|"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." Juma Ikangaa|
We had another good cyclocross practice at Royal Oaks Park yesterday. One of the racers—a guy whose cycling accomplishments are far more impressive than mine—told me that he was glad he had fought against the impulse to skip this week’s session. We all have days when we’re “not feeling it,” and sometimes the best cure is simply to get on the bike and see what happens.
Another of the Royal Oaks regulars told me that he thought our practice races were actually tougher than the WCA race in his category back on Saturday in Sheboygan. That’s mostly because he is a Cat 5 who spends his Tuesdays chasing guys from higher categories, but let’s give some credit to the course at Royal Oaks. It is uncommonly hilly for a cyclocross course and offers few opportunities to recover from big efforts.
In Sheboygan, yet another member of the Royal Oaks gang asked me about the willingness to suffer. I can’t remember the exact words … something like, “During a race, how do you silence the voice that tells you to stop putting yourself into such extreme physical distress?” For me, the competitive impulse reigns supreme during a race. But mental toughness can be trained. Hard efforts in practice make hard efforts in competition seem less extraordinary.
Seven racers who regularly attend the Tuesday practices were in action at Sheboygan. Their results varied widely but they all would agree that their experiences at Royal Oaks made them better prepared for actual competition. We will continue through Sep. 30. After that, there just isn’t enough sunlight at the end of the workday.
CrossVegas Streams Live Tonight!
There have been a few pro cyclocross races already this season, but nothing on the scale of CrossVegas. Each year the event serves as the unofficial kickoff to the domestic season, and the field always includes a handful of top European pros as well as the best Americans. You can watch the action live at http://www.behindthebarriers.tv/ tonight at 9:45 p.m. Central.