Number One Rule: Don’t Panic
This rule got me through a lot of bike races. Whenever I would feel myself panicking, over-thinking, or riding on the front of the field when I didn’t need to be there, I’d hear both Marc and Glen in my head saying “Number one rule: don’t panic”.
When traveling to cyclocross races in Europe and my bags were lost or when I struggled to put my bikes together in a jet lagged fog or when I got a flat tire on my rental car or when I felt the pressure creeping up – the number one rule was there for me.
I’ve recently discovered that the number one rule is about so much more than bike racing. The number one rule works for regular old life as well.
I’m trying to teach Calvin the cat (we got a cat) the number one rule. Calvin is a skittish cat who twitches at a sneeze, a deep breath in or a creaking chair. We’re trying to teach Calvin that he’s safe here and there’s no need to panic.
Thanks to ulcerative colitis I get frequent daily reminders of rule number one. When I’m trying to get my cycling jersey off as fast as possible so I can get those darn bib shorts down – don’t panic. When I’m stretched out on a hospital bed waiting for a flexible sigmoid exam (as invasive and unpleasant as it sounds) – don’t panic. When I’m wondering if it’s safe to eat before getting in the car to drive to work – don’t panic. When I find out that there’s a strong chance that my medication is no longer working – don’t panic.
Really, in all life situations, panicking is the worst thing we can do. Don’t panic during a bike race – you’ll end up wasting valuable energy and becoming frustrated. Don’t panic when you can’t get the headset tightened properly on your cyclocross bike. Don’t panic when you have to go but there isn’t a bathroom in sight. Don’t panic, it will all work out eventually.
Number two rule: take it all in and enjoy the good stuff. (Easier to do when following rule number one: don’t panic.)