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  1. #1
    RustyTainte substructure's Avatar
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    Need some mental advice

    It's kind of ironic, that only a couple days ago I was giving advice on the benefits of positive thinking and such and this morning I wake up with terrible anxiety about tomorrow’s road race.

    A couple weeks ago I entered a race with the field split between age groups and my group decided to smack each other around and fall all over the place. We had three spills taking at least 5 guys down in our 40 man group. Tomorrow will be a joined group and I'm really concerned about my well being. Up until now it never really bothered me. I really don’t need this edgy feeling going into it. What can I do to abate this sense of fear? Do some of you have it before a race and if so what do you do to alleviate it?

  2. #2
    . botto's Avatar
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    I have it. I try to block it out. Pretty easy to do once we start.

    FWIW - when there's pre sprint jostling, i tend to become quite vocal, and remind my fellow racers that we are neither pros, aspiring pros, or very good for that matter.

    direct language also helps.

  3. #3
    RustyTainte substructure's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto
    I have it. I try to block it out. Pretty easy to do once we start.

    FWIW - when there's pre sprint jostling, i tend to become quite vocal, and remind my fellow racers that we are neither pros, aspiring pros, or very good for that matter.

    direct language also helps.
    That's one thing I noticed about the race. The only time someone spoke out was when a rider’s chain came off and he immediately slowed without warning. He was upfront and the group had to swerve around him to avoid a collision. Words were being thrown around then like lawn darts.

    Thanks, it’s good to know that some seasoned racers still have anxiety and it’s not just us (or just me) infant racers.

  4. #4
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    Lots of good racers have this anxiety.

    Unfortunately crashing and racing are intertwined. Sometimes there's nothing you can do to avoid it, but there are things to mitigate or reduce the likelihood of a fall.

    1 - get to the front as early as you can.

    2 - stay there.

    Sprints - I'm always jawing during the jostling telling whomever will listen to "keep it fast", "go faster or we'll get swarmed from the pack", "go, go, go", etc.

  5. #5
    S.D.M.F. BlessedHellride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto
    I have it. I try to block it out. Pretty easy to do once we start.

    FWIW - when there's pre sprint jostling, i tend to become quite vocal, and remind my fellow racers that we are neither pros, aspiring pros, or very good for that matter.

    direct language also helps.
    I'm not the vocal type during a race, but there are others such as yourself who are. It does seem to help settle things down when someone speaks up.

    Before every race I have to visualize the race with a safe ending. Once the pain starts I'm ok, but those pre-race jitters are a PITA!
    "you can never get too low when you're so damn high, on the blessed hellride"

  6. #6
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Last sunday, the front of the pack started snaking back and forth in my cat 4 crit. A voice came forth: "Cut that sh|t out! This ain't the tour."
    Bring the pain.

  7. #7
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    There's an accupressure point that helps calm the nerves. It's just above the the styloid process of the ulna - when looking at your plam, trace from the pinky finger to the side of your wrist. You'll feel a bump. Just above the bump, there's a depression. That's the area you want to push. Push for about a minute. Do it when you have mind chatter or when you are waiting on start line and your nerves are killing you.

    I used that pressure point when I had to make a presentation to the board, during my corporate days. Try it. It works.

  8. #8
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's rough worrying about crashes. It (the worry or concern) is just another factor that plays into the race. Hopefully everyone is worried about it after what happens last week -- if you can get over it, you'll have an advantage over those who can't.

  9. #9
    Dirt-riding heretic DrPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets
    Yeah, it's rough worrying about crashes. It (the worry or concern) is just another factor that plays into the race. Hopefully everyone is worried about it after what happens last week -- if you can get over it, you'll have an advantage over those who can't.
    It's crazy, isn't it? My race last weekend is a great example--I almost got pinched into the curb on the first turn of my race and rode like a wimp the rest of the time. Last October when I crashed in a wet turn, it took me a long time to get back to cornering at full speed, and even longer to do it in wet weather.

    It's just a matter of easing back into it and thinking positive. 5 of 40 guys is still only 12.5%, so 87.5% of the riders went home unscathed that day. And that was on a bad day!
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    It's just a matter of easing back into it and thinking positive. 5 of 40 guys is still only 12.5%, so 87.5% of the riders went home unscathed that day. And that was on a bad day!
    Thats a good way of thinking of it, I really like my odds.

  11. #11
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    Couple of observations:

    First, I really take to heart Robbie Ventura's comments in "Race Day". He's talking about scoping out the corners of a race-course before the race, and figuring out the best lines, and he says: "Trust your equipment". The fact is that your equipment is capable of handling corners (which is where most crashes occur) a lot faster than your mind will allow. Don't be afraid. Trust your equipment.

    Second, about the "speak up" comments. I agree with doing a little commenting now and again. "Whoa there", "inside", "up", etc. But be careful about being too chatty. Calling "inside" on every corner; Repeatedly yelling "hold your line"; and the like will get you labelled as a scaredy cat, and will just end up annoying everyone. (Kinda like the bozo in group rides who calls out every twig or pebble in the road, or endlessly yells "car back!").

    One more thing: Try to look ahead in corners and corner by 'feel', rather than looking down at the road directly ahead of you. I learned that technique while doing winter training rides in the dark two winters ago. 10 of us were going around a corner in a double paceline at about 25 mph when an oncoming car flashed his brights, completely blinding me. I could have yelled "slowing!!!" and locked up my brakes. But instead I simply held my line and followed the silhouettes of the riders in front of me around the turn, completely blind. It was the scariest feeling not being able to see the road at all, and cornering at speed, just by feel.

    But it taught me to look ahead past the turn while cornering, which helps me carve a smooth and fast turn by instinct, rather than staring down at the pavement or the wheel 6 inches ahead, with white knuckles and my heart in my throat (which was typical for my first few races.) That, in turn, makes me hugely more confident while cornering. And confidence is the most important element to fast cornerning in groups.

    Bob

  12. #12
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Some very good comments by BL. Trust your bike and trust your bike handling (confidence is another good reason to spend time working on it). But we all go thru periods asking "do I really want to do this, is it worth it"? Sometimes the answer is No.

  13. #13
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    What I've found works well and calms the nerves is focusing on the important stuff. The "terrain" that needs to be mapped out is NOT the course. A lot people forget that you are racing against OTHER RACERS and that is the terrain that needs to be mapped.

    I look around at the start line and try to soak in everyone and their numbers. I watch how they start and do the first couple of laps, who looks strong, who's moving around the pack smoothly, who's squirrelly, etc. I'll record the numbers of the top 5 in every prime and notice who's in the breaks and who's always up front. Then I just avoid the sketchy people and follow the strong ones around. This typically will always place me ahead of the wrecks.

  14. #14
    Killing Rabbits
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    Look in a mirror and say out loud "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it people like me."

  15. #15
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    at my last race there was a huge puddle of blood on the course from the previous race. it really unnerved me for a minute but luckily there was a steep hill right after it that forced me to work and not think. It did make me nervous for the first time though. Then on the first turn of my race I was almost involved in a wreck. Even after that the feeling went away fast.

    I guess I dont really have much advice for calming the prerace jitters. Just keep in mind that most likely you will be too busy to think about it once the race starts. Maybe that will help.

  16. #16
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Take up parachuting.

    Throwing yourself to what amounts to certain death only to be saved by your gear and the guys who packed the gear/supervised the jump will numb you to most other stuff

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