Friday, April 06, 2007

It's OK if you don't win

I've been dwelling (obssessing) a bit lately on what it is about guys like Crazy Cameron, Paul The Protester and Turtle that get the Reptilion core of my brain in such a lather.

And I think I know what it is.. I really don't react well to people who play the victim and then abuse other people when they lose or the race isn't going their way.

Which in a round about way got me to the point of today's post. It's OK if you don't win. Seriously. In fact, the chances that you will win on any given day or night are pretty low. And my experience is the more pressure you put on yourself to win, the more frustrated you are going to get.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't try. It doesn't mean you can't ride a great race. But, it does mean that if you put such a great amount of pressure on yourself that you cannot psychologicaly deal with not winning unless you yell, push and scapegoat other people then you need to sit down and get some help. Because at that point you aren't a bicycle racers. You're just a bully.

Now, I know that sometimes our adrenalin gets the better of us and we do and say stupid things in the heat of the moment. God knows I've given out my fair share of undeserved scoldings (which I usually immediately regret and apologize for) and recieved them as well. The thing is, if you find yourself constantly getting "screwed" in races you have to look at the common denominater (you). Stop being the victim and take ownership of your racing.

Update I:
As a side note 2 out the 3 riders mentioned above upgraded without points. Paul strikes me as a Graham Brown type.. I may think he's a loose canon and a reckless bully. But he does win races. So he channels that into wins. CC and Turtle both upgraded without points and only seem to race training races (CC races Masters on the weekends) and are pretty clearly outclassed even at PR. And let's be honest; PR is 75% Cat 3 riders. I remember being a Cat 3 and being outclassed by Cat 2 riders. Which makes sense, they were Cat 2s. I got frustrated, but after awhile I got over the fact I was outclassed and started figuring out how to get better and eventually got my points and upgraded. I won 3 or 4 races the year I upgraded and even then remember being nervous. If not for the fact that we ran a lot of the spring races as combined Cat 2/3 fields anyway I probably would have waited another year. Anyway, this all makes me wonder if we are doing ourselves or other riders any favors by letting people upgrade or being so hell bent on upgrades ourselves.

The big difference in the Cat 1/2 and the Cat 3 field is that guys don't upgrade away. And the ones that do "upgrade" to NRC and/or Pro racing generally come back. So you end up racing against guys with a lot of experience under their belt. If someone's sense of cycling identity is not yet deleveped enough to deal with being beaten down on a regular basis until they get better is that really good for the sport locally? Wouldn't we be doing ourselves and them a favor by encouraging them to race 3s a bit longer and then upgrade? Would it matter? These are pretty undeveloped thoughts on my part just some stuff that occured to me as I was kitting up for a ride.


At Friday, April 06, 2007 10:20:00 AM, Blogger Russell @ said...

It's OK to lose?? Pru-dog, that's crazy talk!

Just kidding, of course. If you judge success in cycling by your own personal wins (not you specifically, but everyone in the sport) then it is a sport of failure. It's rare to win races for the vast majority of cyclists. Even Kenny and Tubbs lose more races then they win. It's a brutal sport in that regard. I think that's why it's best to embrace the team aspect. If you contribute to your team winning, your chances greatly increase for a 'win'. It might not be you crossing the line first, but it's a team sport. It's about the team winning not the individual. When people realize this, it's a lot easier to find success. Just my opinion, for what it's worth.


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