After a weekend of racing which I would rather forget about, I realised sometimes you need to take a step back and put things into perspective. Whilst cycling is a huge part of my life, it isn’t everything and I am privileged to be living a dream. I know many would kill to be where I am right now so it’s not the end of the world.
The unfortunate drawback is that I am struggling to see where it all went wrong. This is where the help of my coach Simon and my support team come in. They are able to look at things from the outside and to add a different perspective onto what I have already looked at and possibly missed. I feel as though my training has gone well, my nutrition is good (Ash makes me some bad ass salads!) along with the other important aspects required for success but something just isn’t allowing all the dots to join. We will have to figure it out. There are so many different aspects which need to be worked on in order to come out ahead.
The Presbyterian Classic is one of the biggest crits in the USA. We would race a ‘back to back P loop’ to try and put some of the big prize purse in our back pockets. The evening didn’t pan out for the Stan’s boys as we may have hoped and I walked away with another DNF behind my name. There were some positives to draw from the evening and I have learnt more about the beast that is American crit racing.
Stan’s Team on the day. From left to right: Show Pony, Dilly, Bill and Junior Mint.
Lining up on the grid.
We were privileged enough to be put up in the Hilton Hotel for the event compliments of the race organisers. After an early morning spin I took on the buffet breakfast with full force. Hilton Hotel Buffet Breakfast – 0 Chris 1. With our bellys full, we bid farewell to Dilly and Junior Mint, as Brian and I headed out to the Noda Grand Prix. Another crit held in the Noda suburb of Charlotte, which I may add seems to be like a really cool city. We had arrived early for Marilyn’s race, and Ash and I spent our afternoon getting to know the “Smelly Cat Café” well, a funky coffee shop on the course which was set in and about the alternative neighbourhood.
Come 5.40pm we were behind the start line and eager to make amends for the previous day’s race. The pace was fast, faster than what one would expect at a ‘local’ race and closer to that of a national level crit. Anyway, I positioned myself well in the first half of the race, until I started sliding backwards through the somewhat whittled down group and then eventually out the back. Another DNF.
To say that I was gutted would be an understatement. The worst was, that as I mentioned before, I couldn’t really see where I had gone wrong. There wasn’t anything standing out with a big red flashing light.
Today (Monday), I’ve had some more time to think about the weekend. There are areas where I can improve on. After questions of “what am I doing here” last night I’ve realised that I need to take a step back and look at things in the bigger picture. Whilst I love bike racing it isn’t everything and I am fortunate to be enjoying the experience that I am. For that, I will continue to try and make the most of it. I’ll keep on fighting and doing what I need to do and the results will come, I am sure.
Enjoying a pre race espresso at the Smelly Cat Cafe.
Railing the corners.
All images credit: Ash Smit