“To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; its about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge. It’s about embracing the pain that you’ll experience at the end of the race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge.” Summer Sanders
Yesterday was one of my favourite races to date. HPRW Cycling Club ran the first of a three part Nicol Jackson Race series at Elimbah, Queensland Australia. I entered as D but Club Handicapper moved me to C. Challenge accepted. Two years ago I raced this course, got dropped and rode in last. Yesterday I hung on to the lead group and rode in with them sixth. I didn’t make it on the step, but I stepped it up to a new found level. I was advised by my Coach to do several things. I discussed each possibility and locked in a plan. Knowing full well that the best made plans can fail. Failure use to be hard to accept. Now, it is an opportunity to learn. With each race you need to learn in order to progress. This race was about playing. I played with my strengths. I played with my weaknesses. In doing this I discovered the art of tactics. I worked out who was Queen Bee and who were her workers. In under 5kms I knew what was going to go down. At this point I concocted my plan. I switched off any white noise and I took in a lung full of country air and stomped on my pedals. With each pedal stroke I set the wheels in motion.
The course was designed for me. A nice combination of hilly, flat, curvy and straight. Homeward bound it was ON! My threats: Queen Bee was young and light and fast on the flats. She was going to be first. Helper Bee was young and heavy, had endurance but slow on the hills. All of them hit the hills and slowed so this was my opportunity to play. I attacked each hill and dropped them on all three accounts. I let them pass and tucked in behind. I recovered, then pulled a long turn on the front, by way of thanking them for the pain train. At this point (5kms in from finish) I was spent. I made them hurt! It was so much fun! We all got twitchy and the group got messy. I had a word to the newest rider as was keen to see if she could meet Queen Bees match. She gave it a crack! Her smile alone told the story!
Standing on the podium is not even part of my psyche right now. It’s all about the numbers and the lessons. Sixth place is a winning place. And that’s good enough for me.
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