This week is my final week of training before hitting the UK race scene. I’m physically ready for battle and so this week is all about focusing my mind.
Lee and Flavia (Oliveira – a pro cyclist for Lensworld staying with us to train for a few weeks) asked me if I ever got angry in a race. The answer: no. I am not an angry athlete, and whilst many (Lee and Flavia included) channel anger as a way to reach new levels of suffering in a race, my motivation is different.
I think I’m motivated by a strong desire to be the best, I have a desire to feel strong and powerful and to effortlessly make my opposition suffer. It’s about reaching the nirvana of being at one with your bike and using it to dance around the field, to dominate the race and be the first to the finish.
But of course the effortless part of making others suffer is just a pipe-dream, and to win a race you must suffer just as much. And so racing is about nurturing my ability to suffer more than my opponent so that I can break them before I break.
That’s why the title of this blog (a quote shared by my DS Simon Howes) rings so true. Yes, I want to win. But just as much as wanting to win I want to end a race having given everything, to have suffered in the pursuit of myself or a team mate finishing first. Even if that goal is not achieved the race will then have been beautiful and I can cross the finish line satisfied.
Last season there were several races where I crossed the line feeling like I could have given more to the race, I missed opportunities, and over-saved my energy. This season I would rather blow up before the line having given all and finish last than sail across comfortably in the peloton feeling fresh enough for another lap.
So the challenge is now to translate these words into reality at my first race on Saturday: let me win, but, if cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
It’s going to be a painful 2016.
Image: Taken from Velominati Á Bloc – ‘If you can still stand after the effort, then you didn’t go hard enough’