Doing Some Thinking: (That's NEVER Good)
"I got enormous pleasure simply from riding a bike. So I guess racing was a reason for riding it more." -Eddy Merckx
That quote is what it's all about for me. I think I forgot about that during the last race. Started thinking about "placing" and "lap times" and WHERE I might finish. Ended up not finishing at all.
It's hard not to start thinking about those things. That is why it's called bike RACING, and the more races you do, the more you expect of yourself. You train hard all year and you want to see the results to feel like you weren't wasting you time.
There was a day when I was proud as hell just to say I FINISHED a race. It didn't matter whether it was 4th, 10th or 30th place. Sometimes you have to realize that when you do an event like a Solo 24. Just lining up for that first lap is a major accomplishment, turning out laps for 24 hours is another, and finishing, whether in 1st or last is the freaking balls!
In reality finishing a Solo 12, 24 or 100 mile mountain bike race is NOT something too many people do. WE may think TONS of folks have, but that's because we're in too deep. Surrounded by too many skinny, heart rate monitor wearing, funny tanned cyclist to realize that there are millions of American's that won't even walk down the block for a loaf of bread, let alone enter a race where they push their bodies to the absolute limit and most time it's not even for money! I've had great races, with some great memories and many times all I get is empty pockets, a good saddle sore and a free T-Shirt.
Take a look at race results from the UCI XC race at Mont Ste Anne last week and these random examples... Christoph Sauser finished in 2:00:29 and took 1st. Ryan Trebon finished on the same lap in 50th place 23:11 down, Nicholas Rano finished 5 laps down at an unknown time and Nick Waite DNFed.
What I'm trying to say is- everyone of those guys is a GREAT cyclist! I'm sure Nick Waite is disappointed with a DNF, but I'm also sure he knows that in racing "shit happens" whether it be mind, body or bike and there's always that chance that the next race HE might be up in the top 5 and Sauser might be crying in the tech zone for a new wheel. That's why I admire all those guys and gals (except the dopers of course. (*cough*, *cough* FILIP *cough*)
A few of us have had some tough races recently. I DNFed the HC24, Dicky DNFed in Michigan, Adam at the 12 Hours of Endurance, and even pro Jason Sager was "on the couch" lamenting what "it" was all about after DNFing at the NC NORBA XC.
Rich (Dicky) has already bounced back with a great race this past weekend, Sager is Sager and while I don't know him at all, he seems like he's having fun whether it's on the trail or roads via Vespa. I'm sure Adam will regroup, and comeback strong too. You can tell his desire to race and push himself in his writing and photos as well as the results and accomplishments he puts up (can you say KTR finisher???).
I've somehow alredy forgotten the sufferfest at the Hardcore 24 and now I'm focussed on the this coming weekend's 6 hour race. I feel refreshed and I'm ready to get back to my "ride hard, have fun and the results will come" philosophy. If they don't- hey I think I get free beer at this one!
Racing and training is a challenge whether you're a pro, expert or wannabe racer shlep like me. Just remember "the enormous pleasure you get simply from riding a bike"