Today was a day full of sunshine and smiles from me. I didn’t listen too much to the negative thoughts that flew through my brain in the beginning of the race. I kept my pace, enjoyed the views, and most of all enjoyed the company.
I have learned a lot already out there as I pedal my legs continuously. And, thanks to a suggestion from a friend (thanks, Rebecca!), I want to share some of those lessons in today’s blog.
Lesson #1 : Always check that your cleat bolts are tight and locked in!
Today took us up and over French Pass. It’s a beautiful trail that winds through high mountain meadows and streams. It is also extremely steep; the majority of riders walk the last section to the top. I am one of those riders who had to push her bike up to the high point of French Pass, basically 12,000 feet. As I jumped back on the bike to descend, I noticed that my left foot would not clip in. I immediately knew my mistake. I did not double check and tighten the new bolts, and had somehow lost one on the walk up the pass. My only choice was to descend without both feet clipped into my pedals. I made it safely to the aid station, where, thanks to the awesome folks who organized this race, had some extra bolts for me. I have to add that, thanks to the well designed new shoes that Pearl Izumi gave me, I really didn’t lose much time not riding clipped in.
Lesson # 2 - Understand that thoughts determine feelings.
Today, I made a conscious decision to change the negative to positive. And, if that wasn’t working, to laugh at myself more. As a large group of folks passed me on the first climb, I began to feel downtrodden. The word, mediocre, was on repeat in my mind. My imagination was alive with pictures of cyclists passing me saying “mediocre, Ash!” Then, I laughed at myself. I knew where this “mediocre” came from; the movie “Mad Max Fury Road.” It was interesting how just one little change in my thinking pattern helped me tremendously. Before I knew it, I was out there climbing my little legs off with a smile on my face. And, I even passed a few folks. The reminder of today’s race, I rode for pure enjoyment.
Lesson # 3 - Keep the straight path.
This is a two part lesson. First, when mountain biking, it’s wise to keep two hands on the handle bars and eyes focused ahead. I narrowly missed clipping my bar on a tree today. I looked back to see if a competitor I passed was close by and clipped my handle bar slightly. Thankfully, I was able to pull off a little track stand before falling over. The second part of this lesson is more psychological. I’m learning to not worry about where my competition is, and focus more on my race. This has helped me get out of the negative space and into a more positive energy. If I’m not focused on everyone else, I ride smoother, I race with an inner joy. Do not look to your right or left, look ahead and focus on your goals.