I’m 40. She’s 4. We both raced cyclocross this weekend.
She told everyone who would listen how fast she was now that she was on a pedal bike. She lined up with the big kids and held her ground as they pushed forward and hemmed her in. She was excited and primed. She was strong and happy.
I told everyone I was old and didn’t belong racing elite class. I stayed at the edge of the starting grid even hesitating to take a front row spot after the official opened up staging. I looked at all the other women and felt like I didn’t belong. My goal was to not be lapped and have a top 10 finish (17 signed up but only 12 raced)
The woman ahead of me did a UCI race in China earlier this year! This is not middle-age mom class.
We started racing and the fast at the national/international level women opened a gap in the first half lap. I was sitting in the second group of 5th-9th as we traded places. To my surprise, I was more aggressive with the bike handling and managed to get several passes on inside corners when the other women went wide. Of course, where pedaling and power were needed, they passed me! I worked hard to keep the negative self-talk quiet and remember that all the women were getting tired. My usual script involves believing that every other racer gets stronger each lap and I’m the only one working too hard and getting slower. Surprisingly the results showed consistent lap times. I finished the race in 5th place and thanks to the (amazing!) equal payouts from the West Sacramento Cyclocross Gran Prix I won enough money to take the family to dinner and am considering buying socks to match my Team Roaring Mouse kit. In short, it was AMAZING. I raced hard. I was proud.
Here the tie in with my daughter. Not 1 day after the race and the negative self-talk started again. My result wasn’t from the hours I’ve spent on the trainer riding after our daughter goes to bed. It wasn’t the 30-minute runs I fit in during her gymnastics class. It wasn’t the once a week weight sessions or yoga class I take during my lunch hour. It was the other women had bad races. It was Scott giving me water hand-ups every lap (which was actually vital). It was that my mom had come to babysit so we were temporarily relieved of parenting duties. In my mind, my results had nothing to do with what I’ve put into cycling. In my mind, my results were an anomaly and I am unlikely to have another great race. I don’t want my daughter to ever have these thoughts, to have this doubt, or to minimize her work and accomplishments. This means starting with myself. My only CX season goal this year is to quiet my inner dialogue. If I can take responsibility for my failures in life, then I should be able to take credit for my success too. This is going to be hard! Wish me luck.