Did you really think that there was a limit in sport? Nah man, that’s in real life, the rest is pure pleasure.
There is no sport that has any rules depicting the humanly possible. If you ride 150km one day, the next week you’ll want to ride 300km. If you run a marathon today, tomorrow you’ll want to run one every two months and maybe an Ironman at the end of the year. Who or what’s stopping you?
It would be better to start from a place where limits are non-existent, so all our objectives would be possible from the get go. That’s it. You have an idea, you do it, then you surpass it. And then you go for another.
There’s a story, that might not be real, but it’s a good story nonetheless. Truman Burbank once navigated his sailing ship looking for the Fiji islands. But it wasn’t easy. Bad weather almost destroyed his ship and the possibilities of finding land were reduced to almost zero. But good guy Truman didn’t give up and in the end found land. Or that’s what he thought. At the artificial sunrise of thousands of watts of power, Truman got one of his boat masts stuck in a beautifully decorated sky made of cardboard. He had reached his limit. Truman hit the wall with his clenched fists. He cried. He fought the rage. Then he climbed out of his boat, opened a door and left there forever.
I’ve never believed in limits. Ever. Putting numbers to challenges is the first step to changing them in the future. Today you do 200, tomorrow 250, the next day 300. That’s how limits work. Short-lived and orientative, but not definitive. At the end of the day, numbers are only quantifiers of pain, pleasure and time. Nothing more. Divided in unequal parts and totally random. 8 hours in your office listening to your imbecil of a boss are pure tragedy. 8 hours pedaling, climbing 5 mountain passes, 6.000m in cumulative climbs and 250km in total, are what fill your real CV. Yes, that’s the one where you have 3 kids, a mortgage, a broken down car and a holiday at the seaside with your in-laws. Did you really think that there was a limit in sport? Nah man, that’s in real life, the rest is pure pleasure. A dose of auto injected pain to make you remember why you fight every day. We surpass a new limit in our daily routine every 24 hours. If we’re capable of making our lives work, you can be rest assured that everything else will be the biggest of pleasures.
Have a word with Joseph Kittinger about limits. The American soldier that jumped out of a balloon at 31,000 meters in 1960. 31,000 meters for fucks sake. He’ll tell you about when his right glove split and his hand swelled to twice it’s size because of the depressurization. And all that doing almost 1,000km/h freefall. After him came Baumgartner and even the vice president of Google who jumped from higher. Unbreakable records broken. Your records will be the base for the next, and so on and so on. You keep raising the bar higher and higher until you decide that you don’t want to go any higher. The Belgian Stefaan Engels decided to run a marathon every day for one year. 42km a day converted into simply training. 42 goddamn miserable kilometers a day plus a 195 meter tip. An unreachable limit for most people in their entire lives, something that Stefaan converted into his daily routine for 365 days. So, why do we keep trying to find a final objective that doesn’t really exist? Maybe to justify somehow all the effort we put in? Or simply just to get rid of all the shit that’s eating us up on the inside day in day out? Maybe It would be better to start from a place where limits are non-existent so all our objectives would be possible from the get go. That’s it. You have an idea, you do it, then you surpass it. And then you go for another.
You fight against yourself, your age, your effort, your training and your own fears. You fight to show you’re not going to give up on your shitty life from the very first moment. The same life that’s going to keep reminding you day in day out that living isn’t for beginners. Fighting against a cardboard wall or asphalt that seems to be getting steeper with every pedal. They said that you’ll never be able to climb it and you did. Dickheads. Yeah, you lot, who envy the courage of your neighbor because you set your bar too low. The limits of others don’t necessarily have to be yours. And because they’re not yours, you climbed 5 mountain passes in one day without even stopping to piss. Because the limit is found at kilometer zero. At the moment when you start to pedal, If you start, the rest is pure entertainment. Like life, pure entertainment.
Or at least that’s what happened to Truman Burbank in “The Truman show” film. Entertaining millions of people whilst he searched for his meaning of life. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 40, or 60 years old. The wall painted in a beautiful blue sky, splattered with grey clouds and golden sunsets, they’re walls that are there to be pulled down. One after the other, without stopping, without giving up. And every wall you bring down, you bring down a limit with it.
Truman hit the wall with his clenched fists. He cried. He fought the rage. Then he climbed out of his boat, opened a door and left there forever.
Truman: [to an unseen Christof] Who are you?
Christof: [on a speaker] I am the Creator – of a television show that gives hope and joy and inspiration to millions.
Truman: Then who am I?
Christof: You’re the star.
Text: Alberto Álvarez Illustrations: David Broadbent