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“Where’s Bob?” (with apologies to “Where’s Wally” fans)
Posted by: Bob Holloway
Posted on: Tuesday 19th May 2009


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Of all the questions I’ve been pondering recently (apart from where have I been), perhaps the most perplexing is why has it all gone so wrong?

In 2004 I stood on the age-group podium in every race I entered; got a bronze in the national duathlon championships, qualified for and came fourth in the European duathlon championships and at the sprint distance, was finishing in the top 5% overall on most occasions. The world seemed to be my oyster and with a good winter, my ambition of sneaking a national title was a realistic proposition. But those slings and arrows that life has a funny habit of throwing at us when we least expect them dealt me a bad blow and two eye operations in 2005 and 2006 put my triathlon career on hold. But hey, that was three years ago, so what happened to all those dreams?

In short, they never materialised. Through a mixture of laziness, lack of motivation and more recently, a very busy time at work, I haven’t been able to put in the miles and I now approach my first race of the season full of trepidation and worst of all, very little fighting spirit. Being “up for a race” and willing to give it 100% with no quarter spared is easy when you are fit and training has gone well, but if competing at the sharp end has been your main motivation and filled your trophy cabinet, how do you approach a race when you know you are a million miles away from those glory days?

Well, I guess the good news is that at least I will be racing. It would be so much easier just to retire gracefully and mull over the past and how things used to be. But I have been in this wonderful sport for 20 years and somewhere inside me is a flame that is proving difficult to extinguish. Triathlon is in my blood and having got so close to achieving my potential in 2004, it’s as if I have an unfulfilled ambition to have one more crack at the big time. Since 2004, I have never been able, for a variety of reasons, to train as I used to and this past winter has been just one more example of a long run of what might have been. I ended 2008 in pretty good shape. My weight was in check and I was back to something like my old form. But along came the credit crunch, Icelandic banks and the collapse of financial markets, all of which culminated in Ministers assigning me a special project which was to take up virtually all my waking hours between November and the end of March. Apart from a few runs, I undertook no training between November and the middle of March. The weight piled back on and those first few runs towards the end of March were painfully slow and painful. Since then, the training has become more regular and on Sunday, I managed an eight mile run in just over the hour. Nothing to frighten my rivals in my new age group (55-59), but it’s a start! Oh, and I haven’t swum a length since September last year!

So the portents are not good for my first outing of the season at the Thames Turbo Sprint on 25th May. I faced a similar scenario last year when I went from a 1hr 18min time for the first race in March to a sub 1hr 10min time for the final race in August. But this time around, I think even 1hr 18 min will be a struggle and although I would be disappointed, I won’t be totally shocked if I can’t dip under 1hr 20 mins. That would be an all time worst for me over this course but as the song goes, things can only get better!

I’ll let you know how I get on in my next blog. Oh, and I also owe you a few words and photos from this year’s launch of team Tri-Uk last month. Once I’ve learnt how to airbrush out my stomach in Photoshop that is! And for those of you at the Thames Turbo race, why not pop over and cast a jealous eye over my team bike this year. Gone is the Van Nicholas and in its place, a Kuota K-Factor SL. With a full SRAM Force groupset. I’ll let you know how she rides in my next blog.

Bob Holloway


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