The weekend in Rochester, NY was a good one. The racing was good. Some high moments and some low moments – but this is what happens over the duration of a weekend of racing.
Saturday was a good day on the race course. I briefly held onto a podium spot but slipped back into fourth. Some fatigue-induced errors in the last lap solidified this finish position. I was happy with how I rode and felt like I really did leave it out there.
Sunday I was stressed to the max. This was not good. I raced tight and lacked the pop I had on Saturday. I don’t even know how I finished and I don’t need to know. I put myself in a bad spot and then had to claw my way out of it. I pushed hard and even laid down some of my fastest lap times of the weekend, but when the front of the race is gone – it’s gone.
I’m glad this happened. I needed this to happen. Anxiety is a real thing for me. Learning to manage it is a daily effort. Throw a cyclocross race or two into the mix and well the anxiety level gets a bit out of control. And this is exactly what happened last weekend in Rochester.
The anxiety started gathering steam on Saturday afternoon and by Sunday morning it was a freight train out of control. I knew it was happening and really couldn’t get it to stop. On the start line I wanted to vomit. Yes, it was bad.
I need to break this and stop it now. Anxiety is not fun. Race anxiety when I’m trying to have fun and race my bike is not fun. I’ve raced in the “not fun” mode in the past and I don’t want to do it again.
Yes, I’m back racing. It’s great to be back. But I have to remember that I’m not chasing UCI points or lining up at the biggest races on the ‘cross calendar. I’m not even on the comeback path. Nope, I’m back racing for fun.
Yes, I train hard and I’m serious about my training. But you know how this is. This approach builds confidence and frankly makes it easier to achieve racing goals. And that’s all these are – race goals. They are not indicators of how I am as a person or a bike racer or an athlete – these goals are just goals and nothing more.
Lining up, racing hard, having some hard battles on the course, making small improvements during the race, and standing around talking about the race for at least 90 minutes afterwards is what it’s all about.
The real goal is in remembering this. I do this for fun. Not to make myself so nervous and wound up that I want to vomit. Done that, bought the t-shirt, and I know how it turns out.
So thanks Rochester. You were good to me. You were tough on me. Just what I needed.
Really the best parts of the weekend all came down to people. Seeing Marc race. Talking about the race course with our friends. Catching up with old cyclocross friends who we haven’t seen in a really long time. Watching the elite races and cheering on the racers. All of it was pretty darn special.
Yes, it’s good to be back.