the Self Fullfilling Prophecy
when racing it is vital to be PSYCHED
it is vital to be PSYCHED UP and not PSYCHED OUT

I most definitely psyched myself out of this event
driving up to the race I started to mope
as we passed Baltimore it started to get all hazy around us
my head clogged up and I started to sneeze
not a cold... just some psychosematic symtoms to validate some flimsy excuses

then when dave and I stopped at burger king so that I could load up on some breakfast biscuits I started my rain dance
started to pray for rain that I knew I would dread
the rain never came
the dread never left

at sign up I was still torn between Sport and Expert as there was no Clydesdale event on this day
in my head I kept rationalizing a slow expert race as it is better to be the last expert than the sandbagging sport rider

I went into the race lacking what it takes to race

so often the races involve tension and anxiety
sometimes this energy can be channeled into a positive drive
other times this energy can cripple a rider

on this day I was more ambivalent than anything else
the long time lined up waiting for the race to start only increased my ambivelance
the heat did not help
what was a moderate morning was rapidly becoming a hot dry afternoon
we stood for over 30 minutes in the shadeless sun waiting for the racers to be released

at the start there was a pleasant exchange between the racers
when our group was finally released it was a mad dash for the single track
I joined in on the fun
unsure of the course I filed in towards the front
the pace was fast
but I felt comfortable with it
early in the queue a racer kept crashing and creating a backlog
there was anger, frustration, and a great waste of energy
this racer was not in a rhythm and was throwing off everyone else's rhythm
early in the race I kept pace with the lead riders

riding towards the front I felt a good flow on the bike
but my legs and lungs were not getting warmed up
there was still a bit of malaise

my bike felt a serious drag
there was that illusion of a rear flat
I was going through some last lap illusions on the first lap
my head was not right
I was losing the mental game
there was never a stretch where I pushed myself to get some speed
it was all a matter of hammering and hanging on

the course was all up and all down
a serious roller coaster
at a fast pace the water bar descents were a blast of drops behind me
at a slow pace they were an annoying set of obstacles in front of me

early in lap one I started to measure the course in my head
how far into the lap I was
how long was each lap taking me to complete
how much longer would I need to ride
how much longer could I ride

after lap one and into lap two I started to feel better
tried to enjoy the good the descents
tried to endure the climbs
and tried to ignore how slow I was moving on the flats

after lap two I felt like this was a race that I could finish
malaise was being replace by the pleasure of riding
water in the camelback and gatorade in my bottle were rapidly depleting
I thought a great deal about the sodas in the cooler at the finishline
the thought of a cold cragmont cola pulled me through the third lap
I chugged a few bottles of water then cracked open a generic cola
slammed it
like Popeye and his Spinach I feld invigorated
and returned to finish my last lap

the cola burned off fast
but I was content with my pace and my sticking with things
the fourth lap had the advantage of the memory of the laps before
there were sections where I was able to let off the brakes a little and enjoy the winding single track
yet I was still trying to race smart
always remembering my four year old's request for me to "be careful in the race"

picture courtesy of pbase.com

here is a photo of my friend dave doing things to his bike during the race that he should have done the night before the race

dennis bike blog
I am just checking it out now

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