17 July 2013 | Misc
What the heck happened? A mid-season update.
Yes, it’s been longer than usual since a race report has graced this website. This is partly due to the fact that I got bored writing the same race report over and over. It went something like this: I felt bad the whole time; I felt mentally drained at the beginning of the race…all the way to end of the race; I wasn’t racing- I was finishing; I was frustrated that my races didn’t seem to reflective of all my hard work in training (which had been going well). Part of my reticence to write a race report was due to the fact that I was hoping to have some kind of perspective, for things to turn around and me to be able to say “see, it all ended up working out!” But all of a sudden the season is half-over, I haven’t raced in 5 weeks, and I only have 5 mountain bike races left this season, so perspective or no- here’s an update.
After a good race at Sea Otter (where I lacked fitness but raced well), I had crappy races at Whiskey 50, World Cup #1, World Cup #2, Teva Games and World Cup #3. When I look back at my races individually, I can see that there were always good reasons why I didn’t feel good. First off, after a hugely stressful and amazing 2012 season full of incredible ups and downs, I headed straight into cyclocross season, raced a full schedule including the Cyclocross World Championships in early February. Oh yeah, and Dusty and I bought, remodeled and moved into a new house. By the end of ‘cross season I was cracked. REALLY cracked. I was naïve enough to think that a mere 3 weeks off would be enough time for me to bounce back to my “normal” self.
I continued to skimp on recovery in an attempt to get back to race fitness as quickly as possible. Add to that a bad crash in training that left me with a couple cracked/bruised ribs. Add to that a bad bout of jetlag. Add to that…yeah, I can keep going with the reasons, but I don’t want to. Because at a certain point, you feel like you are just making excuses. Doubt creeps in. You know that there are perfectly valid reasons why you didn’t have a good race, but when you are going through the reasons race after race you start to think, “Can this really be a case of 5 separate crappy races or is there a pattern here? Maybe something is really wrong. Maybe I just don’t have the same competitive drive. Maybe I’ve gotten crazier than usual and it’s affecting my racing. Maybe I’m not resting enough. Maybe I’m resting too much. Maybe I’m too fat. Maybe I’m too negative. Maybe…” You start to question everything. And even though you’ve weathered rough patches in the past, you think that maybe this time it’s different. Your confidence dwindles and that DEFINITELY doesn’t help you race faster. You don’t look forward to races, you dread them. Everything piles on, and it’s tempting to just throw your hands up.
Gosh, this is all sounding very dramatic. And if it was someone else I’d tell them, “Gosh, this is all sounding very dramatic…Relax! It will sort itself out. Trust in the process that has worked in the past.” But it’s not someone else. It’s me. And maybe this time it’s different.
I haven’t raced in 5 weeks; I’ve been home. My training has been going well, I’ve gotten to explore amazing trails in some beautiful new places, I’ve been able to work in my garden, experiment in the kitchen, just hang out in the back yard with my chickens and be part of the support team for my husband when he raced his motorcycle up Pike’s Peak during the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb. Sure, I have missed competing in some of my favorite races (like Windham and the Subaru Cup) but this time at home has been an important chance for me to regroup and refocus on the second half of the season.
So now I’ve had a month at home. Was it enough? I don’t know. I’ve had time to reflect on my less-than-stellar races and look ahead to the races that are coming up, and while I’m sure I don’t have everything all figured out, I am OK with that. And I am optimistic. I am heading to the US National Championships ready to race hard and hopefully feel good. I’m not positive of how my next races are going to go, but I am positive that I will get through this rough patch, be stronger, and know myself better for it. I’m trusting in the process.