and Paradise City, on to Coimbra. A city with 100 000 inhabitants and home of another Unesco World Heritage Site: its University. Ok, I must admit, the site is amazing. But organizing a triathlon camp there won’t be available 😉 It’s in Coimbra that I went for my first bike ride. I started riding on a road with too much traffic so at the next intersection, I turned right. Crossed a little bridge and got to another intersection with about 8 different city names. I chose the one that was the most appealing (Señor da Serra) and thought: “Ok, we go there”! Of course, I picked a road going up at 8% for 30 minutes! 😦

Coimbra is a wrap. Now let’s head 2 more hours South to Lisbon. Ok, I must confess, I didn’t fall in love with Lisbon. Too big. Too crowded and too many cars for me. And not many flat roads either 😉 But I did like the National Training Center just outside the city. Lisbon is also linked to another piece of land thanks to a bridge which is San Francisco’s Golden Gate’s exact lookalike. And on that piece of land, there is the Rio de Janeiro’s Christ statue’s exact lookalike! Beautiful landscape.

This month, I also finished another big project. I created a motivational athletic course called “The Best Athlete you can be”. I’ve been working on it for months now and I am really proud of the result. The course is made to inspire and help you accomplish your athlete’s dreams. It’s a mix of practice advice, motivational stories to set your heart on fire and tips coming from all the athletes I met throughout the world. There is more than 7 hours of content. Needless to say, I put my blood in this thing. The video course is only available in French so far. It will be available in english by June 29th on this page.

You can also watch the trailer below. It’s in French but you will get a good feel of what this course is.

Yesterday, I swam 200m in less than 3 minutes for the first time in my life. Not once. But twice. And not just 2’59. But 2’53. There’s something I don’t understand. Tell me if you do. I am coming back from a calf injury and (you know it) I just spent 24 hours in a coma. I am currently in a phase where physically I do what’s needed to achieve my dream but mentally…let’s say I’ve been more intense than that.

This is the context in which I exploded one of my limit. Do you get it?

This is the main lesson I am taking away from this experience chasing my dream and that’s probably the number one lesson I will teach my kids and grand-kids (if they ever want to listen 😉 ). You must always keep on going, You should never give up. It sounds so cliches but do you only know how true it is? If you already found the thing you love doing the most in the world, then do it and never stop. There will unbelievable moments where you will feel like you’re on top of the world. There will be dark moments and there will be average moments. But you don’t care about this, right?

Because you just go and go. Rain or shine. Hell or high water, You just keep on going and you,,,never,,,stop.

I am so with you.

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