Monday, October 15, 2018

Raven Enduro: Sorry Not Sorry

Now payback is a bad bitch
And baby, I'm the baddest
You forkin' with a savage
Can't have this, can't have this (ah)
And it'd be nice of me to take it easy on ya, but nah

Baby, I'm sorry (I'm not sorry)
Baby, I'm sorry (I'm not sorry)
Being so bad got me feelin' so good
Showing you up like I knew that I would

Why look at ugly results when you can look at cute doggos?

While my brain scrolled through plenty of depressing lyrics that could have been applied to this year’s Raven Enduro post, instead I gravitated towards the ones that are usually reserved for my internal monologue when I take back a QOM. That’s mostly because I don’t want to waste any more time feeling bad about that race than I already have.

What was always a pretty physically difficult race was made even more difficult, although admittedly a better quality race, by the addition of a fourth stage on the SMCC property, for a total of six stages. The stats of ~15 miles and ~2800 feet of climbing actually sound pretty reasonable in regard to most of my training rides, but the rub is that this included very little gravel road. Most of the climbing took place on steep, often rocky, double or singletrack that was soft and lacking traction, so it felt roughly twice as hard as the equivalent amount of climbing on gravel roads would be.

As I have mentioned a few times already, I was never great physical shape at any point this year, and that has only been made worse since it got too dark to mountain bike after work. Simply completing the race was a gargantuan physical effort for me to the point that, for the last two stages, I was basically just falling all over myself because I was too tired make my bike do the things that I needed to do. Additionally, I had issues with numb hands, my dropper post not working correctly, and the well-worn cleats on my shoes unclipping with the slightest of bumps. Basically nothing worked in my favor yesterday, and I ended up in last place by what I might be tempted to call an unacceptable margin. The problem with that would be that the margin was what it was, so it would be futile not to accept it.

For the last two years, the Raven Enduro has left me ending the season feeling like garbage regarding my abilities as an enduro racer. While the garbage feeling did eventually open the door for valuable insights that helped me get better the following season, this year I’m wondering if I can’t just skip the garbage feeling and move on to the part where I get better next season. Maybe it’s Syd Schulz’ blog posts continuing to hold up a crystal clear mirror for self-reflection or the 2905 minutes that I’ve meditated since the last Raven Enduro, but I’ve finally come to the realization that hating where you are now doesn’t help you get where you want to be any faster, at least not in any meaningful or sustainable way. Even more disappointing, hating people who are seemingly getting there faster than you also doesn’t help.

So, sorry, I’m not sorry about my race yesterday. I’m well aware of what I need to do to be better next season, so I’m going to worry about that now.

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