Last weekend couldn't have been any better.
I am still reliving its highlights and am stoked about the progression I've made on the bike. Focusing on something 100% really does make a difference and eliminating distractions really helps performance. Setting yourself up for success can take a while - mainly because we are constantly bombarded by daily distractions and big picture hurdles but if you will it - you can do it. And those emotions and positive energy will in turn come back to you.
Take racing as the easiest metaphor. So much of what you do both on and off the bike translates to pushing your body through space and time. If your energy is directed at something else - you risk losing your focus and having sub par performances. You struggle with why things aren't going as well - but have you considered it's because other things in your life aren't as smooth as they could be? Are you having a hard time accepting something at work, in a relationship or finding the balance between work and play? How about taking a moment, thinking about what is taking up some of your energy and figuring out positive ways to make the most out of the situation. When you achieve this harmony it translates into harmony in everything you do, including time spent on the bike.
This very notion came to fruition this past weekend. Since January I've been working on pairing my workout schedule with whole some foods and carbs at the right time. I have been diligent about getting my recovery drinks in immediately after a session and fueling up shortly thereafter. Slowly, but surely the weight has crept off. But more importantly my performance continues to get stronger. As diligent as I have been about getting every last second of VO2 max efforts I can out of my body, I immediately fuel it with home cooked meals.
Earlier in the season I mentioned to Jennie I had my sights on IVRR. I put this race on the schedule because I've done poorly at it in the past and was ready to give it a go. There were doubts in my head from previous experiences - mainly because up until this point I didn't consider myself a climber. So she put the race as "optional" on my calendar. But we still keyed up for it. I climbed lots of hills - digging deep into my reservoirs and building up my weaponry. Then when several teammates signed up - I figured I'd be in great company and really get to test my legs and fitness.
The group hit the hill the first time up - and after the descent, I looked back and noticed we had a solid break of 9 - including 6 HB girls. We had destroyed the field on the first climb! The second hill came - and what I remembered in my head as being the bigger of the two climbs was actually much smaller! I knew right then and there that it was on and game time. I started telling myself, "you can win this. You will win this. You are strong, focused and determined." The miles started cruising by. We attacked those poor girls that were with us relentlessly. Wheeler the incredible solo-break artist had already launched at this point - so we set up for the small field sprint. By a selfless lead out from Kathi and Beth - the win was perfectly timed and only Morgan tried for contention. I wanted to pull over and cry out of excitement. I couldn't believe how awesome that feeling is - partly of winning but mainly out of hitting a major milestone in my cycling ability. Pushing through pain caves, attacking them when they try to tell your body to stop - pushing your body to the limit and celebrating that success. This probably only makes sense if you've experienced it yourself. But for me it's something I strive for every time I'm on the bike. And why not go for it? You've got nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.
I love this sport.