Just returned from Austria with mixed feelings. Even though the result on paper was good (3rd place), the feeling in the race was everything else but. This race was a great wake up call
I’ve had some time since the race to think things over. The biggest challenge yesterday wasn’t the competition itself, but more my own expectations. Even though the danger of high expectations is a thing, that I for sure already am aware of, it really hit me in the race. I knew I was a contender for the victory of the race, since my shape is good. The victory was what I went for and probably I had too much focus on that and let myself be controlled by that goal, unfortunately.
The reason for my disappointment is, that I handled the issues in the race in a rather unprofessional way. Well, here’s the story more detailed: Everything went really good in the days leading up to raceday. I liked the course and had all the lines on the rooty, rocky and slippery course dialed in. I had a front line start and was able to sprint away in first position when the gun went off. So far so good. When we went into the narrower climbing part of the course I was on Gunn-Rita Dahle’s wheel and felt good and strong. I even made it to the front and got a little gap on her. Then, when we hit some steep climbs, I shifted into my lowest gear, which didn’t work and forced me to jump off my bike and run the uphills. At first I had no idea what was wrong and got my bike back into one of the heavier (but working) gears. I was frustrated about seeing Gunn-Rita ride away, while I was fumbling around with my bike being caught by riders from behind. I was completely hit by bad emotions about how to get through the race with a doubtful working bike. I carried on, often having to run the uphills, since I didn’t have low enough working gears. My frustrations unfortunately affected my riding. I felt completely disconnected from the bike instead in control of it. Bwaadddr, not a good feeling!… I often slid out on the roots and even managed to crash, seeing my bike fly 10 meters down a steep hill side. Wooops!
At this moment, I was sure that my race was over, but luckily both my beloved bike and myself were able to continue. I took some deep breaths telling myself to relax and get back into focus. I rode the best I could and worked my was forwards, but had difficulties really getting into “the zone”. I crossed the line in third positions, happy to get a break from the bad feelings of the race.
Looking back, there are several things, that I could have done different. Just before my warmup, I wanted to put a little bit more air into the rear wheel to avoid any punctures. Unfortunately the cartridge was clogged with sealant and it was impossible to get more air into the wheel. Instead I changed to the spare wheel and went for the warmup with the wheel working perfectly (yes, because I didn’t test ALL the gears through.. or checked the air pressure either), so I was actually standing on the start line with a way too hard inflated, not perfectly shifting rear wheel without knowing. hmmm!..
I am glad that this was not a World Cup or a World Championship!
So far this season, all my races have gone really well. And as I initially said, that have made me put my expectations too high. It’s not really the ideal position, since it leaves no room for breathing or mistakes and most off all just room for bad feelings. Well, well, another lesson wiser.
In the upcoming two weekends I will race in Denmark (Varde) as well as in Germany (Heubach), before returning to the World Cup races. Plenty of opportunities to do the fine tuning