This week: Sepp Kuss wins Vuelta España; finding joy in the mundane.
Image: Veronika Vazhnik riding gravel around Sun Valley.
Here is your weekly Tri Town Times newsletter:
Weekend race highlights:
- American Sepp Kuss has won the Vuelta España. Kuss is the first American to win a Grand Tour event in 10 years- the last being Chris Horner who won the same race in 2013. Kuss' Jumbo Visma team swept the podium, with Jonas Vingegaard in second just seventeen seconds back, and Primoz Roglic in third. This is the first time in sixty years that a single team has swept the podium at a Grand Tour event.
- A large group of locals made the journey to Maple Valley to compete on the scenic 70.3 Washington course. Boise had two men finish in the top ten overall, with David Conger winning the race outright, and Denis Pyryev finishing seventh overall. Congrats to all finishers!
Events I'm looking forward to:
- The annual Tri Swap is Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st. Starting next Monday we begin accepting gently used gear to sell at the shop. All details can be found in the link above.
- The women's Ironman World Championship race is October 14th in Kona.
Quote that struck a chord:
"At the higher levels of competitive swimming, something like an inversion of attitude takes place. The very features of the sport which the "C" swimmer finds unpleasant, the top-level swimmer enjoys. What others see as boring- swimming back and forth over a black line for two hours, say- they find peaceful, even meditative, often challenging, or therapeutic. They enjoy hard practices, look forward to difficult competitions, try to set difficult goals." Daniel F. Chambliss in The Mundanity of Excellence: An Ethnographic Report on Stratification and Olympic Swimmers.
Daniel Chambliss spent years in the 1980's studying the training habits and behavior of swimmers of all ability levels. The fascinating conclusion from his study was the very best swimmers were not doing anything quantitatively different than their peers (i.e. they were not swimming more). The best swimmers simply found joy in doing what others found uncomfortable or boring. The best apparently enjoyed the mundane, often repetitive swim sets, the early 5:30am workouts, and the hours spent tracking above the black line.
This is not surprising. When you find joy in the mundane you begin to perfect details that other miss. You think a little deeper about every stroke. You put in a little extra effort into every jump off the blocks. You tighten up every turn and hold your breath just a moment longer. Even if you and your neighbor swim the same number of yards, you can get more out of the same practice session.
Today's athletic culture seems designed to kill boredom by offering constant feedback, data, and metrics that often mean nothing in the moment and only contribute to distracting the athlete from the task at hand. The demands on the athlete's attention is often relentless, with many athletes feeling compelled to take pictures and post about their workouts rather than engaging their full attention to the training itself. Remove these distractions and the athlete will feel bored because they are conditioned to being constantly distracted and entertained by outside influences.
A person who seeks to avoid boredom has missed the point: boredom is not something that happens to you, it is something you create in your mind. Boredom happens when you fail to see the interesting details that lay just below the surface of all things.
Learn to find joy in the mundane, and your performance will benefit from it.
Tri Town Bicycles
Like the newsletter? Please forward to a friend so they can subscribe.