Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What you can learn... off the bike

There's two ways you can approach being relegated to the couch: Sulk about it and be silly enough to get back on when really you should let your body fully recover, or - seize the opportunity to make good use of rare downtime. Unfortunately I am a little bit sick and so have taken the last three days off to recover. With the extra time I now find I have, I've been doing some reflecting on what's been going on lately - on and off the bike.

Last weekend I raced at the Napier Mid-North Island Cup, with Gav, Jude and Shane. A great weekend away was had by us all, lots of laughs, great weather and a fun course to ride. Gav did very well placing 3rd in Open Men. Here's a pic he snapped at the end of his race:

For me, this race did not go well on the whole. I've identified what didn't go quite so well and have reflected on what I did do well and what I could have done better. I find it is beneficial to find the cause of why my performance didn't go quite as well as planned, so I can make sure to be better prepared in the future. It is also very good to listen to well-seasoned elite racers who notice the small details that someone who is learning the art of racing (like me!) would overlook. Racing, to me, is about bringing out the best in you - and your competitors. This best is always evolving, and I know that every race, your best has the potential to become even better.

My descents were fast and for the most part, mistake free during the race - this is a strength I like to focus on, as I am able to pick lines quite well and evaluate them as they change over the course of a race. One particular girl I played cat and mouse with for two laps was stronger than me on the climbs but a little more hesitant on the descents, so I knew on the final lap I could just hold her wheel on the hills, attack at the crest, and make time on the descent. This plan worked perfectly - and I overtook her on a tricky steep "A" line chute - she took the B line so I created about 10 seconds for myself where I descended and sprinted to the finish. In that respect, it can pay off sitting behind a competitor for a while so you can identify where you can exploit their potential weaknesses. It's not sinister - it's just racing.

I also managed to catch up with my young team-mate Frank Sutton, his Mum snapped some shots unbeknownst to us - which ended up on Facebook later in the weekend (like everything does!)

I'll leave you with my take on my top 5 of " 20 Things That MTB Teaches you about Life", sent to me from my good mate Tanya (cheers mate - see Emily has gone to Subaru-Gary Fisher??) , you can find the fullpost here:

19. Desperation breeds mistakes (Be patient, stick to your race plan, and trust your instincts)
18. The hardest parts are also the loneliest. (This is why mates don't come out on a 60min 110rpm Tempo session.)
10. It's tempting to focus on the immediate problem rather than the big picture. (A bad day of training is not a problem. Carrying it over to the next day is.)
6. The fun starts when you push the limits. (Training is an investment in how much fun you will have in the future.)
1. Love hurts. But don't let it stop you from falling in love. (MTB, training, racing, it can hurt in all sorts of different capacities. Get back up,learn from it and move on!)

And - a quote from my favourite MTB shoe brand - Louis Garneau

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, and never give up."