Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nothing Makes a Perfectly Acceptable Cyclocross Race Even More Acceptable Than Cracker Barrel

Do you see where I'm going with this?

I somehow forget to mention my cyclocross season kickoff in my plans for my week off. I guess that shows how excited I was. Anyway, I raced in then OVCX race in Louisville today and, of course, we went to eat at Cracker Barrel afterward. (This is not a violation of my no junk food policy, as that mainly applied to junk food consumed while sitting in front of the television. If I just finished a race, I'm wearing clothes besides my pajamas, and I have another human being with me then it makes it slightly more legit.)

Anyway, the race...

A few months ago when I was experimenting with my whole zen phase (I'm learning secular meditation works way better for me), I visited the Buddhist temple (?) down the street from our house. It was interesting and a little confusing, but one of the things I did take away was that their three mains sins (they used a less harsh word) were greed, anger, and delusion. Today I learned that avoiding these things is not only key to reaching nirvana, but also to having a satisfying cyclocross race.

Despite still be very sleepy and definitively un-pumped when we arrived at the venue, I knew I had to get out and do a proper warm-up if I didn't want to feel like complete doo doo during the race. Since 'cross is full-bore from the gun, it's pretty important to already have your lactic acid blockers running before you get to the starting line. Unfortunately, this means getting your lactic acid production running before you get to the starting line. This is a lot more difficult when you don't have competition prodding you to go fast yet.

However, today I had no problem getting my "juices" flowing on my warm-up, because the course was making me work pretty freaking hard just to cover ground. I ended up just riding two laps and it was enough, even without any intervals.

As I was rolling back in from my second lap, I was told by the official that they were moving our race from 11:00 to 12:00 and they were taking the one set of barriers out of the course. We were racing with the very young juniors and the promoters had decided the course was technical enough without a set of double barriers preceding a run-up hill. I feel like a wuss admitting this, but I didn't totally disagree with them.

ANGER. The consequence of the last minute schedule change was that my warm-up was all for not. There wasn't a whole lot to do, except go back to the car and wait, since there was another race going on and I hadn't brought a trainer. As I did this, the girl from a couple of cars over came back came back all worked up about the change. Of course, she looked way faster than me and maybe had more on the line, but I couldn't help thinking how mellow and basically un-like my former self I was compared to her. Win or lose, it's just a cat 3/4 race, anyway.

DELUSION. Much of this change in attitude comes from accepting that I'm bad at 'cross. This isn't self-deprecating low self esteem here; I just don't have much natural power. Last year, I took 'cross very seriously and I was repeatedly put in my place by first timers. Today, I showed up and I road well for me. I beat one person, as was my goal and I was very close to the girl in front of me. The top three in my class were all what I would call "legitimately fast" girls, so I don't feel bad about being behind them. My handling skills were on point and one my competitors said I looked like I had a lot more power than last year.

GREED. This one might be a little harder to keep in check. Seeing as I had a better-than-expected race today and was totally within sight of picking off another girl by the end, I'm suddenly inspired to train again. That's cool. I haven't done a hard workout since the DINO Town Run race, and I was planning on using this week to get back into the groove. My "sprintervals" workout that I had planned for Friday suddenly seems almost appetizing.

However, I soooo not going start allowing myself to start looking at start lists and researching who, according my ego and random results I've Googled, I should and should not be able to beat like I did last year. That's how delusion starts.


I can stand on my head. For a long time. said...

I was so cheering for you, but I don't know if you heard me, on your start, just after the corner, I was standing there and I was like "YEAH LINDSAY!!" then I had to leave to warm up, then I didn't see you after my race or I would have talked to you.

"The top three in my class were all what I would call "legitimately fast" girls, so I don't feel bad about being behind them."

Definitely. I was 3rd at the last OVCX race in 3/4 women, I think the girl that won today was the winner last time, she definitely would do well in 1/2/3, but I hope me saying that doesn't lead to the "delusion" type thinking, because you might be like "oh I could have gotten such and such of place if so and so wouldn't have been there and wasn't a sandbagger"..that's what I would probably think...but then I'd think about how it's just bike racing, and at the end of the day you're really just riding around in circles. Ok, well maybe I take it more seriously than that... but I wish I could be that cool about it sometimes, instead of letting it consume me at times.

Mary Sunshine said...

Can one control delusion???

I wonder...

Keep the joy! Enjoy your week!