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Ruining it for yourself…

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Photo Ben Hovland

This fall I raced more cyclocross races than ever before, it was the first year of the All-City X Fulton team, and I ended up doing four Bandit Cross' and ten "official" cross races.

I'd like to say that I had fun and loved racing, but the truth is, I ruined it for myself like I always do.

Let me explain...

It's not that I didn't have fun hanging out at the races, or spending time with my team, or cheering for my friends. I love all that stuff.  I ruined it with expectations, as I tend to do with many many things in this life. 

It happened with mtb racing in my teens and early twenties, with alleycats and now with cross. At first it's all fun and games and light hearted, but once I start doing well, nothing but podiums will do. If I don't place or finish first, I am thoroughly disappointed with myself. 

Eight years or so I started racing alleycats and fell in love with racing again after being a disillusioned mtber. The speed, the thrill, the new set of challenges, the idea of making a name for myself, of seeing any rider on any street in this town and knowing that if it came down to it they couldn't touch me, etc. After a few years and plenty of wins, I began to think of myself as the fastest guy in town, the best of the best, and I started to put so much pressure on myself that if I wasn't feeling 100% or my legs were sore or whatever, I wouldn't even come out anymore.  It wasn't fun, and it wasn't worth the risk to my reputation or ego to finish midpack. (forgetting that even at my peak, I was getting beat often (Landon was the more consistent racer and best router in town))

I put so much pressure on myself to win, that all the fun disappeared, the process was lost to the result. 

This year I found myself doing this again as a Cat 4 cross racer. A Cat 4, for fucksake!  At Cat 4 you ain't the best at anything, the midpack 3's will dust your ass.  But here I was again, worrying about the result instead of having fun just being there riding my bike with friends.

My New Year's resolution is to get out and ride and race as much as possible. To lose with grace, to say screw the results, and enjoy the opportunity to ride harder than I ever could in a non race situation.  Our sister brand Surly, is proudly stating that "Racing Sucks," but the only thing that can suck is the attitude you bring to it. This is true of any situation. The desire for a certain outcome affects how we experience the process. 

I'm sick and tired of ruining the moment with unrealistic expectations of the outcome. I want to change, I want to better myself. I want to enjoy every bit of next cross season.

Comments
Guest

Larry

January 8, 2014

Ben - Yeah, just have fun.  Forget about achieving your genetic potential, at least on a bike.  Even a Cat 1 victory is nothing.  You ain’t elite unless you have a National Championship medal hanging on your neck.  Even then, who really cares about it except you and your mother?

Larry

Guest

Devin

January 8, 2014

good perspective Jeff. never lose sight of the fun. as soon as it’s not fun, it’s not worth it.

Guest

bsimon

January 14, 2014

Rock is dead / long live rock.
Racing sucks / see you out there next year.

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