Friday, September 17, 2010

Not Dead Yet....

Yes, dear blog, I've been away for a long time. But I have not forgotten you. Its just, well, I've been distracted for a few months, by training, and racing, and being injured, and getting over a chronic injury, and starting to train/race/recover again.

A few things I've re-learned along the way:

Training is not racing. No matter how hard the group ride or the intervals, they are not like a race. There is not the same level of effort, fear, or thrill as in a hard race.

Racing is not training. Maybe for the pro's it can be, but there are too few chances to race, and too many guys trying to smack me down to treat any race as just a training event. If I am going to suit up for a race, than I better come prepared to give it a wee bit more than group ride.

The most important race to win, is the one between your ears. The old maxim "I am my own worst enemy" is true for racing bikes as well. We all can underperform when we think "I can't", whether it is closing a gap, positioning for a sprint, or climbing a hill. We also wreck our chances at peak performance by failing to sleep enough, eat the right food, stay hydrated, or get to the race fully equiped. Daily focus and good habits help race day performance. The most stunning fact I've learned this week is that mental stress can lower hematocrit levels! So just by being an anxious stressed out mess, I am reducing my blood values and thereby ability to perform.

The converse is true too, the more mentally & emotionally together I can become, the better I will train, the better I will race. It takes more than just having your head in the game, its keeping it together as much as you can, every day. Racing is not like life, it is life. It is not all of my life, but it is an intregal day in day out part of my life, like it is for all racers.

Fortunately, we all have been taught how to win the race between our ears since kindergarten:
Just keep turning over the wheels, you'll get to the top faster than you imagine.

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