Boy oh boy did I ever need that ride today. By the time I got home from my last day in cubicle land I was feeling sluggish, tired and worked up about stuff. Not a good combination. I dawdled a bit in the house and then finally got my act together to go for a ride. Talking with Marc before heading out reminded me to take a deep breath and let things go.
On the agenda today: start intervals. If you’re a regular reader of my site then you know my love-hate relationship with starts. My ‘cross starts need to improve. So I had to get down to business and work on them. Well, I had a great work-out. No, let me rephrase that – fantastic work-out. Hopped on my trusty Stevens Super Prestige and rolled on over to the trails off of Woodroffe for some training.
We have a little “race course” that is the perfect length to get in some hard fast efforts. I warmed up by exploring the web of trails and then hit up the “race course”. Then it was time to work in the start intervals. I tried to simulate the race start as best I could: watch set to a 30 second count down and then hit it on a stretch of pavement before making a sharp left into a ditch and then drilling it through a stretch of sand popping out onto some deep grass and sprinting to a narrow opening into the woods. I mixed this section into my ride and got in five excellent start intervals combined with a bunch of other mini-burst through out while riding through the woods.
Definitely what I needed to put me in a good frame of mind. It was just me, the woods, the fall leaves and the odd dog walker. Perfect. Before I knew it, my ride was over and the sun was getting a bit low. Time to roll home. I’m not sure what was the best component of this ride – the physical efforts, the confidence boost of riding hard and fast on technical terrain, or the mental clarity it provided. Really can’t ask for much more out of a ride.
Had a great talk with my coach Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching. He has really prepared me well for this next block of racing in Europe. I mentioned this to Steve but it is worth stating here, that it helps so much to know that I’m well trained and prepared. This helps me get through the days when things feel like they’re not coming together. At the very least, I know I’m lining up for each and every race ready to race at my best.
As I progress on this bike racing journey, I’m really starting to appreciate how important the mental aspect is. Confidence is huge. It helps me get through the little hiccups that come along the way. When confidence is at its peak, I really think it gives athletes the ability to “roll with things” in the truest sense. Little things that can happen on race day become so minor because I know that whatever happens, I’m physically and mentally ready to race.
I’m feeling a wide range of emotions today. (As if you couldn’t guess from the rambling nature of this post!) I can’t believe that as of today, I’m able to devote myself full-time to bike racing. This is crazy. This is huge. I’m so proud that I can do this. Yes, I’m proud of myself. I’ve come along way this past year. Battled a lot of obstacles. But through it all I’ve come out a better bike race and a better person. Now the reward is to live a dream and fulfill a goal.
I’m so ready for this. Can’t wait to get to Belgium and get going. Life is good. Pinch me.