Fear and Loathing in Your Own Head

easy sounds kinda boring

easy sounds kinda boring

How many of us have ourselves as our worst enemy. Way too often I find myself seeing better paths ahead and still manage to not take them. Completely aware that I am doing just that, not making the change for the better, not taking the initiative, not making myself a winner. Then I berate myself with belittlements over and over, “what a wuss, why can’t you just say no, why can’t you just go to bed earlier, why can’t I get up earlier and train more” on and on.

Then there is the inability to dispel doubt from my mind, instead failing to believe in what I can do, taking it all apart, chopping down thy own tree. What if, I wonder, what if I did make those little changes and began to push myself forth with confidence and courage? What could I then achieve? I wonder if I will ever know the answers as I am damnably human and keep locating the traps below my feet. Keep making the same mistakes that have been noted to be just that. mistakes.

Not to be monotonous but my challenges almost always come back to pushing myself, mentally, physically, spiritually to be a better athlete. Sure I do want to be a better person, and better employee, a genuine positive member of society. Simply I want to kick some more ass, really. Year after year I compete in events and see my potential to be so much more, if only I could….There is the hitch. If only I could what, wish upon a star? I do try, I take the knowledge and attempt to focus and train harder, smarter, longer, shorter. I lose my grip, I fall off the wagon, the focus gets fuzzy. I do this year’s event and realize I fell short on my desires again.

Yet over time you just can’t help but learn a few things. I have learned about eating, hydration, pacing all that stuff. But most of what I have learned and been able to put into regular practice, is simply, getting it done. Being able to suffer, suck it up realize that this is nothing and I Can Do IT. Sure I am always so acutely aware of how very human I am when it hurts so much, but that doesn’t mean jack shit if you try hard enough. We weak piddly little things can do some down right amazing things, not just with our bodies and minds, but with our souls.

So today I went out to ride the 2nd Lap of the Gunnison Growler, it has a bit harder start with more techy singletrack than the first lap of the 64 miler. I started tired, sore from yesterday’s lap 1. My back locked up right away, my legs screamed with complaints. It was hard, I didn’t quite go as fast as I wanted, but I also caught a glimpse of what I could do out there. It has nothing to do with listening to my pesky nagging doubts, to instead embrace the pain as my payment for having such the wonderful luxury of racing my bike. Not to back down when it hurts, to not pay mind to when aches rise up, but look forward to the experience. Never give up, don’t stop believing in yourself, never stop trying. And of course smile and smile through all those wonderful turns and rock hopping goodness.

Growler Lap

 It was raining, huge dark clouds were everywhere around us. Full on walls of purple thunder were dragging along the hills. But we still headed out. We had to curl on back to get Sam more clothes and stop to get more air in his front tire. Even wide open and sitting on the side of the pavement somehow the rain didn’t open up,  just peppered and threw graupel at us. Determination was strong as we were heading out to throw down a quick Growler Lap. The race is a week away and it is hard nor to get caught up with the nervous energy and fear of that many miles of pretty tough riding, with 300+ other folks.

Having just suffered through the 12 Hours Of Mesa Verde with a sore tight back that lead to some post race dead legs, I just am not sure what to expect in the Growler. Plus all excited and wanting to do another lap race, I signed up for the 24 Hour Nationals, at the 24 Hours of Enchanted Forrest, only 4 weeks away. Sometimes when I calm down I wonder what sort of fool bites off way more than he can chew. But I am me and I have to keep up my end of the bargain by living and trying. Yet what is wrong with me? I can deal with a good bit of discomfort and pain, but I am more than a little scared about all this.

The best way to deal, is go for a bike ride. Sometimes a sort of fast bike ride, and that was what happened today. After the awful grind up Kill Hill, I opened it up a bit on Main Street, and Josho’s. It felt good. Pushing the pace, cranking the pedals. Sam was wondering what the hell was I up to…he wanted to go sub race pace, yet he hung on my wheel so I just kept cranking.

Soon I backed off and let the pace ebb and flow a bit more, still cranking it hard at times to keep myself feeling honest. I even stopped to let us eat and talk with normal breathing. Today I felt smooth and quick, what we like to call being a Trail Ninja! It is such a temporary condition and needs to be enjoyed while it lasts. Oh it was fun. Being the excitable boy that I am I was unable to control myself towards the end of the ride and pushed Sam a touch too far. He was cooked by the climb up Ridgeline Trail and ate it a couple times on the tough tricky techy ascent. Sorry Sam, but when you got it you got to use it!

I am still plenty scared of the upcoming events, one after another, all hard. But the truth is I love riding bikes, I love riding bikes as fast as I can on all kinds of trails. I enjoy the competition and comradery of bike racing. Fear tempers my approach, but does not dim my enthusiasm. Today while my legs screamed up the climbs, my back sent angry messages to my brain, I grinned ear to ear as my tires carved the turns and hopped the rocks. Even freezing in the wind and rain I was aware of how lucky I am to have the predicament that I have. Thank you universe for letting me get through all the BS I once held so dear and to be at this point in my life.