At some point in time it is less about the race report and more about the race lessons. It was a year ago at a dinner after Hawaii 70.3 that I was introduced to the “race high/ race low/ what did you learn” table conversation.
RACE HIGH |Home (Canadian!) turf with Jasper + his crew of athletes makes for a special day. A race weekend with Mikey means we are well fed, my bike is clean + friendly banter ensues — perfection! And the swim…I swam in a straight line-ish, I swam with some girls and I swam with intent all the way to the beach. (That is a win when my previous swim was an ocean-perimeter journey on my own, so…progress!)
Full disclosure: I’m truly obsessed with the mental game of sport. I play mind tricks with myself the entire day to see if I can go just a lil bit faster, a lil bit harder for a lil bit longer. And when it gets tough, my secret is deep deep gratitude. Truly. I remind myself of all of the things I’m insanely grateful for. I start at the bottom and work up….#1 is always to have 10toes, #2 is no broken feet (because when you have broken a foot, you never want a broken foot ever again!), #3 is the comfortable socks on my healthy feet (because I always race in a fresh pair of socks!) and on it goes — I think about my childhood swim coach, I think about how lucky I was to have parents who drove me to swim practice — I’m grateful for My Man + My Bro, I’m stoked to see friends on the course and often pray Mikey won’t catch me! I try to get to 100, but I usually get to 10 and then repeat the very same 10. I have no problem sharing this secret with you because this secret takes as much effort as nailing your training plan. It deserves the same respect in my opinion.
And when the race is finished, I usually run thru another list of gratitude: for sunshine, for clean water, for aid stations, for friends on the course and a coach I adore, for an announcer who knows my name, for volunteers who make it possible. I’m grateful for the best outfit in the business from Coeur, for sunglasses and helmets from Smith, for a bike that I am sad to hop off of and running shoes that I’m stoked to put on. I’m grateful for hydration from Nuun, fuel from Prima and of course, bike support from Velofix.
All of these things make for a great day, regardless of the outcome. I think that is very important, especially in longer races that we never forget the small moments that get us to the finish line. So for all of that…thank you thank you thank you!
RACE LOW | I got my first penalty – a dunk in the sin bin. (i know i know..it happens.) I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that upon finishing the race, I was friggen disappointed. And mostly with myself — and my brain, who let the penalty linger for too long on the bike and take up too much mental space for at least 10km of the run. (9.9km too long!)
What sucks is that I wanted a fair race. I want a ref who will break up the pack of age group dudes drafting before they give me a penalty for passing them back too quickly. Because, alert to the age group dudes: if you are passing me in a train, you better keep that train rolling all the way up the climb. But when you pass me and then slow down, sit up and proceed to ride your bike all over the road — I’m gonna be pissed! Hold your line. Hold your pace. Or better yet, I beg of you, freakin’ accelerate and get out of my way.
The lesson is clear: I know I can be a stronger rider and hopefully ride my way out of these situations. And if I haven’t been inspired to do that yet, trust me you, the fire is stoked!
However, I think it goes beyond my lessons and learnings and speaks to a much greater issue called: females in sport. Let us have a fair race. In case you weren’t aware, the pro race is a completely different beast than the amateur game. I promise I’m not doing any of this for my ego but rather for the future of sport that says together, we can jump up, jump in and fight these battles. I’ll happily be at the back of the pro race and banking lessons — I think they will translate into life very well.
I sat on my bike in the penalty tent, while the ref tried to figure out how to re-set her watch (and I almost got another penalty for using inappropriate language in asking her to hit the start button!). The lactic acid streamed into my legs like a cement truck and I tried, oh I tried, to start counting my blessings. I mean, come on Stephy, you are on your bike after all. What I realized was that if I was drafting, put me in the sin bin. If I didn’t let another pro female pass me, into jail I go. But a penalty for getting mixed up in a group of men and refusing to slow down to let them pass me? NO WAY! Break up those dudes. Teach them how to climb. I’d ride much faster if I was on someone else’s wheel too.
As Pitbull says, everyday above ground is a good day, remember that! And every day with a start line and a finish line is a grateful day; I’ll always remember that too!
Onward to Challenge Roth…