Last year was huge. It was the year I got into Fixed gear racing. It’s been crazy fun getting to race and meet cool people. I feel like I’ve found my new hobby, one that I can hopefully sustain for a number of years. I like being a rookie, in a way. There’s no pressure. It’s like you just show up and do it and as long as you do your best it’s fine, because no one is really expecting much from you anyways. With time, it’s easy to get pushed and pulled into what others are doing, and get in your own head about it. It can be a very defeating thing.
Anyways, winter was cold AF. I stayed in bed, watching Netflix to my heart’s content, and constantly treating myself with FOOD and FUN. It was great, but it didn’t involve bikes. Now I’m out of shape. Cool. That combined with the aforementioned put
senseless thoughts into my head: Two weeks into January I considered not racing this year. Like WTF? Why would I give up something that clearly gives me so much joy? I conclude this is the ego talking. So off I go, three weeks into being “back in the
saddle” I did my first Crit of the year: The Comeback Crit. In summary, I wrote a Haiku.
Raced the Comeback Crit,
I was not very prepared,
Wrecked my kit ate shit.
Direct hit to head and the ego. Cool.
Even though I crashed, I had a few breakthroughs at the Comeback Crit. It was awesome working with Natalie (Throne) and Jenny (Kushtown). And it was fun jumping back in the peloton and successfully holding on.
Lately I’ve observed that if I’m not careful, before I know it, I tend to fall into several defeating thought patterns. My boyfriend and close friends have mentioned, “I’m too hard on myself”. So it’s led me to create a reminder list help put things into a
1. It’s not all about you – People don’t really care that you had a “bad race” as much as you think they do. Quit doing anything for “people”. There’s not some Disney spotlight that only hits you, and people don’t sit around muttering negative things about you because you didn’t perform well or whatever. I mean some people may but no one really cares about them, either.
2. It is all about you – Remember to pay attention to your needs, highs ‘n’ lows, and progress; not others’. You started cycling to better yourself and be healthy. It’s easy to start skipping races or rides because you don’t want to look bad. You tell yourself “I’ve been doing this long enough now to be sucking this bad waaah waah”. Just ride boo.
3. Be rational and follow your intuition - Think about why you don’t want to race. Is it the ego or is there something that shouldn’t be ignored? There’s a fine line with being out of your comfort zone and racing while hurt or forcing your self to do something you don’t want to do.
4. Be Patient – It takes time and practice to get better. If you didn’t put those in, odds are you won’t get the results either. It doesn’t mean you can’t do better next time or the time after that. And it’s OK to take breaks, cycling will always be there.
5. Focus on your personal progress -- It’s a disservice to yourself to quit when the going gets tough. Just ‘cause you didn’t have a public win it doesn’t mean you’re not having a personal win. Baby steps.
6. You’re learning dude, shit happens *Emily Ryan Voice* – Each race is a lesson and experience that you wouldn’t have had if you had decided to sit it out.
7. Don’t forget to have fun – Just because you’re doing the racing thing, it’s good to make time for the stuff that got you into riding in the first place. For me it was exploring LA by bike, the SWAT WOW/CUNT ride, and just riding bikes with friends. My goal is to continue getting out (of my head and physically out to ride) and have fun with the boatload of cool-ass bikey friends I’ve made along the way. The wins will come, eventually.