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Friday, March 29, 2013

Big winter for this Betty

Hello all,

Big winter for this Betty with loads of life changes and distractions. For the last few winters I have been lucky enough to take a training trip to the south in February. Since our race season starts usually in the mucky late April mud here in Ontario there is not much trail time before the first race and as much as the trainer in the basement is a great place to watch a few movies and cross country skiing is an excellent workout who would pass up the opportunity to go south?! I started with 3 days at a Betterride Clinic at Bootleg Canyon, in Nevada back in February 2008, then I tried the Roady hang out, Tuscon, with it’s snowy Mount Lemmon in the desert, then I tried Victoria, BC (not south but assured to be temperate aka damp and cold) at a camp with the BC Bikerace crew, then a couple of Steve Neal Performance camps in SoCal where the weather is perfect and the terrain challenging to say the least. For 2013, I decided to go big, kind of a multipurpose trip really, a self-guided, no-schedule, my way adventure .

On February 3, 2013 with my bike and some essentials packed, I got into my car, and waved goodbye to my daughter, “See you in March!” Our cars these days are really computers on wheels, they almost drive themselves! I put the address of the condo I had rented in Southern California into the GPS, my ipod on shuffle and started driving. Oh, what an amazing 32 days I had. I drove for a couple of days in the grey weather of February in the North East but found wonderful riding for 4 days in 4 different states; Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, before arriving at that address where then I spent 3 weeks exploring trails in California, north and south, and then started my trip back through Nevada, Arizona, Utah with equally breathtaking riding stops till I drove back into the grey about the middle of Nebraska, where I then just drove and enjoyed the 75mph speed limit till I arrived back at that new garage in a new neighbourhood in my old hometown.

In the 3 weeks that I have been back I have been kinda running in all directions and, of course, back working. I did take a couple of days off training to recover from the driving, but I’m back on the trainer and have even got in a couple of fantastic crosscountry ski days. It’s like that here: winter till May. Now my mind has turned to the ‘season’ which is fast approaching.

I started ‘racing’ by just entering a couple of events that were timed and my thought was it was a safe way to do this mountain biking on my own as there were marshalls in the woods if I crashed, arrows in the woods so I wouldn’t have to hesitate on the trail about which way to turn and someone had my name down in case I didn’t come back! Of course, I caught the bug and the events became challenges and the challenges became races, always striving to do my best. Of course doing one’s best implies there is a ‘worst’, so a competition with oneself, no? As well, competition brings an anxiety with it and so more stress, but all that seems to dissipate when you’re flying in the woods and oh, the sense of accomplishment at the end when someone takes note of your plate number and assigns a time to it.

Competition, I know I have talked about this before but it seems to be a constant on my mind, I suppose if I am honest competitiveness is a personality trait I possess but frank competition in sport is a new experience for this old Betty. I know at a race when everyone is at that start line a little anxious, I’m thinking about you and you are thinking about me…but once the horn goes one has to go back to the self-talk of doing one’s best, if you end up being faster or slower than some other betty out there, so be it, but if you think about it too much during the effort you will likely distract yourself from the task at hand, and actually go slower than your best.

So what is involved with doing one’s best? There are some things we can control and loads of factors that are decidedly out of our control. To do our best we concentrate on those things in our control, and leading up to the event we train and practise, and trust that those factors out of our control will not hinder us. The more we practise the more likely we will be able to do our best when the time comes.

There are so many events, they’ve already begun and go through till the fall, check out the calendar on our website and a complete listing of all bike events can be found on the OCA website, they have a great calendar this year. First, we have to start with a plan of which events on the calendar are the ones that are the most important to us and when they are. Then, we need to plan backwards, timing wise, to hopefully peak at the right time. For me this season, my key event is at the end of the summer and the races that happen during the season, while I will work hard to do my best will be training efforts. The goal will be to try my best in the race setting, to be focussed on just that, and to be pleased with the effort afterwards, as that might not be the time when I’m the strongest or the most rested but my attitude will need to be positive so I can go on and train again the next day. I’ll let you know how it goes ;0

I am so excited for it all to start, fretting that it’s all coming so fast and I’m not ready yet, and there seem to be so many factors out of my control, you know, crazy life stuff, but I am determined to do my best. Will you join me?

Ride On!

Melinda
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