Kim Fairley has always been a runner so racing bikes and the strategy involved was something she needed to learn in her first year of racing. Luckily, she figured out that races aren’t always won by the strongest rider but by the one who conserves energy and plays it smart.
Since I was 4, I ran! I hated long jump, high jump or worse of all, javelin, and could convince my track and field coaches that I was a runner. So I ran! Besides winning, the biggest challenge was to set personal records. There were no tactics, no mind games, no mechanical hurdles, it was just you, your legs and your pace. Your final time was all that counted.
May 7th 2016, the Oz road race: the longest road race in Colorado. I was excited to race, lift off and prove to myself what a fast cyclist I was. We lifted off, and the pace was…. Awfully slow!! What was happening? Did nobody care about the average speed? Did nobody want to do their best and show how fast they can race today? What will my friends say on Strava when they will check the average pace of today’s race? Com’on you ladies, let’s gooooo! But nobody wanted to take the lead. Against all advice, I led the group throughout most of the race and tried to increase the speed. I figured, when it is time to sprint, I would still be able to do so as the pace was so terribly slow.
With just one half of a mile to go, some ladies took off and I followed. I overtook them, but in the last home stretch four ladies passed me and my legs were unwilling to increase the speed once more. I could not believe it!! We were going so slow, why couldn’t I sprint anymore? So let’s get this straight: I’m super disappointed in today’s pace, I can go so much faster, and I even missed the podium after having led the race majority of the time.
Gosh, it is not easy to transform to a cyclist after having been a runner most of my life. I’d need to learn about tactics, I’d need to realize the importance of saving energy as much as possible, I’d need to face the fact that it’s not about showing who is the strongest, but the smartest! I basically had to relearn all the values and goals I’d established for myself while being a runner.
After the Oz road race, I took some time to reflect about the race. I listed down all my race flaws and told myself: ‘next race, you’re gonna race smart! And since then, it has only been about smart racing! If I wanna show the world how strong I am, I challenge my husband for a ride 😉