Thursday, June 25, 2015

Xtreme Road Trip, Part 2

Many of you were interested in the story I posted the other day about my friend and co-worker, Amaury Dehez. Well, as luck would have it, I had the honor of writing a follow up piece for our company on Amaury's amazing journey to Swissman status. So, without further adieu, I present "An Xtreme Finish":

So, as you read last week, Amaury competed in the Swissman Xtreme Triathlon this past weekend. Well, I don’t know if “competed” is the right word…more like dominated! In a field of 352, he came in 7th, finishing in about 14 hours. He was the first in his age group and the first French competitor to cross the line. C’est magnifique! Il est incroyable! He had a strong support group all over the world cheering him on, many of whom were following along with the Live Tracking offered on the Swissman website (yes, I was one of them!!).

For the swim, he felt he could have been stronger, but he also knew that it would be possible to make up time during the bike and run. When it came time to get on the bike, he realized that he couldn’t push too hard right out of the gate and he would need to get in a good rhythm in order to gain position. The realization that this section is exceedingly difficult could have had an adverse effect on Amaury, but he was not only prepared physically, he was prepared mentally as well. The only wild card was the weather. The wind and rain (and sometimes snow) created additional challenges that can make this race so extreme, but rather than lament the conditions, he just decided that the weather is part of what made this race so special and epic. Early on – and during some of the most extreme conditions – he lost feeling in his hands and still had two summits to climb. The ups and downs of the mountains surely mirror the range of emotions that he experienced while he was out on the course. Just before the final summit, he grabbed an energizing snack which helped him pick up time and positions, as some of the others fell victim to the elements. By the time he got to the final portion, the marathon, he was in “Robocop” mode. He was able to overtake additional competitors during this phase. But as the end is nearing, his mental fatigue is kicking in, his coach/mentor picks up on this and pushes him to keep going. He does and finally, the end and he is a Swissman.  This brief recap does not come close to doing justice to his experience. Reading about his experience in his own words was amazing. I felt as if I was in the middle of the Alps right along with him. 

One would think that after completing this feat, that the next thing on the list would be to relax, but not Amaury! He will be competing in the Mallorca Ironman, which will help with World Championship Qualifications. He knows that, while he couldn’t take unnecessary risks in the Swissman, he will take some risks in Mallorca to help him learn, and push, his limits. His goal is to continue to improve and be an inspiration to others. After hearing him talk about this experience first-hand, I can say that he is truly an inspiration to me. He is not only a world-class athlete, but he is world-class person and I look forward seeing what his future holds!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Most Xtreme Road Trip

OK, so it's been a while and I truly apologize. I have been bogged down in traffic and just haven't been able to get out on the open road to enjoy my Road Trip. That being said, I was given the opportunity to speak with one of my friends and co-workers who is participating in, what I consider, the ultimate Road Trip! Below is something I wrote to share his story with our company. After thinking about it, I figured it was actually a perfect fit for my personal blog. While this is most certainly not my story, it is the story of perseverance, finding a goal, taking the steps necessary to achieve that goal and then getting your ass out there and doing it! His story is a literal representation of "no mountain too tall to climb and no river too wide to swim." So, sit back, relax and enjoy the story of a most extreme road trip. And, Amaury, bonne chance mon ami!

S-One’s very own Amaury Dehez will be participating in the SWISSMAN Xtreme Triathlon starting June 20th. It is a grueling, 12-hour swim/bike/run that covers some of the planet’s most treacherous terrain. Not only does he have the support of S-One behind him, but he will be wearing a jersey with the HP logo to raise brand awareness in the European market.

In case you want to know what his day will look like, he will get up at about 3 AM to head out for a 4 AM check-in. Then at 5 AM starting at the Isle of Brissago on to Ascona, is the 3.8 km (2.4 mile) swim. He expects to finish the swim with about 20-30 competitors ahead of him, but he knows that he will be able to make up time with the bike ride and run.

The next leg of the race is a mountainous bike ride through three of the tallest summits in Europe. With varying altitudes from 303 meters (909 ft) at Biasca to the tallest peak of Furkapass (2436 meters, 7969 ft), the bicycle portion will end 180 km (112 miles) away in the town of Brienz. At this point, Amaury says his strategy is to be smart and think like a fox, outsmarting his closest competitors. He knows that he will be able to make up some time on the bike that he may possibly lose in the water.

As if completing those two challenges weren’t enough, the final stage of the SWISSMAN Xtreme is the marathon (42 km, 26 mile run) from Brienz to Kleine Scheidegg. The completion of this competition will be a testament to the dedication of mind, body and soul that Amaury puts into everything he does.

The one thing he has learned during the extensive training is to not push his body too hard in the beginning. Then, with the start just a few weeks out, that’s when he goes hard and gives everything he’s got. The biggest reason for this training strategy is so as not to get hurt and then not be able to train at all. With months of rigid diet, exercise and mental preparedness behind him – not to mention the loss of about 9 kg (20 lbs) – it is these last few weeks that are the key to his plan of attack, as he is currently at the peak of his strength and conditioning.
If you want to check out the course and the different altitudes that he will encounter along the way, you can click HERE.