Does practice make perfect?

I have generally stayed as active as possible, enjoying the mountains and opportunities they provide for adventure.

My business life has, however, been such that some of those activities are taking a back seat. 

This year, I decided I would embarrass myself to return to programmed exercise by entering some races and seeing how badly I did.

For many people, that approach doesn’t work, but for me it can. So I decided I would try a mountain bike event in Kalso and an off-road triathlon in Canmore. 

Many years ago, my colleagues in the company I was working with decided to enter a run with a team. We called ourselves the Three Blisters Last Resort, which was a play on the name of the company, Three Sisters Resorts.

We talked about the legs in the event and I asked for a relatively easy one because I didn’t like running. Everybody obliged and then all the runners looked at me and asked what my training plan would be.

“What is a training plan?” I asked.

After the explanations from them I decided and argued that I would have a greater chance of showing up on the day if I did not train. 

As it happens, two or three of the team, came to my house during the “training period” to advise that they had sustained an injury and could no longer compete.

I ended up with a 13 kilometre leg and a tough uphill. 

This probably needs the warning in here “don’t try this at home - speak to a doctor or strength and conditioning coach first!”

I survived that event, so this year I thought I could survive the rest. To make it clear, I am not out of shape, I would be happy to do a 20km run although I would perhaps be a little slow. 

The mountain bike race was, however, an unexpected bout of sustained heart-rate level. I didn’t have a mountain bike until just before the event and half way through the event, found out the front shock absorber could not hold air and so I did not have a from suspension - more of an extending leg on drops that collapsed on landing.

I survived and, in fact, I reached my goal. Not knowing how long it wold take me, I guessed at under two hours for a 20km ride and came in at one hour and 59 minutes.

I was baptized in the sport of mountain bike racing and loved it. 


Next on the calendar was an Xterra triathlon in Canmore. How tough could it be?

Quite tough.

I left a day early after making several phone calls to bike stores there to get my Canondale Lefty’s front shock fixed. There is no Canondale dealer in Canmore, but one store used to be a dealer and the nice lady on the phone said they could do it. 

However, after driving five hours to Canmore and dropping the bike of, I received an immediate call to pick it up again and was questioned how could I even think of dropping it off. They don’t do Canondales!

Oh, well, another event without front suspension. 

The Quarry in Canmore was understandably cool for the swim and then off to the Nordic centre on the bike. The climb out of the stadium was brutal and finally we get in to the high twisty stuff downhill that I enjoy.

I am perhaps stupid enough (since I hadn’t owned a mountain bike before) to follow people through the technical sections and this was where I made up for lost ground.

Where most people were walking down for some reason, I rode down, had a blast and made up about 10 places each time I did that section. 

Then the run!

That happened to be on a few black diamond mountain bike trails. By this time. I really was knackered. 

I swore I would never show anyone the finishing line photo where I look like I need a paramedic and I still won’t.

So today, how do I feel?

Well I haven’t started the programmed training, but I realized I still love to do this stuff so more plans for next year are in the works.

Will I train?

My body hopes so. but my head is trying to say I don’t have time and I am too old.

Let’s see who wins.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More A Focus on Saving Lives articles

About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for more than 40 years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business.

He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the U.K. in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories