Eye on the prize
I was thinking recently on goals and why am I doing what I'm doing in terms of training or training at all. This is a tough time of year. I know I said I enjoyed lifting, which I do, but it is getting old. The 2nd time through hypetrophy and the 6 sets of 10-12 isn't as fun as the first 2 weeks. And when lifting is over, then comes the struggle to get outside on the bike.
Yes, I love to ride, you know I do. But I'll admit that it can be hard to motivate to get out in the cold. And yes the intervals can be fun in a sick sort of way. But it takes a lot of motivation to walk down the stairs to the basement and endure the pain. Sort of like it can be fun I guess to throw yourself in front of a moving bus.
And even when the weather turns nice, when you've got a job, family, and are the type of person that goes whole hog into whatever they are into at the moment, it can be hard to get out there. It still takes a lot of focus to keep at it. Sometimes riding slips down on the scale, and the more you don't ride the harder it is to get back into it.
Ironically, Mags had recently written a superb post on The Perfect Ride and it mirrors a lot of my feelings right now.
I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't dreaming of getting on the box or beating, soundly beating, guys who have always beaten me. But those goals are fleeting and not truly goals because they are out of one's control.
What I'm striving for is that perfect ride. I can probably count the times on one hand that I've had the perfect ride. And never in a race. Except for that time trial where I went of course. That was close to perfect. Another time was when we had our first child and we were going to be going on a date and leaving our son with some friends for the first time ever. I did one more climb than I should have and was late. Not good, but man was I riding well.
For XC racing that perfect ride is the balance between climbing and descending, the flow in the single track. It's power, raw and strong, combined with grace, light touch, and presence of where you pedals are where your rear wheel is. It's small lithe weight adjustments small hops, 'working' the trail eeking speed out of every dip and berm. It's confidence to let go of the brakes a little, confidence to grab a gear on a grunt climb. Confidence to pull the front wheel off a drop instead of rolling it. It is at the perfect pace. Right on the edge of red but well within green.
That's it, that's the prize.
Results are secondary, cause if I get beat when I'm riding like that they deserve to win.