Gotta Take Risks

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I was watching the GVA Trophy Cyclocross at Baal (GP Sven Nys) this morning, under slept, and the one thing that became struck me was that every one of these guys screw up a fair amount in a muddy cross race. I already knew that, but watching the race this morning drove it home.

So, for my New Year’s Resolution, I’m going to state that I’m going to take more risks. Not only in cycling, but in life in general. It is hard to amaze yourself when you always stay within your comfort zone. The most memorable accomplishments are the ones that you have to go into that “dark” area of uncertainty. That is when the rewards pay dividends.

I already do this on a fair basis. But when I’m teetering, I’m going to try to take the plunge more. But not stupid risks, just new life experience risks. The ones that keep life fresh.

If we take this back to cycling, especially MTB racing and cross, there are lots of reasons to have limits. But I found out, pretty late in my life, that being embarrassed or self conscious about ones performance, is not a restriction that ever helps you progress.

When I first started racing MTB bikes on a Professional level, I thought I was going to kill everyone from the start. That didn’t happen. Not even close. Much of my early disappointment involved not being able to technically ride sections that some others, usually John Tomac, could clean easily. Up and down I was having troubles. I was racing a World Cup in Vail and was having issues cleaning a dusty descent that was surrounded by a huge crowd. I fell at least 50% of the time. I was so embarrassed. Then later the next week, when I was watching the race on TV, I saw that a lot of guys, most everyone, was falling. I think 3 out of the top 5 finishers fell on the last lap, less than a couple kms from the finish. I got a lot better at the sport that day. From watching a race on the television, I realized even the best guys fall. That one revelation removed a huge barrier that was stopping me from getting to the next level.

I don’t think we can easily recognize where these barriers are in real life. But, when we do encounter them, I think we should all try to get over a few more in 2012. Happy New Year.

Along with the risk thing, I'm going to try to eat more fresh foods this year. After making pizza, I always have a bunch of dough that I just throw onto the stone that makes this simple bread.

How about fresh fruit on January 1st. It's a pretty incredible time we live in. Our grandparents would of never had this in the winter.

I've been eating a lot of cage free, brown eggs recently. I'm going to get some chickens this year.

9 thoughts on “Gotta Take Risks

  1. H Luce

    Well then, maybe you can come out to Obidji and learn some Aikido. Aikido is all about falling…

  2. Stanley

    Happy New Year! Like your resolution. One way of looking at it is to do one thing a day that scares you…maybe I can try some of your homemade pizza in 2012. Cheers.

  3. DavidA

    Great resolutions Steve! and they are ones that you can stick to. I think im going to ride 1/2 hr longer on my long rides. I dont know why but i always think of the story i read about when Alan Peiper was living with the Planckaerts in Nevele, Belgium. He said he and Eddy would do 100kms everyday as juniors with Walter who was a pro. and when they got home Walters wife would hand him up a bottle of veg. soup since it was winter and he would do another 6okms…..toughness.

  4. mark

    Excellent. just make sure the risks/rewards ratio is worth it. That section in Vail you mentioned was “Bailey’s Bailout”. I rode it but didn’t clean it every lap. Ended up in the snow fencing more than once. I think Ned won that race in a time close to 3hrs. You don’t see UCI World Cups won in 3hrs anymore.

  5. tilford97 Post author

    Mark-That wasn’t Bailey’s Bailout I was talking about. It was before that, something like Onza Alley or some name like that.

    During the Worlds in 1994, I rode Baileys every lap and the 1st guy on the last lap to ride it and I was 12th on the day. It was an really important part of my race, being able to rest at the top, while waiting for the guys in front of me to walk it. Getting any extra 45 seconds of rest during the whole race doesn’t seem like much, but it really made a big difference.

  6. Ted

    Speaking of risks. If you haven’t read Taleb’s The Black Swan, you should do it. I highly recommend it!

  7. Tommasini53

    chickens??? 1200 block of Mulvane, brown eggs $1.75 dozen. nice family. unless you really want to raise your own, $1.75 is a deal.


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