December 2, 2010

Slow is Smooth………. Slowing Down, Riding Fast (er.)

Photo: PDXCross
365 days ago, Nationals was just 8 days away.

Today, Nationals is just 8 days away.

A lot can happen in 365 days. A lot can change.

2010 has been a fabulous year and as I reflect back on the last 365 days, I am overwhelmed by the love, support, and generosity of those around me. A lot has changed, I have changed – and for the better, I think.

I have slowed down. In all aspects of my life.

I have learned the value of rest. Rest of the mind, the spirit and the body.

Ironically, this has allowed me to speed up. And speeding up is fun.

At the first Cross Crusade Race of the season, Alpenrose, I went too fast. I was not smooth, I was a spaz.
Rainer was slower, Sherwood slower yet – and by the time Astoria and Barton came around – I was in slow motion. And I was riding faster, racing better.

There are two ways you can ride a bike at high speed; in control or out of control.

What is the difference? It isn’t the speed at which your body is traveling; it is the speed at which your mind is traveling; calculatedly, evaluating, reacting.

I am learning to slow my mind down. This is making all the difference.
Evaluating a corner, picking a line, and holding it.
Making a decision on my dismount point before reaching it.
Choosing to hold a wheel or to let it go.
When a mistake is made, understanding why.
I am beginning to process the race as it is happening; there is value in this.

We all dream big dreams, we have grand thoughts and great expectations. What we do with these dreams, how far we take them, is important.

Does the dream of a podium finish stay with you at the start line or does it vanish when you line up among those you look up to? Are weekly workouts completed in full or are they sacrificed for a dinner with friends or a day of powder skiing? Do you visualization yourself on the podium, or do you laugh at yourself and call it a pipe dream?

Do we turn these dreams into goals?

A good friend was telling me about an interview he read with Fabian Cancellara.

When he was a child he dreamt he would win the tour some day. He said now he has goals. He said bike racers shouldn't have dreams, they should have attainable goals and they should fight for those goals as hard as they can.
When I toe the line, 8 days from now, I will do so with goals. The goals I have been visualizing, believing in, working toward for the last 365 days. I will fight for these goals with everything my body and mind have to provide. I will do so slowly, smoothly, and with confidence. Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast.