Three weeks to go. Just three weeks until my #mygoalrox event, the Scott 6+6. Am I ready? Yes and hell no.
Mentally, I’m in the zone. I know that I can do the distance, I know I can take the aches and pains of such a grueling event. After all the endurance events I’ve managed this year, and the multi day races, I am confident with this race. I’ll be tired, I might even be cranky towards the end of the second day, I’ll be sore, but I know I can do it, and I’m even pretty sure that I’m going to enjoy the 12 hours on the bike and actually have a pretty fun time.
I also feel the most comfortable I have felt about passing. I used to stress about letting others pass me, to get out of the way of the faster riders as quickly as I could which often meant I ended up in unsafe situations and less likely to be passed in a safe way. The more races I competed in, the more people I spoke to, including those elite riders who would pass me the most in an event, the more I realised I didn’t need to be so stressed. Spending time talking with the elite racers, with the average racers, with the good people that hit the trails, it’s obvious that passing people is just part of the race. It’s how it works. These are lap based races, and with the spread of abilities, there will always be moments of people passing. The elites reminded me, often, that those who are good on their bikes will move around you, so I never had to get off the trail for the Evocities series winners, Eliza Kwan and Jason English. These great guys would let me know they were there, would never pressure me, would take the opportunity to pass when we both agreed, and were determined for me to stay on the trail and they would move around me. Now, don’t take this as me never making an effort! I like to do a reccie ride before the race, not only to allow myself to be more comfortable with the course, but to give me an idea of good and bad places for passing. Then, when someone let’s me know they wish to pass, I let them know where I think will be good, and even though I don’t generally have to get off the track, depending on the part of the trail we are on, I may insist on moving off the track where I can ride much slower, especially if more than one person needs to get past. There are usually lots of thank yous and often encouraging comments from passing individuals.
I also used to get really rattled by the a-holes that are out on the course. For the most part, people are wonderful. Sadly, there are a couple of people who were at every Evocities event and I later learnt I was not the only person to have negative interactions with them. These people were the kind to push past either without letting you know there were following, or without waiting for you to give the all clear that you were in a safe place. On more than one occasion I saw some of these individuals push past people in front of me which resulted in the passed person crashing. These people weren’t the elites but were clearly racing for sheep stations. If Jason English can take the few seconds hold up whilst following me on each lap, then these middle of the pack racers can too. That realisation, and removing that guilt of holding people up, made it much easier for me to handle and accept the attitudes of some of the worst people out on the trails. Thankfully, as I mentioned, they are rare and mostly people are just down right awesome.
I’ve also got my nutrition and hydration down pat. I know what triggers I need to listen to in my body. I think I’ve got my bike set up sorted and I know which kit is comfortable for long rides and which isn’t. But, there are still some aspects in which I am not ready for the event.
Physically, I don’t feel ready. I’ve had an off and on training program over the last 10 months, leading up to this event. I have been trying hard, and then falling off the wagon, losing interest, getting sick, crashing out. I’ve learnt that I’m not the kind that likes to train for a sole event. I love training, but I love all kinds of training. I love variety and by trying to train with such a narrow focus (in a city that doesn’t make that terribly easy) it took away my love for the bike. So, when it comes to the event, I’m not sure I’ll be getting any PRs. I’m not sure that I will be even terribly consistent between my lap times. But, I am coming to accept that and to be ok with that. I’m going to go into the event with the knowledge that despite some inconsistency, I have been working towards this for such a long time, and what I want out of it mostly is enjoyment. This will be the hardest event I have attempted, and I am proud that I had the courage to sign myself up for it. I aim to enjoy the pain, to work hard and do the best with the body and skills I have, and get everything out of that day that I can.
So, mostly I’m ready, in some ways I wish I had achieved more, but then again, it’s been a new experience and I’ve learnt a lot from the process. I intend to enjoy my race and race it as my race, as it always has been. Once it’s done, I’m going to stop. There is so much I have learnt from this ambassador program and I will finally have some time to take it all in and reflect, something I feel we don’t do often enough.
Until then, three weeks more. I’ll keep riding, keep running, keep swimming, keep having fun and of course tapering before the big event. Most importantly, I’ll keep smiling.