Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Moment

This is it.  I've been thinking about this race since August 22, 2010 a few short minutes after I finished.  

And yet somehow I'm finding ways to undermine my own progress .  It's as if I'm uncomfortable with the idea of really rolling the dice to see what I can do.  To be clear, I've never won a bike race.  I don't think I've ever actually won any athletic competition now that I think about it. 

Winning isn't the point for me.  When I fixate on it, I get too nervous and self destruct, yet without the desire to win it's tough to succeed.  For me thinking about winning means I just auger myself into the ground.  The journey is the part I enjoy- the training, the improving fitness, the ability to see my improvement and just the simple act of being outdoors for extended periods of time.  The competition itself is almost secondary.

About a year ago I started taking yoga classes once a week.  My flexibility is pretty bad, and I'm not good about stretching on my own or doing any sort of "core work," so when I had the opportunity to take a class I jumped at it.  I was really looking to relax a little bit and spend some time focusing on recovery. 

There's an interesting concept in yoga that translates into victory over the mind, and it's essentially using your body to get your mind to chill the fuck out.  I've had a couple bad crashes this year, and one of the underlying commonalities is that I was not 100% focused on what I was doing at that moment, and it cost me.  It's easy for me to out think myself, and when riding in the woods it's about split second reactions, not conscious control of every movement. 

More than anything it's about relaxing and paying attention, or being in the moment.  Today as I clean my bike and pack my bags, tomorrow as I load the car and drive to the venue, and Sunday as I line up and put forth my best effort on the course I will try to stay in the moment.

That's my goal for Sunday, and if I do that I'll have my best race possible.  Really that's all I can ask for. 

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