Probably the question I was asked the most on Friday night was why I wasn't racing. At the time I think I brandished my beer wizard staff and said something about other priorities, but maybe it's time to reflect a little closer as to why I chose not to race the first cross race of the season.
I mean, the main reason is because I'm pretty unfit right about now, and the last thing I felt like doing after work on Friday was wearing lycra in the cold, feeling like a vom. I like pain as much as the next cyclist, but I'm not stupid, despite what anyone might say.
But there's also a big loss of confidence playing a part as well. It's at about this point that Sean the Man would scoff, tell me to run a 94'', and just fucking back myself. Which is totally true, but it doesn't take away from the fact that racing, and to a lesser degree training, requires a certain tactical suspension of disbelief.
Simply put, you have to believe that you can do better, get fitter, improve and, eventually, win races. Otherwise what's the point? Sure you can ride your bike and have a ball, no one is denying that, but then why race if that's all you want to do?
Right now I simply have no real urge to trick myself into thinking I could race like a mad dog. When people ask me when I'm going to start racing again, I just shrug my shoulders and say: "when I feel like it."
Brendan wrote something similar the other day, mentioning that you have to have total faith in yourself, mentally and physically, to consider it worthwhile flogging yourself out on the road and on the ergo. Right now, a bit like Brendan, I'm pretty happy going to shows, listening to records, and reading books that, up until a month ago, I've been too tired to read. Not going to lie, it's been a rad time.
I've been on my bike, and I've had a ball. But every time I put it in the big dog, I'm reminded of how much work I have to do, if I want to achieve any of the goals I've been aiming for.
At this stage I'm pretty happy taking my time.