It’s officially taper time and It’s just really hard to believe how the past few months flew by. The last three weeks were really stressful on the body & soul. For the first time I am probably looking forward for some quality recovery time. You always get across how IronMan athletes struggle with the taper process but it’s something that I am definitely looking forward to.
I’ve been recently told that I have to record how my IronMan training happens in Jordan because it’s definitely a totally different experience from the usual crew living in the developed world. Unfortunately, recording this journey is a little far fetched so I have decided to write down a couple of thoughts that came to mind.
I have had three back to back build weeks where every weekend I’ve had to plan a 5-6 hour ride followed by a brick run and then a long run the day after. Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is not only that Jordan is such a tiny country but there’s not much that you can cover on the bike within this time frame. Not only the distances, but safe/stress free roads are somewhat limited. The amounts of dogs that have tried to eat me within the past few months becomes a standard part of your journey, not just on bike but on foot also. The amounts of drama that Ive had to go dealing with people, whether its school children throwing rocks at you, van drivers following you because they are bored and then asking you for gas money, cops, security, army or customs authorities is really draining mentally apart from the whole working out process being put aside.
I’ll give you an example. Having to wake up at 3am on a Friday morning in order to drive down to the Arab Potash area to start my 6 hour ride down south towards Aqaba. Obviously the day before I’ve had to juggle a swim and a run workout, mix that with going to work, being social, having some family time and obviously walking/taking care of Dexter my pet Labrador. Luckily, I have some amazing friends who without their support I could have never finished this journey. They decided to drive me down and support me during that day in order to spend a beautiful weekend by the beach after arrival.
Fast forward to being on the bike, that specific week I was not feeling great. I was starting to get frustrated with the overload of training and little sleep was also adding to the frustration. I was struggling during the first half of the route and for the first time in a while had some thoughts of quitting. Fast forward all the workout drama and 180km’s later on the bike I arrive to the Aqaba “checkpoint or customs terminal”.
So even though we are still in the same country, no border crossings, the entrance of the Aqaba border area is a place where you have to be ID’ed and checked up on. Some say its a form of security to keep Israel safe. On top of all that It’s labeled as a customs free area meaning that when you go out of the Aqaba region you have to be checked for what you have on you. Mama Mia. That literally means that when you enter with your bike you need to register it because if you go out without registering your bikes then your going to pay customs even though your still in the same country.
Can you imagine what I looked like entering Aqaba on my Tribike on my own? Well I had my salty trisuit on, my aero helmet, the crazy sunglasses, orange socks oh my oh my ain’t I the most intimidating target for the bored cops chilling under the heat? After dealing with all the questions you head towards the customs area where the head of customs decides that you are good to go no need to register your bike and equipment because he is too lazy to get the paperwork and register the equipment. You start having to kiss ass, beg for the paperwork while his colleagues say “didn’t you hear what he said? he’s the boss and he said you don’t have to register your equipment”. This is really frustrating to deal with after being 5h30 into your bike ride. You finally manage to clear this mess and the masses of stray dogs start attacking you. Funny enough I actually find it lots of fun given that you are underneath 40degree heat.
I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, indeed this place can be really frustrating but it also adds to the adventure of training. Making it even more and more unique. Defining who you are, defining your journey and everything that comes along with it. Who would have known my Cervelo that was chilling in some shop in Canada would experience dead camels on the side of the roads or even donkeys running alongside it.