November 4, 2010

What do you think about? Cross Crusade #5 & #6 Astoria

Photo: PDX Cross
What do you think about when you are standing on the start line?
What do I think about?!?! Really, you want to know what I think about? Nothing, everything, dreams, fears, the calm before the storm, the pain that I will soon inflict upon myself, how quickly the next 60 minutes is going to pass, how slowly the next 60 minutes is going to pass, the color I painted my toenails?
What do I think about? Good Question.
You need to figure that out. What do you think about? Do you think about the first corner, the run-up, the barriers, the girl that beat you last week and how you can beat her today? Do you think about winning?

Sitting in the car, driving through the coast range on our way to the double header Cross Crusade Weekend in Astoria, darkness shattered only by on-coming headlights, I thought about the question.

Do I think about winning?
I think about wanting to win, but not actually doing it. I let doubt creep in. I have been beaten by these girls in every other race, why would today be any different. They are stronger than me, they will beat me. I am not as fast or as good or as confident.

Not as Confident? Give me a break, did you really say that? You aren’t as confident?
What the ………..
You have to think about winning. You have to stand at the line, each and every race, believing that you can win.

You have to believe you can win. I have to believe I can win.
I didn’t win this weekend, I finished 3rd place in both races. But I raced like I could win.

The photo above was taken on the start line on Saturday. What was I thinking about? I was thinking about winning. I was thinking about the first corner from asphalt to gravel, I was thinking about the steep hills and how I knew I could ride them. I was thinking about the barns and the lines and winning.

Saturday I raced like I had never raced before. And it was awesome. I went to places that I hadn’t gone before and it felt crazy. I was riding at the front, aggressively, determined, and on the edge. Each time up the hill, it was not my legs that carried me to the crest, it was my will. On the last lap of the race, some guy yelled, How the hell are you still riding this hill? – I had no idea, I just was.

With a couple of laps to go, I popped. Wendy was quoted as saying she was gassed and I was, but I fought until the end. Wendy went on to win – she is strong. So strong.

I rolled back to the Sunnyside Tents after the race. Don asked me how I thought it went.

I would have rather finished 10th and raced like I did, then sat in and cruised around and finish in 3rd or 4th or 5th. I raced like I was going to win, and one of these days I will.

And Gary, I think about you.