Apples and Oranges.
I lined up for the 2010 Mount Ogden 50k with one primary purpose in mind—to find out where I stand in comparison to last year. I wanted to go into the final days before the Point 2 Point with some sort of barometric reading of my fitness. A way to zero in on a few race-day expectations and goals. And hopefully, a green light signaling me onward in that Quixotic pursuit of “the race of my life.”
But then something unexpected, and admittedly disappointing happened. I finished 8 minutes slower than I did in 2009.
Eight minutes is an eternity. Days. Eons. A lifetime.
All sorts of thoughts streaked through my brain in a panic laden effort to explain and understand.
“The mud. It had to be the mud.”
I looked over the results.
“Times are slower than last year. A lot slower.”
I relaxed, a little.
“The mud. It must have been the mud.”
But then, what if it wasn’t? I poured over my 2009 and 2010 race files. Why was I faster last year? Higher heart rates. A negative split. I climbed quicker. Descended better.
But I felt very good on Saturday. When I stepped on the gas, the engine responded. But the course was sloppy and soft. And I did have to take a few moments to dig mud out of the crown of my fork so the tire would spin. But still, eight minutes is a long time. And so, I know nothing today. And that leaves me feeling rather unsatisfied. And perhaps a little discouraged. Which frankly, might be a good thing given the lofty—and probably self destructive—ambitions that have been steeping slowly and gloriously in my addled brain.
However, any lingering doubt or over-analytical anxiety can quickly and easily be abolished. How?
And in fact, that phrase stood at the fore of my effort on Saturday. At some point I had to dismiss the 2009 comparison, and the upcoming 80 mile odyssey, and focus purely on the here and the now. And once I did that, I found myself riding back into the fringes of the fastest finishing times of the day. Today is not tomorrow. And a 32 mile cross country race with 4,000 vertical is not the Park City Point 2 Point. Apples and Oranges.
And yet, lingering and festering is the nagging reality that eight minutes is a long, long time.
Exit Question: It was the mud, right?