Inside Out – Delarey’s recap of 5150 Bela Bela

-written by Delarey Ribbens

It came out of nowhere and was a total ‘on the spur of the moment’ thing…

Once again, the M.A.D. crowd travelled to a (not so) far off destination to test their wits against the elements (read hot summers day in the middle of August), the course (read one helluva hill times twice), and themselves (read that person you can’t get away from no matter how hard you tri). The usual setting: a faded, not so clean, gazebo pitched far away from the rest of the race hype with a few chilled athletes and supporters just minding their own whilst sipping away at chocolate milk. Business as usual.


Despite the remote location of the setup, it is astonishing to see how many people take the long trek over no man’s land to just say ‘hi’….with the usual chit chat on training and racing ending in the conclusion (and mutual respect) that life has a nasty habit of getting in the way of tri. With new energy and motivation we eventually go our different ways trying to, once again, get our priorities right to tri harder. New friends are introduced; old friends with forgotten names are re-established and so it goes on.

And then….BANG….the race starts and all the nervous hype and tension is released and tri does what it does best: revealing the truth. The truth about character, training, self-belief, commitment and most importantly what people are made of. (May I add substance abuse to this list?!) The playing field is level…everyone for himself as he/she faces the elements, the course and themselves. Any vaguely familiar face/running style/tri suit is shouted for as they come past the faded old gazebo, transferring some positive form of energy to those who desperately need it as they run past.

It came out of nowhere and was a total ‘in the spur of the moment’ thing. As a familiar face ran past he said it loud and clear: ‘You guys still have the most clearly visible tri suit on the course!’

‘What a compliment’, I thought!

And then a voice from behind: ‘It’s not the suit, but the people in the suit. Not the outside but the inside!’.

Spot on. It struck me right there and then. A suit is just a match of colours, but it resembles something more for those who see it. Something about the vibe within (or is it around?) the suit makes it what it is…clearly visible. What a privilege to be part of that. Some people see and recognise it while others just never seem to grasp. No wonder the journey across no man’s land is so short for some to just say ‘hi!’.

Being part of this M.A.D. crowd rubs off on you…and I like to think of it this way:


To the inside its about TRI:

Trust –
Trusting yourself with the commitment you made to better yourself each day. Trusting your coach that he has your best interest at heart.

Respect –
Having enough respect and giving yourself a chance by working hard towards the goals you set to achieve.
Respecting the journey, learning from it along the way.
Respecting others even if they are not on the same journey as you are on.

Intuition –
Facing the voices of others and your own fear by following your heart with courage and giving yourself the chance you really deserve!
Letting go of all the gadgets, numbers and comparison with others by reading your body as you race, dancing on the song of pain as the finish line gets closer. After all, if it’s hurting you are still alive!

To the outside it’s also about TRI:

Together – 
Being able to share these experiences makes it worth the while. Its one of the basic privileges of life!

Raw Emotion –  
It is what it is. Period. Excitement, disappointment, being nervous before a race or bursting out in tears as you cross the finish line. It’s yours. Own it. Share it. That’s one of the special things about M.A.D. , there’s plenty of room for this kind of stuff.

Involved: –
It’s not just about pitching, racing and training, and then buggering off again. It’s being involved with those around you while your journey meets even if it is only for a short while. Living intentionally and making an impact on those you rub shoulders with.

It came out of nowhere and was a total ‘on the spur of the moment’ thing. Without even knowing it that ‘familiar face’ made a comment that turned my gut inside-out. After all, tri is about gut wrenching stuff, isn’t it?

Driving back with heavy legs and a fulfilled heart it is hard not to reflect on a beautiful day with so many collective experiences and opportunities in one go. To realise once again you are part of a unique crowd that supports and encourages while you tri hard each day…now that is a privilege!


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