Katie describes the internal battle that most competitors will face at some point in their race career.
Have you ever found yourself searching for motivation or just not feeling like you’ve got the mojo to race? Sometimes it’s a doubt in your ability to perform. Other times it’s because we’ve asked our bodies to perform too often and asking our bodies to race one more weekend feels like a mountain to climb. As we get to the end of cyclocross season I find myself struggling with the desire to race. This weekend I found that I was fighting this internal battle.
This past weekend I had planned to race the Feedback sports cyclocross race in Golden. This is a course that I have pre-ridden often and it was an easy race to get to, it’s a matter of minutes from where I live and would require minimal effort to get everything in the car. I know this course; it is a course that requires some technical skill because there are several corners and I was just starting to feel good going through it at speed. I know that I had the skills necessary to do well here. Despite this fact I still wasn’t feeling committed to racing, I just didn’t have the fight in my mind to go hurt for 45 minutes.
This battle had been waging in my mind for a few days leading up to the race, and I just couldn’t muster the energy to follow through completely. I got up Sunday morning and it really started to settle in. I just didn’t want to race, I was looking for excuses to not go to the race. I joined my boyfriend for an easy mountain bike ride that morning and after 15-20 minutes I knew that I was not mentally in a good place to race. I kept on waffling back and forth on my decision all morning. Since cyclocross is an event that requires a lot of suffering I knew that I needed to be mentally ready to push if I decided to commit to going. I literally packed the car and sat in it for about 10 minutes debating my departure before finally deciding it wasn’t in the cards today.
It was a major internal battle for several reasons.
- I told some teammates I would be there.
- I hadn’t raced in 3 weeks due to travel and because I typically take some time in October to rest and recover or else I know the chances of burnout are high.
- It was a beautiful day out and I wanted to take advantage of being outside before the weather turns.
- I spent the previous day doing an easy ride to leave myself fresh. I skipped out on going on a long ride the day before so I felt guilty for not having done a hard or long effort this weekend.
As I am writing this I feel that ultimately I made the best decision to stay at home and not race. I think that I avoided burning out and found myself in a better place Monday morning. You might even say my itch to ride and to hurt has returned. I am by no means saying we should do this often, in fact, I have probably felt this way before one or two other races in my life and ended up going and having one of my better races. However, deep down I think we know when to listen to our body and when to push past it. Our body can do amazing things when it is fatigued but I have raced enough to know that when our mind is not there then it becomes a much harder fight. My intent in sharing this experience with you is to tell you that it is ok to listen to your gut when it is speaking to you this strongly. Sometimes not racing is the best thing we can do for our family, friends, and most importantly ourselves.