Last September, I was lucky enough to take part in one of the fabulous bike races that Haute Route offers around the world, the Dolomites 2017.
This seven-day race, masterfully organised as always, took place in the extraordinary Dolomites region, which every cyclist or tourist should visit at least once in their life. The landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful, and we had everything we needed for a wonderful week.
This year’s race took place between Innsbruck and Venice, totalling 850 km / +21,000 m. The weather forecast wasn’t very good, and we were expecting to suffer a little (21,000 m is the altitude difference that a cycling enthusiast averages in one year).
People who don’t take part in any sports and who like their home comforts might think that we were completely crazy. Someone who does sport occasionally, and is therefore in a better position to understand what this seven-day event represents, might also think we were a bit mad.
Had my four teammates and I lost our minds alongside the other 350 participants? No, quite the opposite! We were there because it’s moments like this that allow you to feel truly alive.
This is real life! The life that we, the civilized and often hyper-urbanised people of the 21st century, have lost. A way of really using our most precious possession, the one that some people have almost forgotten that we possess: our bodies. In my book I advise you not to forget this essential element of happiness: “Go out, live, run, dive, play, roll in the grass and even eat some if you want. That is where life truly happens. Rediscover the little child that runs through the fields until they fall over; above all, forget about knowing the names of the flowers, the weather, the time and worrying about being ridiculed. Forget everything else; you are that little child, a tiger or Tarzan. Become anything you want, except that excessively intellectual being that you are normally.”
But did we suffer during that intensive week? After all, an undertaking like that is no walk in the park. Actually, no! My beloved teammates and I didn’t suffer at all and, to judge by their smiles, neither did the other competitors. It was all about pleasure and happiness, even during the terrible weather conditions we encountered. In the evening we allowed ourselves to eat like horses and enjoy some good bottles of wine. It must be said that my fellow travellers cultivated a positive attitude with as much vigour as many people seem to cultivate a negative one. If you have read my book, you will have realised that this is one of the many values I promote.
I did not suffer during this race—in fact, I got a lot of pleasure from it—because throughout my life I have applied the range of tools that I suggest in my book. These techniques allow even race days to become days of pure pleasure. The method is exactly the same for all areas of your life: simply get into the habit of using the right tools, at your own pace, and then just live, joyfully and successfully. You too, can enter a world of happiness and success!