Should I go? Or rather, do I want to go? I’ve been asking myself that question for a couple of long unmotivated weeks now. For months I’ve had my plan all worked out: local racing, National XC champs and then Cairns World Cup. The reason for doing Cairns was that it would most likely be my last opportunity to do a World Cup, and having it in the city I was born and grew up in would be a nice way to go out.
I remember my first overseas World Cups where there would be a bunch of us just hoping to not get lapped out. (NB. If you are 80% slower than the lead riders first lap you are pulled out before the start of your next lap). My last two races in Houffalize and Pietermaritzburg I managed to avoid the 80% rule but I quick check of my training diary reveals I was doing about twice as many hours on the bike than I do now. In fact at my fittest I would average 20 hours per week leaving not much time or energy for anything else. That doesn’t include bike maintenance, gym work, stretching and increased requirement for naps.
Right now I have a nice balance where I’m working full-time, feel like I’m being a reasonable parent to a daughter who now has a demanding schedule of her own and even get out for the occasional social event. So if I’m not going to throw all that out, where does that leave me for Cairns? I’d like to say my family would get the opportunity to watch me race but it’s unlikely they will come if it involves walking very far or up an incline. I’ve established that they really don’t ‘get it’ so who am I racing for? Travel for XC racing doesn’t involve a lot of sight-seeing. You just see about 4km of trail repeatedly for 4 days, memorising every rock, tree root and corner, noting the gear required for certain climbs and places to drink. Compare that to a marathon where I can turn up the day before, race then enjoy the area for a few days before returning to the real world.
While wearing my PCS Coaching hat I dole out a lot of advice to my clients that I’m not sure I’d heed as an athlete. It’s created quite a self-awareness that I tap into more often as I question why I put myself through certain things. Most of my clients are not out to win prize money or stand on a podium. They just want to be better than they are. One of my favourite mantras is “he who stops being better, stops being good” (OMG did I really just quote Oliver Cromwell?). I’m very aware that a lot of them would love to ‘suck’ as much as I do on a bad day. It makes me think that I should finish what I started (as I told a rider last week), appreciate what my body can still do with the time I can devote to it and, basically, HTFU.
See you in Cairns.