Another event, another new experience. A couple of years ago I had made my way to Napa, California for the Singlespeed Worlds – and it was a week with friends that none of us will forget. The race itself, however I found physically difficult and made more so by my inability to cope with the heat. I hit the wall about halfway through the race and my friends will vouch that I was a dribbling mess of a singlespeeder at the end of that one (so much so a passer-by took pity and returned with a Budweiser and a peanut and jelly sandwich, that bizzare combination that I’d never thought I would actually try!). Many bottles of beer later (and a rather raucous evening all-round) I was still reflecting on my fitness inadequacies.
Moving on. Sunday 26th September just gone and 3/4 into a two-lap enduro in the Forest of Dean and I find myself now hitting the “mental” wall. That dark place where self-doubt and cramps creep in; you haven’t seen the guy you were chasing down and you can feel yourself being reeled in by the guy behind you who paced himself better than you. In this case that guy was my friend Bedds and whilst it tweaked the pride when he crossed the line a mere couple of seconds ahead of me, we all (four of us in total) put in a sterling effort in the Sport category raking up 7th, 9th, 11th and 12th places.
Whilst I will confess that the results had left me feeling bewildered and downright angry with myself at falling foul to the mental wall (there’s still work to be done with my mojo!); it did also result in the realisation that I need to recognise progress. Fitness, competition, ambition: there’s no end, just continual improvement. At that moment in the Forest of Dean I felt as unfit as I had felt after the race in Napa back in 2008 but in reality I’ve come a long way.
So, this time tomorrow I’ll just about be en route to Heathrow for New Zealand for the 2010 Singlespeed Worlds – I’m almost excited… Just one more day in the office… ; )