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Racing Bikes is All About Losing. Get Over It.

 

I haven’t won a bike race in six years. It’s unlikely that I’ll win one anytime soon. I train hard, (sort of) watch what I eat, and strive to be a faster bike rider in every other conceivable way. Even with all that time, money, and effort, my quest for victory remains Quixotic at best. In fact, I’m lining up at Bear Claw Epic this weekend in the Elite class and it’s almost assured that I get dead last. I’d need someone else to get a flat tire and a leg eaten off by a bear to not finish last. Seriously.

And I’m far from alone. 99% of the people at a bike race lose. And by lose, I mean get beat by one guy or gal who takes the top step of the podium. Afterall, we live in a society best summed up by a quote from a contemporary American philosopher, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” –Ricky Bobby. It’s difficult to understand why anyone would want to go pay good money to, in all likelihood, get beat.

So, why race at all? For me, it’s about the process. It’s about trying to lose a few extra pounds, take 10 seconds off a Strava segment, or keep up with another cyclist who usually kicks seven shades of shit out of me. Adding a race in there is extra motivation to get out to ride, push yourself, and set a new goal. If it was about winning, I’d undoubtedly fail. Every single race. But since it’s more about racing myself, I can be satisfied with how I’ve improved, or in a worst case, how I came up short. But that’s entirely up to me; my goals, my expectations, and my motivations. 

The key here is to not let a fear of losing keep you from racing. There’s always going to be someone faster than you. Even if you master the Expert class, moving up to Elite guarantees you get whipped at least a few times before you triumph. And if you start winning the Elite classes here in Northern Michigan, go race a WORS event and be prepared to get humbled. Instead of focusing on winning, or even podiums, focus on the work that will make you a faster rider. Not even a faster rider compared to others, but rather a faster rider compared to your past self. Fall in love with the process, not the results. It’s the best way to enjoy your riding and your racing.

So, I’ll line up this weekend, ego totally prepared to be battered and bruised. But as long as I meet my goals of feeling strong and staying motivated the whole race, I’ll be happy with how things go. And, who knows? Maybe the entire Elite field gets eaten by a bear and I end up on the podium. Now that would be pretty great. For me, at least.

Be sure to follow Wes on Strava and Instagram. Or don’t. Totally up to you. Happy trails. 

2017 Vuelta Competition: Kennedy Looks To Defend Red

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The second stage of the 2017 Vuelta Competiton is on deck this Thursday, with Ryan Kennedy charged with defending the leader’s jersey.  Continue reading “2017 Vuelta Competition: Kennedy Looks To Defend Red”

2017 Vuelta Competition Stage One: A Soggy Start In “Spain”, #YOUTH World Championships

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“The rain in Spain falls mostly on the plain”. That isn’t true. But the rain on around here falls mostly on the Vasa, and it offered up a wet and challenging start to four weeks of racing.  Continue reading “2017 Vuelta Competition Stage One: A Soggy Start In “Spain”, #YOUTH World Championships”

2017 Speed of Light Vuelta Competition Preview

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This week, the adults take on Stage One of the Vuelta, while the #YOUTHS battle for their own World  Championships.  Continue reading “2017 Speed of Light Vuelta Competition Preview”

2017 Tour Competition: Kennedy Cruises To Yellow

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The attacks never really came, and Ryan Kennedy made easy work of the Queen Stage en route to his third Tour title. Meanwhile, Max Jordan and the Stuart kids start a dynasty in Junior SOL and miniSOL.

Continue reading “2017 Tour Competition: Kennedy Cruises To Yellow”

2017 Speed of Light Tour Competition: Voss Into Yellow On Stage One

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The Youth Movement continues into the Tour, with Braiden Voss and Garrett Jenema putting the old boys to the sword on a beautiful night in the woods.  Continue reading “2017 Speed of Light Tour Competition: Voss Into Yellow On Stage One”

2017 Speed of Light Tour Competition Preview

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The biggest Grand Tour of the year is up this week, with the coveted maillot jaune up for grabs Thursday night.  Continue reading “2017 Speed of Light Tour Competition Preview”

2017 Pancake Ride Thank Yous

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What may or may not have been the 24th Annual Pancake Ride is in the books, and the kids at miniSOL and Junior SOL are going to be well stocked with snacks.  Continue reading “2017 Pancake Ride Thank Yous”

2017 Speed of Light WorldTour: Ladies’ Night

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Marie Voss, Susan Vigland, Kasey Wierzba, Lauri Brockmiller, Laura Webb… Ladies’ Night at SOL might be harder than most real bike races.  Continue reading “2017 Speed of Light WorldTour: Ladies’ Night”

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