Monday, May 19, 2008

self-help....self psychology...step away from the ledge

Well, it has been a while. no good reason i haven't updated, except for laziness, no racing and just life itself interfering.

A teammate and friend, Andy called today to tell me he had actually checked my blog today to see if i had posted anything about the race from this weekend. Obviously i hadn't, so he called to get after me about it and update it already . Problem was, i realized i hadn'tbeen inspired to write about anything specifically. Hmm...i need to figure out what i am going to 'talk' about on my blog. I don't want to bore anybody with the day to day b.s. of life. Hmm.... i realize, i am boring and on top of that. I am full of a lot of b.s. too.

After a trip to the dog park to give the two 'shits' some exercise and a swim(i call it a bath, heather doesn't like that), and some yard work maybe I'll figure out a topic other than just the race from the weekend.

Well a couple of hours later, here I am and no luck on what i should write about.
Actually, it was a great weekend period, wether you were racing or just outside hanging out with the family. 75-80 degrees on both saturday and sunday sunny and dry. Heartland Promotions hosted what was supose to be their 3rd race of their cross country mountain bike series. With the crazy spring wether up until a couple of weeks ago, it turned out to be race #1 of a now 3 race series(instead of original 4). Again the weather changed er..uh...ruined the series format. Promoters Scott and Craig decided 3 aces doesn't make a series, so each of the remaining races will stand alone. However, prize money is increased big time, which in turn created a good showing of fast guys gunnin' for some prize money.

So, the race on Sunday was held in St. Joseph, MO on a 6.5 mile course with 5.5 to 6 miles of it being singletrack. Actually it was really fun, really really fast dry stwisty tight singletrack. So for me and my race, it was the Expert category lined up for a mass start. The promoters sent of all of the Expert ages at the same time. We were racing for overall and age-group prize money. I am telling you, nobody pays out more prize money % per entry fee than scott and craig of Heartland Promotions. These guys really put on a good 1st class event. New course, never been raced on, and the races on sunday went off without a hitch. Money well spent by me, and i didn't win a dime, didn't win any free shwag or anything in the raffle drawings. i bet you 90% of the people who stayed for the raffle and podium stuff left there with something free, some kind of prize or goodie.

Props to Scott Capstack, Craig Stoeltzing and all of the Heartland Race Staff!

So anyway, with a warm-up lap and some discussion with andy about how the race would play out, i had my 'game-plan'. Which was.........Even with 'shitty' 'tired' legs, and 3 hours of sleep(i was putting water from an 1& 3/4 inch hose from a fire truck onto a basement fire at midnight and the morning of Sundays' race), i felt like with the technical aspect to the course and a 'good' start i could still get a good result and maybe win some prize money in my age-group. I realized even before i saw the course and before i pre-rode it that the start of the race was going to be just a 'balls to the wall' stereotypical 'mad-dash' cyclo-cross start. You could set yourself up for success or failure, even with an hour and a half of racing in just that 45 seconds it takes you to get to the singletrack once the gun goes off for the start. I went from a chance at 5 to 8th wheel into the woods to almost 30th in 4 seconds after the gun went off. A guy got into me, forced me to clip out 5 meters off the start line, great now i have to play catch up and throw some elbows to get into to bottle-neck. I made a huge effort to pass a couple of guys prior to the singletrack but i had to wait to pass anyone again for 3 or 4 minutes because of the high speed of the trail and absolutely no room to pass in the very tight single-track. 4 minutes is an eternity when guys like Jarrett, Plumer, Lucas and Price are up the trail driving the front group. Once we got to the open field about a mile into the race it was a full bore 'cross-eyed' effort to pass anyone. i was able to go around a 7 or 8 guys, but it wasn't like passing someone on the road. the guys i were passing were on tightly mowed grass that was 2 feet wide. i had to pass them on an unmowed hay field. F@#$ Me! that Friggin hurt. once back into the single-track it was all i could do to concentrate to slow down my breathing, un-cross my eyes, avoid hitting trees(cuz of the double vision thing) and keep peddling hard to maintain a similar speed as the leaders that were already 30 seconds up the trail from me. The leading group of 10 or so guys, thru the course of the race fragmented and split up into smaller groups, and i was just trying to get up to any of them. It took me a lap and a half to figure out that i was making a valient effort, however my fate was sealed with my unlucky(up to interpretation) start. i was only going to get any of those lead guys if they cracked and started leaking oil from overextending themselves from the super hard start.

So, a day later a few minutes stressing and looking at the official results posted online and looking at time splits and lap times from the guys i always seem to be marking and consider someone i want to be as fast as or even beat, i realize i am on the LEDGE........The ledge i am speaking about? This is where you can decide to stay the course: which means stick to the training plan you have set up from the previous december. don't panic, continue to train hard but smart. keep the bike and racing in perspective with things like family, life and work. Or you can jump off the ledge and throw your training plan in the toilet. Go cazy hard on 3 weeknights a week hitting the hardest rides in town. Make every race an 'A' race. Make yourself crazy by pooring over results for hours on end and worry about unknown guys and girls beating you. Essentially overtrain and overcook yourself before you even get close to the really important races on your schedule. i.e.; Tour of Kc and all things 'cross'(real hardass men race cyclocross!)..................So which is it. Do you talk yourself down off of the ledge........or Do I jump?

Let's see. I realize my lap times from this race from my 1st lap to my 3rd lap stayed fairly consistent. Even with a horrible start i finshed 7th out of 15 starter in my expert 30-39 age group and 13th overall out of 30 some total starters in the whole expert field. So i beat some people. Maybe not the guys i am really gunning for, but fast guys still. I will choose to consider my job. I am a Firefighter, which means i was subject to running late night medical emergencies and even the occasional house fire. Which did turn out to be the case late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. I choose to not see these as excuses, only facts of my 'regular' guy exsistence. A guy who spent a couple of weeks training hard and working hard leading up to Sundays' race, who also helped his wife get the house presentable for a party to celebrate the impending arrival of our first was also a 'fun' race' not an 'A' race on the training calendar. And i did have fun racing my bike under beautiful conditions

I choose to keep things in perpesctive. Mostly for the sake of my wife, and my future daughter but also for my sanity and my continued enjoyment of riding and racing my road, mountain and 'cross' bikes.

Hmm, i guess my inner self-help guru was able to talk me down off of that ledge.


So, till nexttime, keep riding or doing what ever it is that makes you happy!


Heather said...

Thanks honey for keeping it in perspective oh and the lake at the dog park...still not a bath.
Your wife aka...the boss!

Mark Studnicki said...

It only took me about 10 years to figure out that racing isn't the most important thing in my life. I'd made it the "priority" for so long, I didn't know any other way to exist. I do now and it feels like a brick has been lifted off my shoulders and I can finally enjoy "riding" again.