Owning The Ride

So in typical fashion I’ve been thinking a lot about the racing this past weekend in Gloucester. I’ve looked at the results. I’ve even looked on crossresults.com to see my rating and percentages… I’ve been thinking about both days of racing – trying to figure it all out.

It would be easy to make excuses. To sugar coat my two days of racing by emphasizing the lessons I’ve learned and telling myself that it is early in the season. But now is not the time for this. Nope – I have to step up and “own these rides”. To put it bluntly – I had two sub-par days of racing. There are no excuses. No reasons. No anything. I just simply didn’t ride to my potential.

This is a hard thing to admit. But it is the truth. I should have been better and I wasn’t. I can list all the things that I did wrong and not to my best – but the list is long and really, I’ve rehashed these races so many times that I know what worked and didn’t. But really, it was the same things that get me every time – only difference being the two courses at Gloucester left me no room to hide and recover from these mistakes.

So what do I do now? Well, I’m not down in the dumps about this. Nope – I’m just darn frustrated with myself. I let myself down. I let Marc down. I could have done better and I didn’t. Saturday was not a good day but I did make a lot of mistakes from my race preparation right down to how and when I dismounted my bike at the barriers – so I resolved on Saturday evening that this would not happen again on Sunday. Well, my race preparation was spot on but the rest of it was a repeat from Sunday.

Now I just need to get down to business and fix what I can fix. My strength, power and fitness are really good right now. In fact some of my numbers are better than they were the year I qualified for and raced at the World Championships. It is the small things that are getting me: poor starts, not accelerating up and over things fast enough, using the front brake, looking down instead of forward, taking some corners too wide and others too tight, not being aggressive enough, not committing to the running to really give it my all, and just generally letting small details get the better of me.

Frustrating yes. Fixable yes. I can improve my technique. I can nail the starts. I can really commit myself to running as hard as I can. I can focus on what I can fix and get down to business. I needed Gloucester. It reminded me that there is a really big ocean out there and I’m but a small fish. It is nice to be a big fish in a small pond but this is not what I’m all about.

(For those of you wanting some interesting analysis and perspective on the upcoming season of European cyclocross, check out this post on Podium Cafe. I found the viewpoint on Zolder rather interesting – I wonder if the author has had to descend the “big steep descent” when the sand is frozen solid and is a series of wheel-grabbing ruts?)

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