Now that racing is underway I’m on the road every week competing at the PRT/UCI level. The competition is the best in the country, and I welcome the challenge. But with that challenge comes a lot of getting your ass kicked. Eventually your legs get a little stronger—but perhaps most importantly, your head gets a lot smarter.
Lately I have found it is easier to doubt myself than it is to build myself up. During races my head is swarmed with negative thoughts. It’s easy to feel like you don’t belong among racers who have been racing their bikes for decades. Or to hear yourself breathing heavily and think you’re the only one suffering. It’s been a slow progression for me—lots of persistence and hard work. This year was my fourth time at Joe Martin Stage Race and I could recognize all the points where I used to get dropped as I whizzed by them on my way to riding in the break.
The mind plays tricks, so trick right back. For every inevitable negative thought, counter it immediately with a positive statement. This helped me most recently during a local race series. Three laps into the final crit stage I attacked and went on a solo break. In swarmed the negative thoughts— too soon, you can’t hold this, the headwind is too strong, you’ll be caught with one to go and then what?!. Even in this moment where I knew I was the strongest, I still couldn’t believe it. So I countered— keep pushing, smooth pedal strokes, they have to deal with the wind too. I finished on the top step and took home some much needed confidence.
Taking the chance to race locally throughout a Pro Road Tour season is essential. It’s good to be the punisher instead of the punished. It helps build confidence, work on skills, and strengthen the fields in your local community. Then when you line up for the bigger races, just imagine yourself right back there with your hometown crowds. And if you’ve only been racing locally, it’s time to push yourself to that next level. It will hurt, but guaranteed you will learn and grow as a rider and then start smashing locally.
When racing locally, make sure to bring your best crew.
Make sure to have chill times and enjoy the scenery.
Thank the officials for their hard work and take a glamour shot.
Still with me? Insider tip: The mirror inside the porto-potty pre-race is for you to look into your eyes and tell yourself how amazing you are. Try it.