To begin, I felt way better today. Radiant sunshine, stupendous trails, and great company got me through. Unfortunately, my feelings were still not enough to make up time against my competition.
The day’s race took part on a section of the Colorado Trail. I couldn’t help looking down at my bike with nostalgia. Last year, my bike frame was weighted down by all my camping gear and food, causing me to walk a few of the sections I rode today. I reflected on how comfortable and confident I felt as I raced through the flowing single track last year, knowing that the only thing I needed to do was keep trying.
Today was such a contrast for me. Try as I might, I just don’t pedal uphill as fast as my competition. I have strength and confidence on any sections that are flat, downhill and possibly slightly uphill. But, as soon as the terrain turns to a steep climb, I crumble like a piece of gluten free bread. Climbing is my weakness. The only thing I can do about this weakness is keep trying.
I realize that, anyone who knows about the Breck Epic, is thinking: “Ashley, you definitely chose the wrong race if climbing is your weakness!” This is why I wanted to give this race another try. If I only do what I’m good at, how will I improve?
Riding today I couldn’t help but reflect on a cognitive bias that I read about recently, the Dunning-Kruger effect. Basically, this psychological theory states that certain individuals have a cognitive bias that mistakenly asses their cognitive ability as greater than it is. I have a professional UCI and USA Cycling license, but should I? Have I overestimated my abilities on the bike, Dunning-Kruger style? This is not me being negative, this is me being honest. Now, if I were racing in the non UCI category this week, I would be on the podium. Is it better to be last place in the elite category or first, possibly second in the next category down. I am not too sure, but I feel content with where I’m at.
With all this said, I still had fun out there today. I was still smiling and thankful, yet again, for the opportunity that has been given to me. A good butt kicking is actually the perfect antidote for the Dunning -Kruger effect. And besides, what’s more important than listening to a lesson? Tomorrow is another day! Another day of excessive climbing, but at least I know I can keep on trucking out there.