(I had planned to write and post this earlier in the week but I ran short of time. Truthfully, I was sucked into a Netflix addiction – watching one too many episodes of Drop Dead Diva… But better late than never – right?)
So, you’ve likely got a few cyclo-cross races under your belt now. You’ve got your pre-race routine sorted out and have your new bikes set-up just the way you like them. Really, the details of racing cyclo-cross are coming together nicely for you: you’ve got your new skinsuits, the bikes are dialed in, your tires are glued on, you’ve got your cleats set up the way you like them, and your dismount/mount technique is smooth and fast.
In fact, now you’re kind of getting “into” racing and feeling like you want to do more than “get out there and have fun” – instead you’re looking at crossresults.com and checking pre-registration lists. You’re thinking about past races and where you could have attacked, started better, taken that downhill corner with more speed, or maybe ridden the outside line instead of the inside line. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing – you’re getting more out of racing than you had anticipated and a little fire has been lit inside of you – driving you to want to better each race. This is great.
But there is a catch with this… Don’t ruminate about your past races too much. Don’t over-analyze your races too much. Don’t get too “focused”. Yes, it is good to think about your races and analyze what you could have done differently or better. But remember the race last Saturday is “the race last Saturday”. In other words – it happened – you can’t have a do-over. You raced – you learned a lot, you had fun, you’re motivated to improve – but don’t let it take over.
Yes, you want to improve and get better results – but remember you’re still doing this for fun. There is a fine line between fun and not fun. Do you ever wonder how some people have raced for so many years – they keep coming out, having fun, maybe improving a little bit every season – these are the folks who have discovered the secret to racing – perspective and balance. They want to get better and they want to first to the line just like you – but they remember what got them out to that first cyclo-cross race years ago.
Don’t forget what got out you there that first time… This will take you farther than you realize.