Monday, July 12, 2010

I Want A Rock

Of course.  I’m getting a little nervous about Colorado Trail Race.  From work and moving and pedal breakage, I’ve had to cut short or miss a couple long rides in the month since Kanza.  And so I’m feeling like my fitness is a half step behind where it was this time last year.  That’s where most of my worry lies, not in equipment choice or route finding or logistics or any of the other thousand things that would be equally likely to inspire worry.  

Saturday's final rock tally. 

I was feeling like I haven’t quite been eating the snake as much as I should be this many weeks before an event like that.  So yesterday I parked in Bent Creek to climb some gravel roads: 476 to 5000 to 1206 to 5041 and back.   I had the seat bag and bar bag along, so strapped them on the bike and added weight by filling them with a random assortment of stuff from the car: couple extra liters of water, an entire bag of cookies, some batteries, the spare change from the ashtray.  I was also pushing the Flow/ Rampage combo up front (it's Dicky-approved!), which has approximately 450% more rotating weight and 300% more rolling resistance than I usually go for.

Started up the road and the worry kicked in.  Worry worry worry.  The bike still didn't seem heavy enough to give me the training I was looking for.  I stopped and picked up a rock off the ground and put it in the seatbag.  Every time I caught myself worrying about the CTR, I stopped and pick up another rock.  A rock representative in its size to the worry I was feeling.  

Eventually I found myself stopping less often to pick up rocks.  With each rock I added, I shed a worry.  The worries were strewn behind me down the road and all I had left to do was ride my bike.

And maybe it’s the worry that drags me down.  The less I allow myself to slide into the pattern of worry worry worry, the lighter the bike will be, the better my ride will go.  Worry is distraction and negativity. My best racing experiences-- maybe not my fastest, but my most satisfying-- are always the races where I roll up to the start with a minimum of worry.  Of course, not adding a rock every time I start to worry would also keep the bike light, I suppose.  The trick for CTR will be dispelling worry without adding rocks in its place.

By the end of the ride on Saturday I’d been riding a 51 pound bike, but my climbing speed didn't really change over the course of the six hours.  So was the worry holding me back as much as the rocks did, or more?

* thanks to They Might Be Giants for the title pun...


  1. All I can tell you from my prep for this race is get out there an push your bike up steep hills.....and work on your core strength. Fitness/speed helps, but if you can't push/hike your bike or if your back, abs, arms fail...speed/fitness is nothing.

  2. Pisgah is all about pushing your bike up steep hills. Next year you should come out here to train!

  3. no need to worry, you are a rock.

  4. WTG, training all Rocky IV style.

  5. 'snake is delicious' has become my suffermantra. Thanks Emily!

  6. DANG. Philosophy, esoteria and bike racing all together. Thanks Emily!

  7. I like the idea of picking up rocks every time I worry about something.

  8. I can hardly wait to watch your SPOT move along the CTR. I will be there in spirit, making those pedals a bit easier to turn over.