Hard work does not great success make; Putting in the extra effort towards a goal is just a way of trying to sway the odds on a gamble you are about to make. When it comes to training for physical endeavors, such as racing downhill mountain bikes, it is all just about better preparing oneself for being able to adapt to unknown variable in a more constructive manner. After methodically preparing the bike and the rest of the race gear, there are still many variables to account for, namely, weather, changes in the track from use, and that “X-Factor” that is Racing – when that timer counts down, all bets are off and it becomes a game of chicken between mind and body.
This weekend at a test event for the upcoming American round of the World Cup, I had addressed as many of the variables as possible, and it all came down to the final act of the weekend: pedaling out of the gate and setting out on my race run. All in all, it was a great run. I was not a passenger, I put forth greater effort than in practice, and my internal game of chicken was going well. I managed to finish my run, which is always the goal, but the one issue I encountered halted my hopes of having a competitive time; a flat tire. What a royal bummer. Crashing sucks, riding like a little bitch sucks, but mechanicals are just about the lamest way to lose a race…my tire deflated and I lost – lame as fuck. It’s like having the condom break; all that lead up and effort, just to be let down by a rubber tube.
|Chasing the rabbit in practice.|
Thankfully, the silver lining to the weekend was beautiful weather, a manly track, and some seriously fun riding. But, the “what if” factor is always a hard pill to swallow, and mulling over the run and incident never amounts to answers or a wholesome feeling. You just have to take it, chalk it up to, “That’s racing”, and get back to prepping for the next event. These are the growing pains of going pro – mistakes no longer just make for a longer race tale, they make for a much, much lower down
number on the results sheet and a downcast post-race, goggle-hidden face. Racing is about resilience. This is just another feather in the cap for experience, and there is probably a lesson to be learned in there somewhere. So, time to patch that tube, and get back out on the hill to stay sharp, and keep the intensity up for the next round.