Beyond the Podium
There has been a lot of racing since my last blog post. There have been plenty of Podium Pics and race reports posted on Facebook and Instagram. This post is a little deeper than that. These last few weeks have also been jam packed with smaller local events. At times I have been called "too serious" or a "fun sponge" but this is usually from someone who doesn't really know me. Sure there are reasons other than fun to participate in endeavors of endurance but deep down it really should be about doing something fun that is also healthy or challenging. This is where I want to focus the post. Now before you go and think I have lost my mind or have gone soft on expectations hear me out. Peter Sagan is the reigning 3x back to back to back world champion road cyclist, and you wouldn't get much argument to say he's currently the most popular either. Therefore if the best cyclist in the world can have fun and still be world champion, we can still train and race hard and have some fun too.
I have spent the better part of the last 2 decades enjoying cycling and triathlon. In that time I have seen a great deal of change take place and many people come and go. I don't think this is unusual or that somehow people should share my perspective. The smaller races are less plentiful and larger events with higher cost and travel to far away places have begun to take over. I am not here to hate on big events nor do I want to drift into who killed the little man. Sometimes high cost and difficult logistics cause so much stress it is easy to lose sight of why you're there. In sports psychology we speak of self sabotage or the trap of trying too hard and getting in our own way. Sometimes this affects the outcome, sometimes the outcome is not in your control. You should be ok with that as long as you gave it all you had. Even with Triathlon and cycling becoming more and more mainstream, these sports seem to draw a lot of type A personalities, the super competitive and the "win at all cost" types of people. Very few get to make their living racing, most race for the "fun" of it, but often let results ruin the good time. I do believe that lack of fun is a big reason people burn out. Over the past few weeks I have seen both the good and bad side of this with athletes I work with. Wether it is missing out on a Kona slot, failing to repeat as race champion, or just having an off day, you have two options. Sulk and be unhappy, or learn from it and keep working to improve. At the simplest point of view, a race is about going fast, the goal is to win, achieve a personal best or see where you measure up relative to the competition. Its just a test, sometimes you pass sometimes you don't. At the end of the day its the experience and how you process it that really matters. Of course its fun to win, its fun to PR, but rarely is it fun doing what it takes to win until its over. The cliche that "misery loves company" is in fact a reality. When you get together with a solid group of friends or teammates good times can be had regardless of results. Over the years some of my best memories are from weekend rides and adventures without expectations. Grab your training partners and head out with having some fun in mind. Wether you attend a big national race or just hit the local scene remember to do your best but don't take yourself too seriously, surround yourself with like minded folks that get it and just get after it together. And if you happened to be at the Tour de Louisiane last weekend, smoke em if you got em.
This picture above is one of my favorites over the years. 2014 Rocky Mount and one of our first Category 1 victories. Cycling is a team sport and understanding how it works and being a part of that and seeing it all come together for a victory is awesome. Building a team is a process and truly becoming a team takes a little time and maybe some nurturing at times but there is nothing like the joy of suffering with your teammates. This holds true in triathlon if you factor in training partners and the misery loves company factors of long course racing or the friendly rivalry and trash talking short course racing provides with its much shorter duration of suffering and longer post race party.
The day after Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2010, our first big Ironman event as 4D.
Louisiana Triathlon 2018, our home town triathlon and a favorite event to get most of the triathlon team together.