I was inundated with questions at Cyclo-X Nationals about not racing, being hurt, roofing, life in general. Too many questions for my liking. Anyway, the second most common topic of conversation was about risk. It usually went something like, “I was riding pretty good, but it was pretty sketchy and I wasn’t willing to take that risk.” Or, “2 guys in my race broke their elbows”, blah, blah, blah, “and I can’t take that risk.”
I heard it time and time again. I’ve heard it before. A teammate quit a race in the rain a while back and his wife told me that he couldn’t risk falling because he had to go to work tomorrow. I heard it as, “you don’t have to go to work tomorrow, so it doesn’t matter if you’re hurt.” Strange how your mind does that. Anyway, I think people need to try not to let this perceived risk thing control their lives.
I am virtually positive that the guy that broke his elbow, hip, or whatever, was not willing to take the risk during the race that he would break his bones. He might of been riding much more conservative than every other rider in the race. He did take the risk, even though he might not realize it, because he paid his entry fee and started the race. Most the time in bicycle racing, we, as racers, rely on things that are out of our control. We rely on the hope that the other riders are going to ride safely and look out for the overall safety of the field. We rely on the hope that the promoters have done everything in their ability to make sure we’re safe. And a million other things. But, in reality, it is the chaos theory and virtually, an uncontrollable situation. We hate to admit it, but we don’t have control of our lives minute by minute.
This is the way in bicycle racing. And in the way in life. The best way I know to do exceptional things in the sport, or in life, is to live a bit on the risky side. Get out of your comfort level. Raise your comfort level. In racing, hopefully, this will become your new base, your new comfort level, and this will allow you to progress in the sport. In life, it is a way to gain new experiences and to realize that the barriers that were holding you back were really not there at all.