16 October 2008

Pros And Cons And A Hard Look At Racing

So I made a very hard decision over the last couple of days. Since Sunday I have VERY seriously been considering what I would do regarding this weekend. In case you never read this blog (ever), missed the last couple of days, or were living in a proverbial box the last few days; I am, of course, referring to the Cross My Heart And Hope To Die Willoughby Cyclocross Spectacular. I Rode out to the venue on Sunday and did one fairly solid lap around the course, and felt like someone had just kicked my butt. I took a bit of a ride after that, and went back to try to bang out another lap. The second time around I botched the heck out of it. A couple of bad starts, a bad dismount, a bad remount (missing a remount hurts like hell, by the way), and then realizing the flaw in having platforms on the mountain bike. All of these things just seemed to pile up and psych me out.

Sunday night I started preparing the story for Monday (I do them the night before, It's 10:00 pm on Wednesday for example) and I kept thinking about what I could do to prepare to race Saturday. I'm really not crazy about the idea of riding a cross race on a mountain bike, but I've seen it done. Heck, the women's winner last year was on a MTB. I thought about clipless pedals, I have them on the road bike (I don't want a debate on why SPD pedals shouldn't be on a road bike, OK?!); I could just pull the clipless off the road bike and throw them on the MTB! Yeah!, that would work! Oh, but I don't have a MTB shoe. Hmmm... OK, new problem.

Monday I couldn't focus all morning. I would work a bit, have a brilliant idea on how I could rock out at the race, and then come to a conclusion (read this as "punked out") on why it wouldn't be feasible. This continued, pretty much, all day Monday, and even resulted in cross dreams. Tuesday I got up, jumped in the shower, and was still thinking about it. At some point Tuesday morning I just knew it wasn't going to happen. I had dismissed the entire idea of doing the race.

With that said, I also started to feel bad. I started to analyze why I wasn't doing it. Did I punk out because I couldn't man up enough to bite the bullet and just do it? Did I have a rational reason, or set of reasons, for not doing the race. Was I too worried about my performance and ego to just do the race and have fun with it? I'll probably never know. What I do know is that this means that my first race will be, bare minimum, in 2009.

Bluenoser brought up a good point. His point was, "You'll know when you're ready to race Phun." So my question is this, how? When was it that you just knew you were ready to race?


Groover said...

I would disagree with Bluenoser. There is never a better time to start racing but NOW. It's not about getting ready to race. You only become better at racing by doing it. Experience is only gained by actually racing and experience is the only way to prepare you for racing ... So do it. Now. There will never be a better time to start. ... and don't forget to have fun! :-)

sprider said...

I did my first road race in June, my first mtb race last weekend, and will be doing my first cross race this weekend. I decided to try them all this year while I'm 49, so that next year I can throw-down on the 50+ groups! Don't wait, because you're missing a lot of fun.

td said...

there is not a good time to start racing. you will suck. you will fall down. you will finish. it will be fine. some people will finish ahead of you. you will finish ahead of some people.

the only way to get better at racing bicycles is to race bicycles. starting or not starting is merely a decision of whether or not you wish to race bicycles. it is a hard thing to know unless you try it.

Judi said...

Yea, what Groover and TD said. There is no "right" time. You just gotta do it. If I had a mntn bike, I'd race CX in a heartbeat. That shit looks so fun, even if you finish DFL. Just go for it. Do it this year Phun. You won't be sorry.

Bluenoser said...

To clairefy things. What I mean by (you will know when you are ready to race) is not about gear, or talent it's about being keen. I rode my first race against some really good guys with the best of gear some 38 years ago.

I had a crappy bike, a pair of running shoes on and a tee shirt. I may not have had the gear or all the training but I did know this... I was ready to race and not get dropped. That's what I mean by ready. Ready in your head.

BTW phun, Al and I are doing a x race this fall and we are both doing it on mountain bikes. If you think that is lame then think twice because Al once placed 20th in the US nationals. He thinks it's just fine to race on an MTB if that's all you have at the time.

But do wear shoes with good tread because it's not the riding that will get you it's going to be the running in the mud. It's not astro turf you're on there.

Oh yes I won my class in that race with the running shoes and the crappy bike.


Harp said...

Do the race. The first one is the hardest.