Sanka, ya dead?

Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time!

The last few weeks have been self inflicted torture with the constant self doubt, fear of the unknown and pushing to the back of my mind the pain and suffering that’s inevitably coming my way. The Jamaican Bobsled team had more of a chance of winning gold than I do at finishing this race.

So why set myself up for failure?

Because I’d rather give it a go and fail miserably than sit there and never know.

If I ever had the balls to get a giant tattoo it would have to be, Roosevelts ‘The Man In The Arena’.

I read over it regularly and had it printed out and stuck on the wall during RAAM, have a read below but especially the last couple of lines in bold text:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

I’ve always had slight trepidation of my big races, mainly because I go into them unprepared and just about wing it to the finish but I can always envisage the race and more importantly the finish line. I just can’t see the finish line with this race. I’m not saying it’s not going to happen, I’m not going into this race with a defeatist attitude, I just can’t visualise the way I always have before and it has fucked with my head.

I’ve always said I’m an extremely average athlete but I just crave finding and doing the extreme races. There isn’t a race on earth I wouldn’t sign up for in the morning, except probably the Castletown Donkey Derby! Fear is normal but this race, for whatever reason has turned me inside out. I wasn’t sleeping, I was a bollox(sorry, bigger bollox) to live with so I had to talk to someone and I did that a couple of weeks ago. I spoke to a Sports Psychologist, partly because ultra endurance athletes swear by them but mainly to see if he could help in any way possible. We had a great chat, he reassured everything I already knew about how the training has been spot on, crew is the best around, I can’t control the weather and if saddle sores or getting wiped out by a Massey Ferguson (there’ll be times I’ll be praying for this Massey) are the cause of a DNF then that’s totally fine, I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with is throwing the bike in a ditch and quitting.

I’ve tried to visualise the pain and injury, I’ve told myself to deal with it but I just couldn’t settle and for whatever reason his words of “make peace with the pain that’s coming your way and deal with them head on each time they hit”, for the first time in weeks my shoulders dropped and I was finally able to relax.

A bit late to bring this up now but having been off the bike pretty much all of last year even though I still managed The Race Donegal, Gaelforce Ultra and Ironman Wales I still think this race is a year too soon for me. If I had a few Audax or 12/24hr races under me I’d be a lot more confident heading into this but sure if my Aunt had balls she’d be my Uncle!!

I still can’t visualise the race and that’s ok but finally I feel ready to tackle it. Only seven Irish people have ever finished it solo and with a 60% – 70% failure rate the norm would be to dnf, the extraordinary would be to finish it.

So what the fuck have I to lose?

Absolutely nothing.

What have I to gain?

Absolutely everything.

Let’s roll the dice.

See you on the ramp at Trim Castle from 2pm this Sunday

“Hey Derice, ya dead man”?

“No Sanka, I’m not dead, but we have to finish the race”.

3 thoughts on “Sanka, ya dead?

  1. Class stuff Graham, enjoyed reading your blog entires as I’ve needed some of my one inspiration coming into my event. Best of luck.


  2. I’m a psychologist, and with humility, somewhat of a `sports’ psychologist. You, on the other hand are an athlete with exceptional insight and resilience. Action defines us. Every time we breathe in and breathe out we get another chance. Though I’ve been down many, many times in my life … I just can’t stay down. And neither can you.


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