Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fighting the Mind

So I got my legs back. I entered Expert (as a result of some helpful encouragement) for the first time this past Saturday in Winter Park, not completely knowing what to expect. It was a really great course with some challenging, wet roots that kept me honest. I totally blew the start, thinking there was a few minute gap between the Pro and Expert starts. I was gawking off, not ready and was at the back of the pack off the line. Luckily, I was able to find some power and grab a podium spot in my age group and 4th overall.

I felt pretty good about my race. I made some mistakes descending some muddy switchbacks that cost me and I need more power on the flats, but I climbed very well. I left WP motivated for the upcoming week and excited that I didn't come in LAST :)

OK, motivated, feeling good. Now onto:

7AM this morning. I was at Carter Park in Breckenridge. A little tired mentally and emotionally, but decently motivated to ride the Breck 68 course as a training ride. I began climbing the rocky, rooted switchbacks and my legs felt great. The morning was crisp and cool and wildflowers were everywhere along the trail. I met a few runners and hikers, exchanged a few greetings and kept climbing. I continued on and came to Sally Barber Mine and started to feel something I really haven't dealt with while on my bike. Boredom. Yep. I was suddenly unmotivated for no real reason. I wasn't feeling physically fatigued, in fact, I felt like pushing harder. But I really didn't care if I turned the crank one more time. And my new chain was slipping so much, I was becoming annoyed.

In a matter of an hour, I had gone from wanting to ride 68 miles to wanting to get off my bike and, honestly, take a nap in the sun. I continued on riding and my attitude got worse. What the hell was going on? I had been looking forward to some solitude and exploring trails and roads I had never ridden before. I wasn't even noticing the beauty of Breck that was surrounding me as I rode along, head down, literally fighting the urge to quit the ride and head back the way I came. This was work. And not a bit of fun. Ugh!

I pushed on...and on...and on. I had previously ridden and loved the CT section of the course last summer, but really didn't enjoy it today and soon I found myself just trying to get this loop done. I went deeper and deeper into my head and as I got back to Carter Park, I was done. Boreas Pass did not interest me in any way today, despite the fact I have been itching to ride Gold Dust Trail since last summer.

Bored with my bike? WTF??? Sure it has happened on local trails I have ridden thousands of times, but totally uncharacteristic when I have driven an hour to ride new trail.

So what's going on? Well, here is my 5 cent self-psychoanalysis:

Intensity and passion are two attributes of which I posess more than my fair share. Starting as a child, I set and fervently pursued goals, and still today, I generally use my innate, intense passion to drive me beyond my perceived limits in a healthy and productive way. But somedays, namely today, my mind was just needing a break. I just want things too damn much sometimes...

So, of course, tonight I am persecuting myself in the back of my mind for wasting a good CTR training opportunity. But, in an effort to continually manage two powerful attributes, I am also thinking of these words:

"To combat oneself is the most difficult of wars; to defeat oneself is the most beautiful of victories"
                                                                                                                  -Friedrich von Logan
Ahh, some days the war is easier than others...and today was a tough battle with the mind.

Veteran cyclists out there: thoughts? advice?

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a veteran cyclist. Hell I'm not even a cyclist. I'm a freak with a single speed addiction. Anyway. I'm suffering from the same s*^t right now. I think it has something to do with what lies ahead. The Brother and I are headed out on a bike packing trip next weekend - Silverton to DGO on the CT. Then two weeks after that we will tackle the CTR ITT style. So.... my view of the world - the philosophy from The Philosophizer - is simple. Today, I'm not mentally conditioned for the short rides, for the pavement, for the normal. I'm been working for 8+ months on the insane - the 'anything but normal'. My mind is wrapped around pushing the bike, operating on zero fuel, dealing with mental issues. My mind is not on 'training rides'. Training rides? That was Jan - May. Now it's time to take care of the mind- ensure I can handle the unknowns. Make sense? Probably not - since I'm just a dude with an addiction, a single speed addiction, a bike packing addiction. So. Take care of your mind. You'll need the mental toughness for the CTR. You already have the physical s*^t taken care of. Oh The Philosophy. Yeah, I'm a freak. But I dealing with the same s*^t that you blogged about.