E12-"E" is for Empty
Empty. That is all I feel right now. And it is not the empty of having spent all your energy and strength. All was going well until about 6 hours into the race. I sat down in the pits feeling “not quite right” and I didn’t get up again. Physically I was fine. Mentally, I was toast. For the first time in my life, racing was pointless. It hurts just to write those words.
I am going to take a little time off, to get my mind and body rested and regrouped. I will be back with a smile on my face and fire in the legs for the E50.
The day was not a total loss. I got to meet a lot of great people that I have had contact with through this blog. I shared pit areas with Chris Plesko. He rode an impressive race on his singlespeed, and his wife Marni pulled double duty in the pits for the both of us. Thanks! The racing went on without me, and it unfolded into a classic with Dave Harris dropping the hammer on the field late in the day, finishing with a record 14 laps. Lynda scorched the race putting in 13 laps to finish 4th overall, and 1st in the Women’s solo. My training/riding pals Chris Holley and his wife K.C. took the Duo field, putting in 14 impressive laps.
I am feeling pretty frustrated, disappointed, and embarrassed right now. There is nothing worse than watching the race go on and not be able to be a part of it. Well, I guess there is one thing worse. And that is watching the race going on, and having no good reason not to be a part of it…. Being mentally tough is something I have always prided myself on. Saturday I was the mental equivalent of a wet noodle. I went into a dark place that I had no clue how to get out of. It was a darkness I hope never to experience again.
ChrisJune 26, 2006
Take a little time off and regroup. No one can tell you how to find your way out but it will come. For me there was a 3 year (!) or more gap before I felt the spark to return to racing but I have a feeling you’ll be loving your bike again in no time. Reread your blog posts too, they’re inspirational to me and others and perhaps you’ll inspire yourself as well. Mental toughness grows on successes as well as perceived failures. Often when we look back later on, each one contributed in an important way that shapes the person and racer we’ll be in the future.
Marni and I had a great time and thought it was great to meet you and hang out. Just look at all the top racers out there, you’ve got plenty of years ahead of you. I don’t know when we’ll race again together but I’m sure it won’t be very long. 🙂
DickyJune 26, 2006
After being disappointed in Michigan I slept a lot and rode very little. I think I just needed to relax a little to get back in the game. Try not to dwell on it too long (like I can talk). Like Chris said, remind yourself of all that you have done in the past and that this was just ONE race.
Travis SwicegoodJune 26, 2006
Hey dude – sometimes it just happens that way. Dicky’s right, it is just one race. Some time off of the bike, some relaxation, and some mental recovery is all you need.
I think this is just a product of this time of season. The last few weeks (as you’ve probably seen on my site) have sucked for me. My legs hadn’t felt good, mentally I was starting to question all of the training I’ve done… basically going through the whole “what the hell am I doing?” I took 3 days completely off of the bike last week, then came back on with some slower rides, and now I’m back where I need to be mentally and physically.
Breakdowns – pyshically and emotionally – happen. That’s what we get for seeing how far we can push our minds and bodies before they break. Sometimes we take them right to the brink. When that happens and we recognize it, the best, and hardest thing to do is know when to throw the towel in for the day…
davehJune 26, 2006
If there’s one thing I’ve figured out over the years, it’s that nearly every dissappointing performance starts in the legs, not the head. If the legs are willing, they will carry my head through anything.
I know you’ve been racing a lot since March or so – that can set the stage for mid-season burnout. So along with your soul searching that’s bound to occur, be sure to take an analytical view of your training and racing as well.
The answer is in your legs, not your head…and your heart is as big as all outdoors so you’ll spring back quickly.
Carl BuchananJune 26, 2006
Like everyone else already stated, you will get back at soon…with a bit of rest. It must also be stated that it takes a lot to be able to know to quit before you do too much damage. You should commend yourself for that.
Nice work nonetheless and keep the epic writing coming.
JasonJune 27, 2006
Hang it there. It comes back.
GaryJune 27, 2006
You may want to start eating nothing but watermelon for three squares and do 30-35 hour weeks. it seems to be be working for sly.