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June « 2012 « James Cunnama’s Blog


Archive for June, 2012

Bienvenue à Leysin!

Monday, June 18th, 2012

So I am back to Leysin. This is my fourth summer here now and every year it gets a little easier to adapt and find my feet.

I remember the first year well. I was staying with Scott and Manny Huerta (who has just made the US team for Olympics – congrats Manny!). We were staying in Alexandra House – quite a walk to the pool and without internet or much TV. Just training really. Manny’s favourite quote for that summer was from Taladega Nights: ‘Oh, Dear baby Jesus!’ He would say that every time he felt he was suffering and thought he might collapse/die …so about 5 times a day then! My accommodation has been upgraded since then, and my idea of what is hard has too – although I still find myself thinking the same thing a few times each week…

Even now my first ride up The Hill was a bit of a shock to the system. I knew what I was in for – in fact I know pretty much every bump and pothole on the entire hill by now – but somehow that doesn’t make that first trip of the summer to the top any easier. Regardless, the first trip up The Hill and all its associated pain and discomfort is soon eclipsed by a ride up The Hill following a track session. Then you get a real reminder of what summers in Leysin are all about – especially if the track session didn’t go well and you feel like dying before you start! …Or for that matter if the track session did go really well… and you feel like dying before you start!

So the summer in Leysin is well under way – the weather is finally playing along. The first week was miserable with constant rain, some snow on the mountains and 5hr rides without feeling your fingers or toes the entire way – until you get up The Hill of course – at least it warms you up! But now we seem to have sun and warmth (touch wood – it changes quickly here!). We have already done the track-session-plus-ride-up-The-Hill thing a couple times, done a trip around Lake Geneva by bike, run around the forest loop multiple times, cycled The Loop and The Bulle Loop, been out on the bike with only shorts and short-sleeves and been out wearing everything I own, carried treadmill’s (an annual tradition) and got to know the newbies well enough to start really giving them a hard time. Team-mates have already been out for weekend passes to earn race podiums, and learned that that doesn’t earn you a holiday in this place. Highs, lows, good weather and bad weather (and horrible weather), tired legs/arms/bodies/minds and emotions, and of course the ever-present, always entertaining (if it’s not aimed at you) rhetoric by the mad genius that is our coach…

…And we’ve only got through the first two weeks of an entire summer here! Bienvenue à Leysin!

Rev3 Quassy

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

I lost this race in the final few miles. It is a frustrating thing, to be that close and then lose. Of course you immediately look back at what cost you 14 secs. Sometimes it obvious, sometimes not so much. This time it really was – I dropped my chain going up a hill 30miles into the bike. It only cost me about 30secs (maybe less – its hard to judge when your adrenalin is pumping!) but it meant a hard 15-20km to catch the leaders again. Of course, things like that happen in races. And if you win you think nothing of them. But races are never just about going through the motions and getting to the finish line as fast as possible. Mostly they are about overcoming obstacles, and getting to the finish line as fast as possible whilst doing so.

But they say you learn more from your losses and there are plenty of lessons out of this one. Perhaps the biggest was the re-enforcement of the lesson learned at Wildflower a few weeks earlier – numbers in training mean little on race day. In Wildflower I had absolutely no training numbers to rely on before the race, and the race went well. This time I had one track session with Scott in New Jersey which went well, but that was about it – it certainly wasn’t smooth sailing since Wildflower. (On that note, a big thanks must go to Lawrence van Lingen. He’s my chiro in SA, and spent many hours on the internet and skype treating my knee from 10000km away whilst I was in New Jersey! Above and beyond.) That was a good lesson, and good for the confidence too. Winning would probably have been a better confidence booster, but we don’t want to be over-confident, do we? ;)

The race itself was yet again amazing. It is one of the best, most enjoyable races I have done. The people are great, the course is excellent and the atmosphere has all of the excitement and adrenalin, without any of the stuffy seriousness which other races seem to involve. Rev3 tries to make their race for the family, and they do a very good job of it. No power-tripping marshals shoving spectators this way and that or ‘officials’ giving you long lists of ‘can’t do’s’. Just racing. They way it should be. [The race video here: http://vimeo.com/43370544 ]

It was also great to have Jodie with me at the race. She was tasked with providing updates and travelled the course with Brian from PBN so I got to see her often (maybe less than she saw me, but one of us had to focus on racing!) It is her turn at Boise 70.3 this weekend. Unfortunately I am already in Leysin, Switzerland (and already training hard, of course!) so I won’t be able to return the favour, but I don’t think she’s very short on motivation right now anyway…

Next up is Challenge Roth on 8 July. Last year was a bad result (withdrawing on the run whilst in 3rd, due to injury) so I will be looking to put those demons to rest. Decisively. Right now, it is good to be back in Leysin, and with Doc – it has been a good 9 months since I had his beady eye watching my every move and giving me a general hard time… and I think I strangley missed it. ;)

Onwards and upwards.