Friday, December 5, 2014

I'd Rather Be Good than Lucky

Cyclocross has a little bit of everything in it, including the element of chance/luck. These past few races I haven't been so lucky. Or as Ray Charles might have said, "if it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all."

For instance, in my Saturday Jingle Cross race, I dropped my chain in a crash. The crash itself was a bit of bad luck in itself. Dropping the chain made it worse. But where I was really unlucky was how the chain dropped to the inside, becoming wedged in between my crank and frame. That cost about 45 seconds and several places before was back on the attack. Then on the first lap of Sunday's race, somebody dumped it right in front of me, forcing me to dismount and run through an icy/muddy bog, This resulted in frozen debris solidly jammed into my right cleat.

There was no amount of smacking the pedal that would dislodge the sediment. As a result, I couldn't clip-in for the rest of the race. Fast forward to the next week at the Omaha Weekend, when I flatted after clipping a course marker with two laps to go. And at Frosty Cross this past weekend, a section of course tape snapped in heavy wind and blew right into my drive train as I rode by. If I had been a fraction of a second before or after, it's unlikely I would have had an issue. As it was, I lost precious time getting off my bike to unspool the tape from my cassette.

Granted, I did a lot of this to myself by taking higher risks than necessary, like hanging fat turns that put me closer to tape/marker stakes where calamity could happen (and did). There's a fine line between risk and reward. I'm at that phase where I'm still figuring out where that line is.

On the road back home from Frosty Cross this past weekend, Mark, Lucas and I were talking about our training plans. Lucas said, "in cyclocross, you get out of it what you put into it." Those words are simple, but so very true. Cyclocross demands focused work, in both being able to repeatedly drill it on the rivet, and in being able to handle a bike in the corners. If you neglect cornering skills, then you won't have a chance to recover. If you neglect power, then you won't be able to hang with the big dogs on the straights. You simply need both.

Cyclocross isn't meant to be easy or lucky. It's difficult. Those who prevail do so by putting in. In the end, you get out of it what you put into it.

That's why I'd rather be good than lucky.

Thanks for reading. Happy Friday

Snychronized Dismounts at Frosty Cross. Photo courtesy of Ian Richards

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