Competition provides the ultimate moment of truth. It will make it apparently clear if you've done everything within your control to align the planets: have you been doing your homework; completing preparatory efforts; making conscious decision regarding nutrition; resting and recovering; and training your weaknesses as well as sharpening your strengths.
The physical aspect of training and racing is only a fraction of the equation. I believe that mental training is just as, if not more, important then the heart-pounding, leg-busting efforts and that for as much time as you spend on the bike, you should be working on the brain too.
While rolling around Magnolia yesterday with Jennie, we talked about this very notion in great detail. I can't tell you how blessed I am to have her in my life - she is an incredible mentor, coach and friend.
One of the things we talked about are impressions people leave on you. She said she remembered riding around Magnolia in her first few years of sprinting with a hot dog sprinter back in the day, a guys second to Marty. (Wish I could remember his name!) What he said to her back then struck a cord - he told her that she had such an amazing ability that one day she will be world champion. He could tell back then even though she had just started. At the time she was bashful, unbelieving - yet that comment stuck with her through the years. And slowly over time, she started to believe it herself.
We both chuckled that sometimes the things other people say to you about your ability or strengths doesn't really sink in. You think they're just being kind or tooting your horn - but the reality? If you believe in yourself then anything is possible. And sometimes those comments resonate with more truth then you ever thought possible.