Holkham - Part 2 - Inside the bike
The half iron man bike ride is 56 miles (90 km).
It’s unusual because you’re not allowed to ride in a group or behind anyone else, to get a break or to let them cut through the wind for you.
It’s a time trial.
On your own and inside your own head for as long as it takes to finish.
It’s “balls out”.
It’s “red line”.
I have been fitter than I was at 07:07 on Sunday morning when Louis handed me the timing chip in transition, and I ran with my bike.
The first 15 minutes is easy, because the adrenaline is pumping and you’re flying past people who are not a relay team, feeling good about yourself and thinking this will last for the next 2 hours and 45 minutes.
I’ve done this long enough though, to understand what happens and out of an average of 155BPM, the pain will come soon enough and the anger and the depression and the “why the f**k am I doing this, why the f**k am I here??”
It came just around, about outside Sandringham Palace, which is the Norfolk home of the Queen and then you are “inside the bike” and so the conversation goes like this.
“What is my average heart rate, is it too high?”
“How long have I been going and how long is it until the next feed station?”
“Am I allowed to take a gel yet?”
“Should I take a drink yet?”
“Stop fidgeting Campbell, that means you’re tired.”
“What the f**k am I doing here?”
“There wasn’t supposed to be this many hills?”
“Does that guy have a grey number on his back?” (That means he’s a relay team and I have to catch him)
“What am I going to say at that meeting on Monday at work?”
“The builders, the architects, everybody’s really pissing me off!!”
“How do our drains be better than this?”
“Why did I agree to do this?”
“I should have never of come.”
“I’m slowing everybody else down.”
“In 5 minutes, time I’ll be 2 hours in.”
“In 20 minutes, time I can take another gel.”
“In 2 hours and 15 minutes I’ll have 30 minutes to go and 10 miles to go and If I keep it at 20mph, I’ll be back in half an hour.”
“Why did they not tell us about this hill in the briefing?”
“I really imagined it wouldn’t be as hard as this.”
“Why did I imagine it wouldn’t be as hard as this, it’s always as hard as this.”
“What can I think about to make it easier.”
“Stop f*****g looking at the clock!”
Do you see how it goes?? What happens on the bike?
Then you start singing, at least inside your head.
It was 2 hours and 45 minutes and 5 seconds, so, just short of 20mph and not quick for me.
But that’s ok. Because what happens in an event like this, is that you get to go somewhere, that you’re “not allowed” to go otherwise.
You have to open a door, a gate to somewhere inside your head that you only get to when it’s this hard.
That is why people do it.
Down the hill to Holkham Hall, and off the bike and a tiny chip to Mike and I am done and the relief washes over me and the pride in myself and the self esteem bursts out of me, the photo at the end with our t-shirts and our medals, goes into the treasured photo folder.
But if you ever wonder why people do this stuff, whether it’s the three peak challenge (as the guy opposite us in a campsite had done the week before) or the walk of life, or any other hobby or distraction, that’s not as easy as it should be, and you’ll see why if you read the above.
I’ve always had the philosophy that it is a privilege to get to the start line, because only by getting to the Starline can I “open the gate” and after opening the gate I am in a better place, because I have seen the world in a different way.
Blog Post Number - 2061