Rediscovering the Fun Of Mountain Bike Racing

Goals.  I have written before about how important goals are to help you find your way in your athletic pursuits.  However, if the same goals help you apply pressure on yourself, you will not be free to enjoy what you are doing and just do your best.  I think this is what happened to me at the beginning of this season.  No matter how I tried to frame my goals as process (faster swim, smoother bike, quicker run) they were really outcome goals (winning).  Because I was so worried about performance I could not enjoy the moment, and as a result my performances were less than they could have been.  It took a trip to the Canadian National Mountainbike Championships and then a Canada Cup mountain bike race for me to sit back and gain some perspective.  I went to those races to test myself against the mountain bikers and in the process gain some fitness.  However, my mind set for each of them was unfortunately not as positive as I would have liked – all outcome with no process.  This story is a bit about my mountain bike racing, and how I believe that is so important for Xterra athletes to develop bike fitness, but is also a bit of a mental lesson for all of us. As soon as we are not having fun, we will not perform.  Period.  Read on….

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Fun Times Racing In the Richmond Furnace

Another trip to good old Richmond, VA is marked by my semi annual visit to the medic tent … in fact, the medics welcomed me and reminisced about my antics in 2002 at this venue. That was first bout of heat exhaustion and unconsciousness where I took it as my first opportunity to puke on a sponsor when I ruined Kevin Tordoff’s shiny Saucony shoes. Carrie decided to steer clear of me this year. The end of the race involved Melanie toting the abominable snowman on her back for the last 3km of the run. Unfortunately, that was well after I had lost the race but insult to injury ensued with a turned ankle, some running road rash and probably some horrible photos of Melanie crumpling at the finish. I was pretty disappointed in general with my race in Richmond because again, my form just is not there and Jamie basically walloped me on the run. It was almost as ugly as Mickelson on the 18th hole. It is frustrating to me to have had this start to the season, when the plan was to be much faster now but what goes up must come down…. Maybe my timing will be all for the best when our big races are still to come. To fill everyone in on the math, with a win and two runner up finishes in the series, with two to go as long as I win one more of the races before Tahoe, the series is again going to come down to Tahoe.   That was NOT the plan but Jamie has basically been racing better than I and she is now a wafer thin 10 points ahead of me in the overall series. Back at it again this season I guess, the Mel and Jamie battle. The race was still fun because the bike course is fabulous, my homestay with Jay Paul was killer and I had a great time riding with some of the local women on their Tuesday night mountain bike ride. Stay tuned for more… Continue reading “Fun Times Racing In the Richmond Furnace”

Our Inaugural South East Championships in Pelham, Alabama

This past weekend Xterra visited Alabama for our first ever South East Championships event. The venue was spectacular, the locals incredibly friendly and the result was exactly what I was looking for. A first place finish – which ties up the series going into Richmond. I have to say that Alabama was a difficult race for me. First because I wasn Continue reading “Our Inaugural South East Championships in Pelham, Alabama”

Embarking on my Eastern Assault

My three week road trip started with a trip back to good old Hardwood Hills for the third stop on the Canada Cup series tour in Barrie, Ontario, which is about an hour north of Toronto. Weather was cool on arrival and quickly deteriorated to major showers for the first few days of the weekend. I was staying with my friend Tara Ross Continue reading “Embarking on my Eastern Assault”

Xterra Season Kicks Off in Temecula

Well, my first triathlon of the season is now in the history books and I am now flying back home to do some bike racing before I head out east.  Unfortunately, race #1 did NOT go as planned, but it was good enough to bag second place. I am going home a little disappointed only because I felt that my form was much better than my performance. I think I miscalculated some training and ended up pretty flat on the day of the race. My run absolutely sucked, there is no other way to describe it, and I didn’t ride much better. This was a bummer for me but great for Jamie Whitmore and great for Candy Angle, who nearly caught me by the end of the race.  The result was still pretty good, no matter how much I hate to lose, but the race was well below expectations. There was one positive aspect to this race and that was, thanks to Neil Harvey and the Pacificsport National Triathlon Center, my swim! I screwed up the start, swam alone for much of the first 400 meters, dropped back to a group and still ended up coming out of the water with the lead women fresh as a daisy.  Normally with that kind of open water tactic I would have lost a lot more time so my swim fitness is good.  I had a lot of fun, as usual, down in Southern California, so read on for the details of our trip…

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