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!