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Old 09-22-02, 06:52 PM   #1
WoodyUpstate
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Mental Toughness? Not today.

This is really embarrassing. . . but Saturday I failed to finish an XC race. Here's the story.

I was up for this race and the course is a favorite. I pre-rode the course the week before, and rode it very well - personal best. I warmed up for 25 minutes, and kept my adrenaline in check before the start. There were only a couple of guys in my class (sport, 40+), and I knew one guy would beat me handily. I wasn't feeling any pressure.

I went out moderately at the start, but soon I was suffering badly during the climb - though I consider myself a good climber. I've raced XC for 2 years, so I'm familiar with the pain of racing, but it seemed unprecedented Saturday. Even so, my lap time was pretty decent at the end of the first lap.

On the climb during 2nd lap, suffering yet again, I came to a stop when a small ditch robbed my momentum. I simply quit at that point. I got off the bike and took about 4 minutes to recover and ponder. I simply couldn't pedal during that time. I got back on the bike, finished the lap, and reported at the scorer's table I wasn't finishing.

I have a whole list of excuses, but they provide little relief from the guilt. After all is said and done, I've decided that my weakness Saturday was between the ears and had nothing to do with the heart and legs.

Yeah, I'm an amateur, weekend warrior, so bailing on a race doesn't change much in the grand scheme of things.

End of confessional. It's time to store this in the "life experiences" file and move on. I feel much better. Thanks for listening.
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Old 09-23-02, 12:34 PM   #2
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Don't sweat it. Everyone has off days. How many guys over 40 do you know who would even attempt an MTB race? I sure wouldn't feel bad about it. You'll get 'em next time.
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Old 09-23-02, 12:56 PM   #3
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Sounds like the infamous "Bonk" to me.
I saw a Triathlon last night where the second place guy zooms past the leader to take the lead on the bikes. Gets to the run, almost at the end, BAM!!! Bonk city. Guy can't run another step. I think he walked to the end while half the field passed by.

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Old 09-23-02, 01:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChipRGW
Sounds like the infamous "Bonk" to me.
Unfortunately, I can't blame the bonk this time. I was well-fueled from the get-go - good breakfast, lots of pre-race drink, good carb dinner the night before.

The more I think about it, the more I'm blaming it on poor race management - pushing too hard at the wrong times, letting my motivation waver and fail, not working through the difficulty and persevering. Most of all, I forgot that I race for fun and not for a paycheck.
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Old 09-23-02, 02:06 PM   #5
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I know just how you feel. Don't take this the wrong way. But, remember how this feels The next time a race situation comes up where you want to DNF. Finishing - even dead last double, even triple digits back - feels better than stopping. Then again don't sweat it too much, Its all good!

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Old 09-25-02, 04:54 AM   #6
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well, other than wipeouts where i wasn't able to finish (crashed in an XC race in June, broke my deraileur hanger and injured my hand pretty bad too) i have only once had a DNF in my 100 or so XC, criterium, triathlon, duathlon and adventure races...

it was one of the worst personal experiences of my life... i was so broken... and i think it really made an impact on me... mine was from lack of training pre-paredness... i had trained with the Univerisity of Texas road-cycling team during the school year, logging 300+ miles/week for most of the 9 months. then i went home for the summer and was in a cycle-unfriendly city (Dallas) and back with all my non-cycling high school buds... i managed maybe 2 rides in June and then NONE... a friend called near the end of the summer and he was coming to Dallas for a crit and asked me to join him. i commented i was out of shape but thought "less than 1 hr, 20-something miles" that was like a recovery day for me before... i could do that even if i wasn't at my best... so i rode the first 2 laps near the front just as i was "mentally" expecting from myself as if i were still as fit as i had been before 2 1/2 months of NO TRAINING. somewhere in the 3rd lap, my legs turned to jello, my HR was maxed (didn't use a HR monitor back then) and my muscles started twitching. i dropped out of the front pack... then i decided to just ride and finish. i got lapped and i got slower. well, after another lap i could hardly even pedal. i struggled, then got off the bike and could hardly walk. i sat on the side for about 5 minutes, almost delerious "seeing stars". i did not finish and i was broken! i still remember today that horrible feeling quite well, now 12 years later!!!

your case is a little different since it sounds more mental than anything. i agree that it doesn't sound like a bonk, but either mental and/or sickness or just off. i would say, chalk it up to a bad day and try and figure out what you can do so that it doesn't happen again. amateur racing is about fun, so make sure you maintain that aspect! i have had difficulties in some of my races and thought about quiting, but i never again have... finishing last is SO much better than a DNF!!
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Old 09-25-02, 05:16 AM   #7
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Everyone has off days sometimes. Sounds like you might have rode your "race" when you pre-rode the course a week earlier. Don't worry about it, learn from it.
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