Monday, July 16, 2007

A New Low

I got pulled from a race for the first time yesterday....the Lafayette Crit. I started popping and decided to slow down and reintegrate so I could help my team mates. However, when the peloton came back around, Bob pulled me. I didn't realize that would happen or I would have kept working like a maniac off the back.

Then, I beat myself up for the rest of the day when I realized the last race I finished in the pack was Menlo Park Grand Prix in March. And, the last race I finished in contention for the final sprint was Early Bird crit in February. Now I'm really starting to question my ability to make the whole thing work. I am seriously lacking confidence right now. Is it just because I've spent all season doing mixed-category crits and hilly road races? Is it just a mental problem? Or, is it a fitness problem? Or is it both? Will I ever be successful?

Have any of you struggled this bad in the beginning and then overcome it? Please inspire me if you have. I need to be pulled out of my funk.

16 comments:

Beth said...

stick with it! you were just on vacation, so it takes awhile to get back into racing shape, for sure!

don't be discouraged. working hard and finally succeeding is what makes this sport fun. my first crit ended with a messed up face (http://bethbikes.blogspot.com/2007/03/i-dont-have-face.html), and my second one with a broken wrist. then i spent months working on my skills and trying to improve, and am slowly figuring this whole thing out.

it is just one race and the improvement is what makes it fun, not the scoreboard! good luck and keep at it!

CyclistRick said...

You are successful already, you just need to realize it. There are measures of success other than standing on the podium, though I know that if you keep with it you will end up there. You have been a successful contributor to your teammates accomplishments, and a successful contributor to the team dynamic. You have been successful in conquering, to a degree, your fear of the crit. You have been successful in moving past the issues with your back and not being able to walk at times. You are progressing, but with all progress the path is not straight and there are setbacks. Accept them, learn from them, do not beat yourself up over them.

Your progress may not be as fast as you would like. Perhaps it is time to wind down this season, working hard on the last couple of races, then for you to work with your collective support group (me, your teammates, friends, coach) to develop a strategy for next year that will avoid some of the frustrations of this year. That might mean different training, different equipment choices, different races ... all to be worked out. Take this year as your Wente, make next year your San Ardo ;-)

As always you have my full support ... just let me know how I can help.

chatterbox said...

Thanks, Beth! I know you've come very far this year in conquering your fears and finally getting some results. Thank you for the reminder. Hey, I'm going to come to the track this Saturday. Hopefully I'll see you there.

Cyclistrick - I know success is measured in different ways. I don't even look at the podium as success. That may be a ways off for me. Mostly, I just want to be able to contribute more in the races to the team and also be able to feel like I'm progressing more.

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

Ms. Chatterbox...Look at your training program. When had you planned to peak? You can't expect to be at peak fitness the whole season! In addition, Beth's comment on vacation is really significant. After my trip to France, I felt AWFUL on the first guys group ride I went on. I felt like my legs were not giving me anything, and I had to work so hard to just hang on. However, a few days later and I was feeling peppy again. Just give it some time, and look at your program. The season is winding down anyway...and then you can set your goals for next time! You've had a good season, you've helped your teammates a LOT, and I think from reading your blog over the season, that it's been a lot of successes! Don't get this one crit get you down!!!!! You're awesome!!!

Flandria said...

take it easy lady...

believe me, it doesn't help to be hard on yourself

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

hard or easy on yourself ... not much relevance when it comes to that crit.

personally, i think it's one of the hardest crits on the NorCal circuit. it cracked me last year and i didn't mind one bit that track districts for us old farts was scheduled same day ...


but, on a related note ~ i don't think there's any use in gauging race fitness on a crit. crits are hors categorie ... and should be treated as such.

they require SPECIFIC training and specific fitness.


bugger.

but, i hope you're having a grand time with all the rest of the pedalins.

xxx
ooo

alicat said...

I finished OTB in at least 4 months of crits in my first season before I ever could stay in the pack. And that was after 3 years of doing Ironman triathlons. Bike racing is a totally different beast then long distance riding or triathlon, or anything else involving bikes. If you're having fun, stick with it! I'd be happy to chat offline with you for encouragement and to share my own trials and tribulations from my first year of racing. I'm at allison dot krasnow at sbcglobal dot net if you want to email me.

chatterbox said...

kim - thanks for the encouragement.

flandria - thanks, I tend to be hard on myself. I need to learn to stop that and enjoy the journey more.

ov - thanks! I seem to have a knack for picking hors categorie races this year. At least I'll know what I'm getting into next year if I pick 'em.

alicat - thanks for the encouragement. I may take you up on your offer!

Chris said...

Hey Chatterbox. Cycling is about ups and downs. It could have just been a bad day. It even happens to racers who usually place very high. Check the post by Bryan called "Category 4 Adventures".
http://algomaha.blogspot.com/

Some crits seem to pull people more than others. I think it depends on how many racers and judges there are and the safety factor.

I think only you can answer your question. I certainly think you can do it. Remember that it is only your first year. You have the entire offseason to improve on weaknesses that you can identify.

Hang in there.

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

I always think midsummer is a tough time to take a break...most people are going strong after a few months of races, and then there's the heat to contend with. You shouldn't compare your performance to anyone but you, especially right now! That said, I know it's often impossible not to. For Lafayette specifically I'd keep in mind that if everyone is going strong, that will be doubly apparent to the lower cats in a mixed-category race, and while I love the Lafayette course, it is definitely brutal.

I got dropped last year as 3 in the 1/2/3 race. This year I finished in the pack, but I definitely had to play my cards smart to do it (like leaving that $150 prime alone...sigh). Next year maybe I'll win it ;). I figure as long as I'm having fun I'm doing something right!

Also, it's always good to ask the officials on the line what they do with dropped riders (especially if you're not planning on being dropped -- I think it gives you some stealth).

chatterbox said...

chris - yes, I like nice linear progression - something my analytical self can look at and easily measure progress. But, in cycling, progression may not be fully linear - especially after a break.

panda - thanks for the words of wisdom. Yes, one of the things I learned from this race is to ask what they do with dropped riders and not assume....

bryan said...

I'm not the only one ... not that it makes you or me feel any better. In anticipation of my next two crits, I'm going to work on gunning it from the start and redlining for a few minutes. Oh, and getting into my pedal.

It was humbling, but I've found my work has been focused so far this week. And that can't be bad, right?

chatterbox said...

bryan - thanks. Yes, new focus is good. I also had problems getting in my pedal for the first time this season, which instantly put me in the back of the pack. I guess I need to not take a good clip-in for granted.

CyclistRick said...

Panda - you uttered some wise words:

I figure as long as I'm having fun ...

That is the key ... have fun, then the rest falls into perspective. That has been my counsel to Ms. C since Sunday morning.

Vanderkitten ViP Team said...

What do you think you could have done differently preparing for your race? Did you believe that you were going to excel, or did returning from vacation make you a bit self-conscious about your conditioning and performance potential?

There are so many variables at the non-elite level, we all have day jobs, eat food that we might not have prepared, work a little longer and train a little less... that's why the top, consistently performing athletes dedicate 5-6 hours a day to train and prepare mentally for racing.

You are doing an incredible job just being out there, putting it all on the line and challenging yourself everyday! The only race that matters in life is the one with yourself. Are you satisfied with being better today than you were yesterday? I would be!

chatterbox said...

vanderkitty - thanks, and welcome! That is all good food for thought.