I love this photo. It encapsulates everything I’ve been looking for this cyclocross season. That feeling of going very deep and asking my body to do more. That feeling after the race where I’m convinced I can’t pedal another stroke and I’m struggling to catch my breath. The memories and sensations that become locked in my body and heart after such a strong race. Feelings of happiness, success, relief, elation, fatigue, and the desperate need to do it all over again.
Admittedly, three weeks ago I was less than pleased with my start to the cyclocross season. After looking at my lap times I felt even worse. I thought about where I used to be and where I really had planned to be this year. It didn’t take long for me to get down on myself.
And then I went to cyclocross practice and helped a small group of women work on their cyclocross techniques. I felt their enthusiasm and excitement after having done the the first race of the season. Every week at these sessions my primary underlying goal with each drill is to build confidence. Confidence on and off the bike. Confidence that these women can race any course and handle any off-camber, descent, barrier, run-up, or other obstacle. The confidence to try something new and be ready for all outcomes.
Over years of racing I’ve learned how vital this confidence is. Trusting and believing in my abilities took me a long way. It helped me push back the voices that said I couldn’t achieve my goals. And this on-bike confidence has helped me so much in all other aspects of my life.
So, if I’m trying to get the women in my cyclocross clinics to gain and learn this confidence – why was I letting my confidence falter? Exactly…. time to hit the reset button and remember that I can race a bike. I can drive a bike around a course and I do know how to race. Sure, I don’t have the fitness I had “planned” on having and I’m not reaching the goals I had initially set out in January – but so what?
The key is to simply Just Do It. Get out and ride. Get out and race. Push my limits. Enjoy the moments and hold them close. At the end of it all, we’re grown ups riding around on bikes – no one is really paying any attention to our results and lap times.
Line up every Sunday and give it a go. Race hard. Accelerate out of the corners. Look forward. Keep pedaling. Dig deep. Trust in yourself. Have fun.