Friday, June 7, 2013

My suck needs to get better

So where the fuck have I been?

The long and the short of it is: Trying to accept that I suck at racing.

Yes, this post is full of hijacked photos because who can afford them?! thank you Sportszone and Ivan Rupes. I linked to you, that makes it better right?

Thanks for the picture of me wiping my nose. This was the race where diabetes ruined it for me.

I've been cycling for a really long time but this is my second season trying to race. Notice how I use the word "trying". I didn't race very much last season after all the racing I did in the states with TT1 because I was too intimidated and afraid of my local racing options. Something I probably should have remembered for this year. I found that every race that I had the opportunity to attend was way too difficult for me. Ergo there was no point in even signing up because I knew I would just get my ass handed to me. Which is exactly what keeps happening. I know what it's like in other places thanks to old team mates but around here there are only a handful of races to choose from all season long. In addition to that, the population of women racing is absolutely pitiful. I'm talking handfuls in comparison to the fields in the states. The larger the field, the more likely we can all race better.

This year I thought I could pull off some actual results. I guess I thought I had horseshoes up my egotistical ass or something. 7-8 weeks during the winter training months without a bike didn't help.

One of the few races I stayed with the field for half of it.
With every race so far this season I have lost all my motivation and determination. Bike racing is in a world of its own. A very strange world at that. It's not like running where every finisher gets a medal and a congratulations. If you don't finish with the main field they practically remove the finish line. I'm constantly getting dropped and lapped and subsequently racing alone. This leaves me embarrassed and discouraged. Bike racing is all about the slipstream. It's about drafting off other cyclists, using each other and working as a peleton to get to the finish line faster and hopefully, as a group. Drafting takes away 30% of the work. There are tactics and game changers. But when I'm off the back and riding alone I just want to crawl under a rock and disappear. Don't even get me started on Killington "Stage" Race.

I know I suck. It's obvious that I suck. I am one hell of a good cyclist but not a strong enough cyclist to race at the level needed to stay with the field. I want to blame some of it on the courses, the lack of races and the small fields but I know that's just my ego not wanting to admit to my downfalls.

It's hard to lose dignity but I am woman enough to post this embarrassing picture publicly. From the wall of Effingham Hill at 15-16% grade. It wasn't just me though.

I thought about the effort I was putting into training and whether it was enough. You get out what you put in right? I know I'm not the most serious cyclist. If I want to kibosh an evening of training to go rock climbing with Ryan instead I'll do it. If I just don't want to go do hill repeats I won't. I didn't have a strict training schedule either. I did some hill climbing, intervals, drills and what have you but nothing was written down. Sometimes I had an idea but most of the time it was just that... time on the bike. I worked hard at all my efforts but it never seemed to change much. Or at least not that I noticed. I don't think I have what it takes to be hardcore on the training front. If I am put into a schedule I'll do everything in my power to get out of it. I simply can't train that way or it will make me miserable. So if I can't train seriously, how do I expect myself to race seriously? I'm the kind of person who will choose an easy paced group ride with friends because it's social over a solo hard training ride. It's just who I am.

Racing alone...

...and again. I smiled because I saw Ryan.

I want to love cycling again and so I'm taking the rest of this year to just build my base up. Ryan and I are no longer using the "T" word ("training").  I will reassess again in the fall or next season to see where I'm at. I'm still going to ride hard and often so with any luck I'll be ready to try again in the spring and if I'm not? Well, maybe bike racing just isn't for me. Maybe I just don't have that edge. It's a shame though because nothing beats the thrill of racing bikes. There's something I just can't convey about it. It's just that it always seems to be a solo time trial effort every race for me. This means I don't even really get the experience and practice of group riding either.

In the end, it's just "circles turning circles". That's what I need to love again. It bites the big one to write this and I've had it written for a few weeks. I don't really want to publish it.

It's not easy to admit to suckage, especially with something I love SO MUCH!


  1. First, can I say... that's a sweet bike!

    I'm wondering if you'd feel different about racing if any of the events were women-only. Not that you can't race with the boys, but trust me... it's harder to keep up when the other competitors are a lot taller than you.

    I completely understand your feelings about the T word. And I hope you find the fun in cycling, rock climbing, and whatever else suits you, in your own time. Good luck.

  2. Love the raw emotion you presented in this post :) I ride with diabetes as well (I am a man for the record - don't know why I wrote that just wanted to clarify), and have had the same experiences over the years as you. I love the fact you haven't given up, I also love that you are enjoying riding still. I don't know if they grade the races where you are, but if they do, my suggestion is to go down a grade. That way you will be leading the pack!
    Finally, you can't expect to be awesome from day one, just try and hang on as long as possible and before you know it, you will get better and better at hanging on and finishing with the pack.
    I won't profess to being a fantastic cyclist, but I definitely relate to what you are doing. Keep charging - Harrison

  3. So, I obviously have no clue about bike racing, but I do know that you are one hell of a cyclist. Don't forget that.

    Love ya, Scully!

  4. I think you need to accept that you don't suck. Sure, you're not as fast as you want to be or as fast as other people, but saying that you "suck" just isn't true. I should know, I've ridden with you... several times. You don't suck.

    I believe you'll get where you want to be.

  5. Come on, you don't suck, you just proved it with this post! Race against yourself, work hard and you will only get better and better. And thanks for posting the links to the photo websites :)

  6. this post is absolute proof of you not sucking. anyone who can post nose-picking, defeated-looking photos of themselves is a goddess!


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