Consistency is key. Just ask Joe Maloy. Coach’s Oats? Delicious. Coach’s Oats plus greek yogurt? Off the chain! (Kind of chewy, yet with a very even, smoothly tantalizing mouth feel and just enough texture to really masticate. It is certainly of unshackled consistency.)

But like in your breakfast cereal, the right consistency can also make triathlon significantly more delectable. Not necessarily through precise times or distances or mileage, but more in the mindset with which you approach every practice. Even if each workout and each race requires a different execution and level of intensity, the mindset is constant – it’s an imperturbable determination to maximize your ability to achieve that day’s goal, regardless of your condition. It’s no good to endlessly analyze yourself and only execute when everything is perfect – it’s the ability to recognize what you can achieve and committing fully to the day’s circumstances that’s important.

Unlike that crappy sandwich which someone decided would be awesome if all the steak and fennel were on one side and nothing but mustard and wheat (‘H-weet’) were on the other, your focus must be evenly distributed. More like that perfectly made fluffernutter with finely spread marshmallow and peanut butter throughout. So smooth.

Just ask George Clooney. He knows you have to concentrate on what’s important to be a smooth customer:

DapperDan

Throughout this year I’ve had very consistent training and at my first few races, I showed promise with solid swims, front pack rides, and strong runs. And what would maintaining a nice smooth, even composure with this next of block of racing bring? Hopefully race results. Hopefully, hopefully.

Consistency Part Een
Cape Town, South Africa WTS

After a few weeks of training in Powadise after Auckland WTS, I felt like it was time spend 50 hours traveling to Cape Town with three 10 hr flights. 30+ hours in planes means so many movies. Kingsman isn’t half-bad. The Taken franchise needs to end. The Gambler is awesome. John Goodman belongs shirtless in a bathhouse. Gone Girl is so a few months ago, but what duplicitousness! It is bewildering that Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 was made. I will never watch anything with Kevin James unless a girl invites me. Then I will drop everything because Mr James only makes cinematic masterpieces. But I digress.

SOUTH AFRICA!!

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Definitely one of the coolest places I’ve visited. We arrived a week early and trained in Stellenbosch, about 45 minutes away from the race venue in Cape Town. All the architecture screamed of the colonial heritage and we were surrounded by wineries, so it would be far from the truth to say this satisfied my desire to explore inner Africa. However, it is certainly a place to which I’d return – the food was awesome, people were very friendly, and there was incredible scenery with a plethora of coffee houses. But mainly things were cheap, which is a huge selling point.

Onto the race! This picture sums up my performance:

Rough Day

“So……..?” “Indeed” (GeOh photography)

The day started out fine. The was water super cold (11ish degrees C), so I opted to warm up with stretch cords and then do a few dives into the water until I wasn’t shocked by the freezing temperature. After a decent swim (albeit abbreviated – the ITU halved the swim to 750m on account of the temperature), I struggled to put on my helmet in T1 due to some numbed hands. That wasted 10 seconds but the pack I missed ended up being inconsequential as everyone came together by the time the run started. For some odd reason (perhaps the cold water), my lungs/trachea decided to shut down so I was way off, running in 28th. Bobby McGee (USAT performance staff on the trip) was awesome and helped me find a doc after the race, but the doc gave no reasonable explanation aside from demonstrating that he, too, could sound funny whilst breathing. It was a relief to have serious issues ruled out.

I consoled myself with some Twain:

quote-Mark-Twain-when-we-remember-we-are-all-mad-39540

 

I was disappointed with 28th, but there’s much more to consistency than purely race results; it centers on a stoic ferociousness that ensures each race you perform up to your ability. Despite the issues that arose, I’d stayed relaxed and concentrated on what I could accomplish given the circumstances. That said, I want to assure myself a spot at the Rio trials, and with Chengdu WC and Yokohama WTS up next, I had to achieve results better than freaking 28th:

One thing I sadly missed out on is the famed South African Shark Diving. Perhaps I’ll just try it from these guys the next time I’m in England:

Shark diving

SharkDiving

“I’m in the cage, the shark’s in the cage – the same cage?”                                            “If I let the shark out of the cage, who’s telling what it’ll do?”

Some other cool photos from the week:

CapeTownRide2

CapeTownRide SwimWup

   CapeTownSolo

Nice pictures courtesy of Gavin O’Sullivan, who served as the USAT physio on this race. First time I’ve worked with him and I was very impressed.

Dinner after the race

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Obviously I got

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Springbok, warthog, crocodile, and ostrich. Someday I’ll have zebra. For those epicureanly inclined, crocodile is a more flavorful chicken and springbok is phenomenal. In case you’re curious, a springbok is essentially a jackalope, but with more feathers. I think.

TYRwetty

 

 

 

 

 

The pool was cold enough to necessitate a wetsuit. Usually I take the time to stare into space and contemplate Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 while putting on my wetty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someday I’ll be able to rock the pink hair boa. For now, I’ll settle for the harpoon and dirty red bandanna.

 

 

 

 

 

One other perk about being in South Africa was hanging out with USAT staff Bobby McGee while he was in his element. Always one of the nicest people on a trip, I felt like Janis Joplin after having to part ways with him: Me and Bobby Mcgee

 

 

 

A highlight was seeing Michelle Sikes, a fellow Wake Forest grad. She won the NCAA 5k, earned a Rhodes Scholarship, and is consistently super friendly and happy. I had no idea she was in South Africa, but apparently she decided to teach Statistics along with Japanese and South Korean Economic history at the University of Cape Town for a few years. We went wine tasting at one of the many wineries in Stellenbosch.

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After the race, I prepared for the Chengdu, China World Cup with a week of solid training. It was important to stay relaxed and confident in my plan because if there’s one place it’s difficult to find a perfectly prepared fluffernutter, it’s China.

Sincerely,

G Bills

As always, thanks to the people helping me achieve my goals: My family, USA Triathlon, Kestrel Bikes, Brooks Running, NYAC, Red Fox, and #TheTriathlonSquad