As I went into the barrier at the ditch for the last time I had just closed the gap on a rider in front of me, I didn't know who he was, but I knew he had gotten away from me early in the race. I was spent, exhausted, and feeling empty. I had used the last lap to try and get away from 2 or 3 riders I had been battling with most of the race. I had left them behind and now found myself with a new person to chase. My inner monologue went something like this...
well, I got this far, I don't need to pass this guy, he was going faster than me to begin with, I should be happy to have caught him, I should just ride his wheel and stay away from those chasers, I don't have the energy to pass this guy anyways, just stay away from those chasers, just finish, one last climb.
But when I got to the climb the cheers and encouragement snapped me out of it..."Pass that guy" I heard a familiar voice yell "Get him on the hill" yelled another...And just like that the monologue changed.
You know what, pretend that this is the difference between top ten and eleven, you are climbing this hill for a point, make this the race, you have 30 seconds of pain left, do it.
And so when the second little rise came, I pulled around and dug deep into the final corner in the lead and held it to the line. I didn't know where I was in the race, it didn't matter to me, this moment was my race. Indeed, it was the difference though and I ended up slotting into 18th place and snagging 1 little point. How bummed I would have been to have been that close and not tried. What if I had just sat in?
This is what racing is all about for me, playing the mental games, pushing through when it's easier to tell yourself that you are done. I don't usually know where I stand in the race, I just try and make every pass a battle and a race. There was a NYtimes article just today that recounts what makes some elite athletes successful...so much of it is mental. I have to work on my inner monologue, it's just as important as any interval workout or tough training ride.
What a beautiful day riding around in the sun. It was a challenging course and the crusades as always are such an amazing spectacle to behold. Pulling up to the course and seeing the pasture full of tents, bikes, racers, kids, spectators, and everything else is like showing up to a party with all the people you really want to see.
Great races by all, Mike stuck it to the top ten, D was mixing it up at the front, and Serena mashed her way to the podium.
This weekend I am on the road...errr air for a little trip back to Maine to jump in a couple races. I have told myself from the begining it's not a point hunt as I have no illusions about how hard it is to get in the top ten no matter where you race. I am just super excited to be racing back east at a new venue and to see some family and show em what's up. Regardless of the outcome you can be sure I am gonna go all out and represent!