Every time I stand on the start line of a Pro XCT race, I not only learn more about the sport, but about myself.
This 2 week trip started in Fontana, California for the C3 Pro XCT and I was determined. I worked so hard all off season watching my numbers rise and visualizing those numbers turning into results. The power is there and before I even began the race I was reminded that racing is not just about power, but also about execution.
As I stood in the call-up area waiting for my 10th call up…waiting…and waiting…and waiting…I finally realized they missed my number. I confirmed with the official, and rolled up last row. I felt a fire inside of me, burning to get to the front and to make up for my lost start position. I went hard from the line pushing to make it up to the front. Firecrackers often burn out quickly. Burning matches trying to make up ground, I found myself burning oil when it came to the true moment to attack. I felt confused as to why after months of training at my abilities; I was suddenly racing beneath them. Not giving up, I plugged along, wondering what I would discover went wrong. Finally, the last lap, accepting my fate and giving up my expectations, I was released. I began to race like myself again, shedding minutes from the gap that had once formed. I came to realize my 14th place finish was nothing more than paralysis by analysis.
I spent the week with the team, trading stories, eating great food, taking photos, and of course, rapping. Spending a week with some of the world’s best mountain bikers begins to put things into perspective and helped remind me not to take life too seriously. The best racers in the world know how to smile on the start line.
So…at the Bonelli HC race, I did just that. I laughed on the start line. I smiled and surrounded myself with good vibes. When the gun went off, the front came easily; I was riding in the front group and felt relaxed. I spend a couple laps riding in the front group before being forced to lag back and make my own pace. The difference was, I was racing. I was letting my legs spin instead of the wheels in my head. I felt good. I finished 17th in the HC race. (For those that don’t know the ranking goes C3, C2, C1, HC, World Cup). That means this race was 3 rankings higher (more competitive) than the one the week before. I know I still had more in my legs, though. Sometimes it takes a few races to get the cobwebs off: it’s still early.
On Sunday, we lined up for the short track event. A team of 7 should certainly have a strategy. About 7 minutes into the race I attacked hard off the front of the pack, drastically increasing the intensity of the race. A small group countered and a few of my teammates made the small front group. I settled in with the rest of my teammates in the 2nd pack. It was an incredible feeling to race as a team and work together with a common goal. The constant thinking kept my mind busy and allowed my legs to do the work. I will call this success not distress. In what would ultimately be a sprint to the finish, I finished 11th once again improving my position. Only 3 seconds separated 6th place by 12th place!!
The more pressure we take off the mind the more energy we put into the legs. I am thankful to have God with me to take the burdens off of my mind and to count on Him for the strength in my legs.
Up next: Sea Otter!!