Here is how you can describe my return flight from Chicago. I missed my transatlantic flight and it took me 48 hours to go back home. Then I spent 8 full days, resting, where I stressed because I didn’t know if it was the right thing or not. In addition, I had a really hard time sleeping. I had some insomnia and I woke up on a few “mornings” at 1pm. If you know that I love to wake up before sunrise then you know there is something wrong with me waking up at 1pm. Now I know that the number of lay-overs matters.
It is Thursday and I am about to go to Nice, for the Nationals, when my little sister asks me, “Tell me your times from last year. I wanna compare”.
Me: “24’17 for the swim. This year, I am planning 22 something. Then 1h13 for the bike. This year, 1h08 something. Then 40’53 for the run. This year, 38 something”.
Her: “So that’s 2h09 + transitions?”
Then she takes a 20 Euro bill out of her pocket, “There, take it. If you do 2h09 + transitions, you keep it. If you do 2h10, you give it back!”
I arrive in Nice and it’s pouring rain. A friend comes to pick me up, “Tomorrow it’ll rain even more. Saturday, twice more but it’ll be over on Sunday morning”.
Just like after the European Championships in Geneva, I find it hard to focus on the next race. Mentally, I am somewhere else. I am not stressed at all. I am as calm as if I was cleaning the dishes with some r’n’b in the background. But since I was in the same sleepy state just before racing in Marseille in 2h18, I am not worried. It’s the Nationals, my body is asleep but I know that at the last moment, I will find a word, a song, a story which will light up the fire inside of me.
To be mentally ready during back-to-back races. Here is one point where I’ll have to improve in 2016.
Decided to challenge the rain, I go to the triathletes’ sacred place: The triathlon store. I need to buy some anti-fog. There’s no way, I can do the same swim as in Chicago. The triathlon store is also the official retailer of Cervelo, one of the world’s most prestigious bike brand and one of my sponsors. I talk to the founder and the salesman about the S5, my next jewel, and they tell me, “What?! You’re sponsored by Cervelo?! But, who are you?! What did you do?!”
This question made me smile…because I was expecting it.
In fact, two years ago, I went to Paris’ triathlon store where I had the same conversation:
“I am sponsored by…”
“What?! But, who are…”
At that time, my answer disappointed me big time. Because I lowered myself. I said something like, “Well nothing much, I started just a little while ago…but yes, I won a speaking contest…”
My life coach stops me each time I say a negative word. For example, if I say, “my transition was average”, she stops me and says, “What!!! Gregory Berge, the one who wants to be Olympic champion, he does something ‘average’! How could you reformulate this sentence with positive words?”
So I smile and say, “I will do this and that and will become a transition God”.
There she says, “Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about”.
Therefore, at the Triathlon store, I was waiting for that question.
And I answered, “Well, I am in the French National team. I am just back from the World’s where I finished 1st French but the craziest is that they accepted to sponsor me two years ago, back when I was just a beginner”.
That’s when the boss told me, “I am working with pro cyclists and they don’t have what you have”.
I don’t what you’ve been imagining about sponsors in sports but I always thought that they either give you their products or pay you to use them. If they give you a discount, it just means you’re sweet.
But when I told them that Cervélo was offering me a 30% discount, they told me, “Be grateful because Cervelo, unless exceptional cases, doesn’t offer that anymore. Be aware of how luck you are”.
I am amazingly lucky but I am still going to share with you a story where I looked stupid J There, my coach whould have stopped me and asked to rephrase what I just said! So…I will tell you a story that willhelp become smarter in the future 😉 That’s it.
I came back home to the apartment and sprayed some anti-fog all over my goggles. All of a sudden, they were so fresh and so clean, clean!
I let them dry. I rinse them. I put’em on and there…FOG ATTACK! I take them off and take a closer look at what’s goin’ on and realize that the inside of the lenses are completely scraped, as if a cat had been playing with it! My buddy comes back home and tell me, “What the f**** have you been doing?!”
Tomorrow, I’ll buy a new pair of goggles that will help me swim like a dolphin. Nice vocabulary, coach?
It is Saturday night and until now, my friend’s weather forecast predictions turned out to be correct. It is 11pm. I am trying to sleep and all I canhear is a mega-storm and one dude in the street, shouting “F****, whose f*****’ car is it!”
At 5:15am, the alarm goes off. I arrive at the transition area at 6am and the weatherman was right, the rain stopped. Halleluja! But as soon as I get there, I can hear some whispers, “the swim is canceled…the swim is canceled”. I find one of my buddies there and two minutes later, the big news is in, “the whole race is canceled. There has been some rockslide on one section of the bike course….but please go to your right to get your souvenir Tee-shirt!”
People ask me if I am disappointed. “No”, because this season already provided me with a full tank of emotions. I look at my body, with one thing left on my mind, “what about we go for a nice breakfast?”
You know how I do. As soon as something happens to me, just bad or very bad, I start looking for 10 reasons why it’s great that this race was canceled:
- I have more time to speak with my homeboy that I haven’t seen for 6 months.
- I have had the opportunity to try out his aero bike with his carbon wheels and to compare it with my road bike/aluminium wheels and decide if I want to change bikes or not (you know the answer! 😉
- I have had the opportunity to speak with his girlfriend who has had a scholarship to play tennis in the US, and to ask her a lot of questions about training.
- I have had the opportunity to speak with another dude, a former cyclist who coincidentally showed up and came to have breakfast with us, and ask him many questions about bike technique.
- I am on holidays 24 hours earlier than expected.
- I have had the opportunity to take a super yummy hot chocolate.
- I am still alive because I didn’t have to ride down a risky bike course.
- I have had the opportunity to walk in a neighborhood of Nice that I didn’t know.
- I have had the opportunity to speak with strangers and ask them where they were from.
- I am already registered for the 2016 edition of this race! J
The only bad news is that I am going to have to give this 20 Euro bill to my sister! 😉
My second season is now over. One of these days, I’ll have to slow down and look back and what’s been accomplished this year and take some time to be proud of me.
October, for triathletes, is like summer holidays for students. I’ll have one week of easy training, two weeks off and one week where I can do whatever I want. Training resumes on November 2nd.
Before I say “Goodbye”, I want to thank you once again from the bottom of my heart. I can’t get enough of your encouragements. I often tell myself that if I were all alone on one planet, I would do the same thing I do now: run, swim, discover, go left, go right…
But I must admit that living on the same planet as you is way better. Thanks. Thank you.
Peace and see you soon.