Nicole Jorgenson is a new racer but has no problem jumping right into the race scene. She knows that getting to the starting line is half the battle.
The most important thing I’ve learned thus far in my introduction to racing is that getting to the start line is half the race. It requires a good deal of preparation – the right gear, adequate food, ample hydration, allocating enough time for registration and number pinning, warming up – and it also requires ignoring all of those apprehensions about not being in good enough shape, not having eaten the right prerace food, not knowing the course, etc. In the end, you just have to show up to the start line and trust that getting there was half of it. You might not have done all your pre-race prep in perfect methodology and routine, but now all you can do is ride your hardest.
All of this may sound trivial to experienced racers who have their pre-race routine down to a science, but as a new racer I’m still trying to figure it all out. I showed up to my first race of the season – the Oredigger Classic Crit – with the attitude that I just needed to jump into my first race to get the season rolling. As it turned out, almost everything that could have gone wrong in my prerace preparations went wrong. I misread the start time causing myself to have to forfeit everything I had planned on doing before the race. Once I realized the start of my race was less than ten minutes away, I hadn’t pinned my number, used the restroom, eaten, or even warmed up. Not to mention, I wasn’t mentally prepared. I made a split second decision to race anyway, because what did I have to lose? I lined up with the rest of the ladies, made an attempt to compose myself despite feeling quite disheveled, and waited for the start whistle. About 20 seconds into the race, I dropped my chain on the first lap, and it was over. Aside from the embarrassing nature of the situation, I was pretty bummed I had messed up that badly in my first race of the season.
Somehow I was able to let that race go and adopt the attitude that I could just use it to learn how to better prepare for my next race. This past weekend at the CSU Oval Crit I triple checked my start time and left myself plenty of time to complete all my prerace activities. I still wasn’t in the best shape of my life and probably didn’t eat the exact foods or consume the exact liquids my body needed. But all I can do is keep getting myself to that start line and continue refining my prerace routine. I was pretty happy to have gotten 4th for Cat 4 women after the previous disastrous weekend!