Yo, Winter has also reached the UAE pretty much. Cooler temps, at night now slightly below 30C, during the day max slightly above 30C minus this mind numbing humidity. I feel great, and I hope you do too. Life outside has become possible again. and everyone behaves responsibly with a distance and a mask, then we are as good as gold.
I must admit, I am a bit emotional about this post. I felt it already last Friday before the race before i even decided to write this blog. In the race of course it is blinders on, focused, but after the race and at the awards i looked around and could not help but feel a little bit nostalgic. I have not been at or raced the Jebel Ali triathlon since 2014 i believe. That is a long time. The last time i competed in the UAE was TriYas 2018. those are long gaps.
In a way, it felt like i came home. I was greeted everywhere and greeted back in the same manner. Friendly and with a smile. It felt really warm inside. Thank you to everyone for treating me with respect. At the awards after the race, Christian Berglehner from RaceME introduced me to the crowd with nice, warm words. I really appreciate that. Big thumbs up for that. Thanks a ton. I felt really good and it makes all the efforts, achievements, victories, course records and dedicating myself to the sport of triathlon worth over all these years to hear something like that. If i remember correctly back to the time beforehand, i was rather hard and unapproachable. I must have had my reasons, but with time you mature and see things differently.
Sporting wise, a lot has changed too. There is a change of generations now and the next wave is rolling in. A crop of really talented younger athletes is here now and that is really great to see. If the invitational field at TriYas among all the other events has anything to do with this growth, which i strongly believe, then i am very proud to have helped out the younger generation in the UAE to create opportunities to see whether they got moxie to step it up to the next level. Also i saw a lot of new clubs and faces, young and old, having a go at this beautiful sport.
A lot of the guys and girls that i saw since 5 years have now developed into cracking athletes. and that makes me really happy. as you know, i always enjoy competing and i love nothing more than having a crack at this super level which we have now here. It keeps me motivated as well to still move on and give my best.
At Mamzar and Jebel Ali, i showed at both events i am not backing down from a fight. Although, i must say it becomes quite hard to compete against the young guns. I have to exert myself, but i can handle it. Switching the training at my age is not that easy anymore, but i have a lot of fun with it and it keeps me on my toes. as you know, i love to work hard. but i have to be realistic too; i am not going to be super quicker all of a sudden. In my age, the explosiveness needed for the top level is biologically finite, and i am cool with that. The shelf life of every athlete has an expiry date on it. It happens to everybody. This generation that is taking over now will also one day be greeted and taking over by the next one. That is just how life goes. But so far, i am managing quite well and my performances are top notch still, not embarrassing in any way, and i will pull the plug before that will ever happen. trust me on that.
For the further development, i think it is very good and helpful that the UAE triathlon competition scene is built up on sprint and olympic distance races to the largest extent. Before getting to the IM and 70.3 racing and having all the success that i had and still have, i did for 3 to 4 years just these short races. I am of the opinion that without these shorter races i would never been as good in IM and so forth. It sharpens the senses, you get good repetition because the races are on all the time, you learn strategy and everything that comes with racing. It is a great school and with the 2 events operating companies we have here in Dubai, both RaceME and SuperSports put up great events that have something for everybody.
Also now we have officially a UAE Triathlon Federation governing body. That is great, and they are active too with a roster of promising young athletes. They race on a weekly basis and really have developed to a high level. I have registered with the UAE triathlon federation as an athlete and i think everybody who competes and resides here in the UAE should do that, too and support them.
All in all, i think we are in a good place here in the UAE and i am proud of the everyone in the community.
So long now. stay safe and c u soon.