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Letting Go Of Control

This is a highlights reel of Stage 12 of the current Vuelta - the 3 week cyclng tour of Spain from a week or two ago. The clip shows Kaden Groves and his team having ridden the perfect race. They have protected Groves - the best sprinter on the stage and with less than a kilometer to go are perfectly placed to watch all the other teams and allow Groves to sit on the wheel of anyone who tries to go early to hopefully break Groves.

In the last half kilometre a rider does just that and Groves team move out to counter and move their rider into place but a rider from another team in a freak moment slows and blocks Groves in, momentarily seperating him his team and the rider making a move is gone. Groves, perhaps in panic, slips his pedals trying to get and loses more vital time. Despite it being the faster sprinter he cannot make up the lost ground though he comes incredibly close. He slams his bike in frustration as he crosses the line.

For 150km the team rode the perfect race right until the moment in the 151st kilometre of a 151 kilometre race when all that went before counts for nothing. A freaky combination of events destroyed everything that went before. He was furious.

For me the lesson is we can only plan so far. We can only control so much and if we put too much store in those perfect plans we risk suffering when the universe chooses (or a very tired cycist) intervenes. I think of course we all need to plan but its about holding those plans lightly, accepting we are never fully in control and being able to either change plans fuidly if necessary or accepting that sometimes things happen for no obvious reason despite all our planning.

After all Groves and his team had to be back on their bikes the next morning, ready to invest in another plan. Holding onto the frustration and a sense of injustice about the failure of yesterdays plan would be no help with this. Sometimes things don't work out and the best we can do in those moments is accept it and move gracefully forward in the hope for better luck to reward our hard work.

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