The classic pre-race anxiety is hard enough let alone when you psych yourself out over what your opponents looks like. And nine times out of ten, you’re wasting your energy. And this is why.
What are you actually perceiving when you pre judge someone? You’re basing their ability entirely on the aesthetic they have.
In fact I’m one of the worst for it.
But 80% of sport is won or lost in the mind. So don’t talk yourself out of it before you’ve even started!!
The beauty of our sports is that there can be 25,000 competitors. And you’re still only racing yourself.
If you come home with a smile on your face at the end of the day, you’re the real winner.
And yes, in the new debate I am on the side that believes if you finish last, you are a loser. And that will follow in another blog.
However if you have worked hard, improved and taken a step forward, that is to be commended.
Now I was always going to be nervous, first team time trial, first 25m time trial, two men that had just finished 10th at nationals to follow and only my third time on a time trial bike.
Safe to say I was laying eggs.
This wasn’t helped when half way through the warm up team bottrill purred past, full matching kit, perfect precision in their line, all 4 with slick disc wheels singing the slow, deep “vroom, vroom, vroom” sound we all love.
They looked sharp. Really sharp.
But why were we worried? Just cause they can afford nice kit, didn’t mean they could use it.
And often people are looking at you thinking the same thing.
I mean, this year I rode a brand new canyon, bambino helmet and a sharp skin suit. For anyone looking at a 12 year old on gear like that, they’re either fairly nippy, or just too rich.
A common phenomenon in cycling.
As the middle aged, mid life crisis cyclists begin to get more serious, the competitive racing side of the sport is evolving rapidly.
And people have realised that by throwing money at some nice gear, it does make a big difference.
That doesn’t make you fast.
Miles do that.
But my legs really wanted to play.
Dropping the 4th member of our team 15km in, meant we were a 3 man job from a long way out.
15km left one was hanging on.
And the last 8km was the Schofield choo choo train, dragging the boys home.
My eager, over excited legs having to control themselves.
A very bitty, jumpy first ttt. Not one to be proud of.
But we finished second. One second behind first, and almost 20 seconds ahead of team botrill.
And it made me remember, yet again.
There’s so much more to our sport than fancy bikes, shaved legs and middle aged men in Lycra.
Attitude, resilience, personality, the list goes on.
If you believe you can succeed, you will.
On that start line, there will always be people with a nicer bike, nicer gear, bigger legs, whatever else you judge them by.
And you will always bring it.
So stop worrying about the fanny with a 15 grand pinarello, he’s probably worked hard in other aspects of his life to deserve that.
Most of the time, you’re not even gonna be in the same race.
Just worry about yourself.
Lay it all out.
Hit that pb.
And go home with a smile on your face.