Live in the moment. This simple concept is something that I have been working on all season, and honestly, probably most of my life. A moment is so difficult to capture. A moment is fleeting and changes in an instant, however, I’ve learned that often times the key to racing is to separate out each moment.
This mindset starts before getting to the start line. I must focus only on things that I can control and refuse to fixate on futurist thoughts. The what-ifs seem to have no place in my mind on race day. Of course, we all plan ahead. We all know what to do if we get a flat, miss our pedal, or any other unfortunate event. I would also like to think that we all know what to do when the best happens: we make the pack, get a gap, or lead the race. These plans though, should not be the focus of one’s mind on the start. The visualization has been done. The moment is now happening.
So what does it mean to live in the moment? It means that each movement becomes simple. The thought, ‘can I hold this pace’ has no place on race day. One pedal stroke at a time is the formula to a successful race, season, and career. For some reason, we can always do one more.
This past weekend at the Windham Pro XCT I felt myself let go in the race and race in the moment. For that reason, it was a smooth race. There are no dramatized events to elaborate over….and sometimes that in itself is great.
When I started the race, I came around the start loop a bit behind, but my mind was focused on that moment. In that moment, the only focus was to move forward. I began to make passes and move around people that were quickly being shed from the pace. I found myself only 5 seconds behind the lead group. I was dangling. I felt like someone dying of thirst with a bottle of water just barely at my fingertips. I was not able to make contact, but I remained in the moment. I focused on moving forward, on keeping the pace. I continued to move up throughout the race. I didn’t even know what place I was in, and it didn’t matter, because I couldn’t change it in the moment. The only thing I could do was focus on catching the person directly in front of me. When I crossed the finish line, I was so pleased to find out that I had ridden in the moment to an 8th place finish in an HC Pro XCT event!
So this is quite the simple post from me, but please do not confuse simplicity of post with simplicity of concept. Living in the moment is incredibly challenging to do in today’s society. When we plan ahead, we often forget that we then possess the ability to control each moment. Each moment, containing a thousand possibilities of outcome.
About a week ago, I found out that I was selected to represent the United States of America at the World Championship XC Race in Australia. This is a huge honor and I am over the moon about the opportunity. So, this being said, I have 22 days to capitalize on every moment. From now until I cross the finish line, there is one question I will ask myself, “Am I doing everything I can right NOW to be the best I can be on race day?”