I’ve been mulling over the Chequamegon, even when I was “racing” the last 1/2 on my own. I was definitely the best of the rest there. But I was riding better than that. I usually don’t have an issue with mental toughness. But I obviously did on Saturday. The morning of the race, I told Dennis that I really didn’t feel like suffering. That is not a good thing when you’re going to be racing a super fast MTB with a bunch of good riders.
I’m not sure why sometimes your mental game abandons you. Usually when I have all my ducks in a row, the mental aspect of the sport takes care of itself. Not this time. There are probably lots of reasons for this.
I think the start of the race threw me off. I had no intention of motor pacing off the quad and starting that hard. I was pretty gassed hitting the grass, but seemed to recover pretty well. Then when Jason McCartney just went to the front and pulled, and pulled hard, it rattled me. I knew Jason and Christian were going to be in the front, but I didn’t envision them taking over control of the front of the race. Everyone has a low point of each race. I just have trouble accepting that when I hit my first low point, I lost concentration.
I spent a fair amount of time preparing for this race. I was at altitude for close to 3 weeks. Not only because of Chequamengon, but I stayed extra to maximize the benefit. I came up here nearly a week early. Rode the whole course twice. This whole thing kind of feels the same emotionally as Master’s Cross Worlds back in January. Spending a lot of energy for a non rewarding result. Brian Matter is a force to be reckoned with here. Maybe I don’t have it in me to beat him now, but I’d like to get to the end of the race and see if that is the case. That is probably what bugs me the most. Not being there to contest the end. I don’t mind getting beat. I just hate beating myself.
Okay, enough of this. It’s done for another year. We all have thoughts of races past that disappear with time. It’s time to move on.
Here’s a article from the New York Times addressing this mental toughness issue that Adam Mills sent me.
Driving back to Topeka this morning. I have to put a cross bike together for the UCI Gateway Cross Cup on Wednesday night in St. Louis. It’s cyclo-X season now.