Everyone loves new shoes, the fresh clean feel and new smell, it makes anyone smile. Well after another month of really good questions behind us, I was able to choose the winner of the Sole Sport Sandals. I wear these things practically everyday, whether around the house or after a ride, they are truly magical. Evie Johnson asked a great question considering we are dead in the middle of race and riding season, and she is the lucky winner of June’s prize.
Q: Racing is tough–and really rewarding! I’ve been racing two series this year and have seen some good results. All second places, and last weekend I got my first Cat 1 Win! After my win last week, I felt the pressure really ramp up for my race this weekend. The chatter about the course, and ride strategy is great, but the chatter about who is racing and where we all stack up is interesting because the pressure to win again is really obvious. Any tips on how to deal with the pressure you not only put on yourself to win, but also dealing with the pressure others unknowingly place on you?
A: Pressure to perform is a tricky thing. Yes, racing is addictive and rewarding in so many ways. It’s also sometimes not a ton of fun and can get very stressful and hard. Pressure to perform is often self-imposed. Your friends who are talking about ranking and placings are just excited and happy to see you do well. They will still be your friends if you have a bad performance. It’s important to regularly re-visit why you started racing in the first place, what you love about it and why you are there. It’s probably a mix of motivations including scoring a good result. Controlling stress is an important strategy for me. Of course I am nervous before almost every race, but I offset that with doing my best to prepare and train properly so I can stand at the start line and feel like I’m ready. I also practice quite a bit of internal dialogue to let myself know that a person’s worth is not based on one race performance. A good day or a bad day will not change who you are.
I have the most respect for athletes who can lose gracefully, pick themselves back up, learn from the experience and race well another day. I also look at an athlete’s entire body of work and the ones who have many consistent results are more impressive to me than one flash in the pan performance. The bottom line is that it’s bike racing and nothing more. Racing is a powerful, wonderful experience in so many ways. Putting yourself on the line and working hard for a result is a worthy endeavor. However, extra pressure just makes you waste energy and burn calories you could use for pedaling. Just keep a realistic view and don’t forget why you signed up in the first place.
Thanks to all who entered the contest, and remember even if you didn’t win, I still answer your questions in the Ask Reba Archive. Now go out and ride, and stay tuned for July’s giveaway of a Specialized Prevail helmet!