After every race, I like to sit back, reflect and learn from what happened. It keeps your ego in check and allows you to rejuvenate your passion for sport. It's part of the process of being an athlete - learning to live with all of the various outcomes of competition and fueling the fire for the next attempt. I believe if you truly love your sport - you'll work your weaknesses, continue to grow your strengths and keep an open mind to trying new things.
Crits put a big fat smile on my face. The acceleration of speed coming out of corners, the sprinting, the positioning, red lining for an extended period of time. After I'm finished, regardless of outcome, I'm giddy like a school girl and pumped full of adrenaline. More than anything it reminds me how much fun racing is and gets back to the basics of why I race my bike. I can honestly say I've enjoyed every single crit I've been in.
Descents - I love gravity. Maybe it's my yearning for speed but I LOVE going fast and downhill through technical sections. Sticking to Miranda's wheel this weekend on the descents reminded me how fun it is again - and made all of the pain and exhaustion of climbing worth it. Experiencing it with someone else as you whisk down twisty, gravel covered roads at 45 mph is fantastic. Risk? What risk? The only risk I saw at the moment was not going that fast. :)
Time Trials - a true test at your ability to propel yourself forward. Making your chest feel like it was bleeding while your legs continue to pound out watts and pushing through the pain. Knowing it'll be over in a few moments and to just keep on going and giving it everything you've got. Talk about a natural high when you're finished and the rush of endorphins up to 10 minutes after your done. Full concentration coming into a corner, on the straight aways - working on getting the job done as quickly as possible. Pure bliss. (I know, crazy eh?)
Climbing - yep, you heard it here first. Sustaining high steady watts will ascending a mountain - which continues to twist up and out of sight. A true test to see how willing you are to push your body beyond what it reasons as finished. The mere accomplishment of cresting a hill and realizing you have just hauled you, bike, and your ego up a mountain. What goes up must come down. :)
I can't wait to race my bike again this weekend....