I’ve been taking this week off the bike to rest and reset for the second half of the season. With some of my extra time I’ve been reflecting on why I race, and what makes racing fun for me. In doing so I’ve realized that I’ve begun to take it too seriously again. This is something that has happened before, and I try to avoid it, so I’m glad I caught it early on.
All last year I did a really good job keeping it fun and approaching each race with an open mind and curiosity. I had only been home from my mission where I didn’t train for nearly two years, so it was easy to not have any expectations and just race for fun. What’s interesting is that this actually led to a lot of really good races, and surprising myself by my abilities. As soon as I put expectations on myself and take it super seriously I’ve found that I generally don’t perform as well.
Nino Schurter is a really good example of this. At 37 years old he’s still winning races. Why? Because he likes it. Not just the winning, everybody likes that. He likes the training, the traveling, the process. He likes to continually prove that he’s the best to himself and the world. I remember being fascinated when reading that he drinks champagne before each race, because for him racing is celebrating. Celebrating the training, the work, and the sport. The work has already been put in, the race is just the time to party.
If the greatest mountain bike racer of all time can celebrate with all the pressure on the world on him, I think each of us can too. So keep it fun. And when I say don’t take it seriously, I’m not saying to stop training and stop trying. What I mean is to make it an adventure, laugh a little, and love a lot.
If you have a long hard ride, plan a cool route and make it an adventure. If you have hard intervals, ride a fun dh and throw some good whips. Don’t make racing everything. Have relationships outside of biking. Build other aspects of your life.
Racing bikes is amazing, but it’s only one amazing thing in this world. Train well, but have fun. And do other fun things too.
Those are my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours. Shoot me a message or comment below what helps you keep racing fun?