May 27th, 2015 by Marie Dershem
Do you see this awesome picture? It is a perfect picture of strong women sprinting to the finish after 60 miles of racing in Frankenmuth. You can see the pure grit on their faces. Standing up, giving their all. It is beautiful.
My only issue with this picture is that it highlights all of the shoulds I’ve been carrying with me since that day. I should have tried different strategies to get away during those 60 miles. I should have used the wind to my advantage. I should have made someone else chase. I should have pulled less. I should have waited instead of charging the last corner and burning out early. I should have caught a strong wheel going into the wind on that downhill finish. I should have been easily seen in the picture… I should have been closer to the front. I should have.
But, the truth of it is clear – as clear as the strength and power in this picture. I should have, but I didn’t. The rest of that Saturday, I replayed various race scenarios, detailing all of those shoulds. Basically, I beat myself up about the race. This, my friends, is not helpful. Then I went the opposite direction, channeling the Saturday Night Live character, Stuart Smalley… a must see if you have no idea what I’m talking about (thus dating myself). But, my Stuart-channeling, self-affirmations weren’t genuine. I’ve never been good at self-promotion, even if it is just me promoting myself to me.
Then, I really began to talk about the race with people who know how to race and have far more experience than I do. I talked about my frustrations. I talked about my shoulds. I talked about what actually happened throughout the race. And, these experienced racers helped me realize several things. First, everyone messes up the sprint finish sometimes. It’s alright. Second, I learned strategies and tactics that are actually really helpful that I can employ in my next race. And, third, I learned that I can be both a strong rider and not make it to the podium.
Many good stories have either a good ending (which my Frankenmuth story does not) or a “moral of the story.” So, you’ll have to be happy with my “moral of the story.”
Don’t should yourself. Learn something from your experience instead. P. S. This moral can be applied outside of bike racing.
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