7 Lessons I've Learned About Life from Mountain Biking - Singletracks Mountain Bike News
I decided against participation even before leaving Dubai and after extensive research, when I discovered the practical, logistical and financial efforts and implications of bringing two bikes from the Middle East to a faraway place in Jutland, Denmark, on a solo journey. I accepted and decided against it. And also I have only really started training more specifically on the TT bike four months ago, along with participation in only three ITT events locally during this time. I took off happily from Dubai with my road bike only. To be fair, the rules and regulations are there for a reason and I do take full responsibility for not reading them before submitting my registration.
Done is done and I accept the consequences. Luckily the consequences were no worse than I was pretty much forced to take part in the ITT Nationals It could have been a lot worse really. I am there anyway acting as support for one of the girls. The stars somehow aligned. At the race destination, I met with Svend 2 hours before my start time. Svend pulled out his tool box and adjusted his bike set up as close as possible to my own bike measurements. Not one measurement was correct. I changed back to my road bike and warmed up on the turbo trainer supplied by Svend.
Clear the mind and get focused on the task ahead…. I have been in this situation countless of times before when travelling alone for competitions. And every time when I have jumped on my bike stressed or cold, I have asked myself the same question: Why are you putting yourself through this?
And here I was again! On all borrowed equipment, set up right before the start of a small event called the Nationals, a competition between the best in the country. With huge thanks to both Svend and my dear mother, who offered their support from their big hearts, I even managed to fit in a 30 mins warm up on the turbo trainer. Svend supplied the equipment, while my mother unofficially accepted the role as my race assistant.
Mum, can you please find some tape or cable ties to fit my timing chip. Mum, can you please pull out my vaseline in the right pocket of my sports bag. Mum, can you please add electrolytes to my water bottle. It was her first time being support at a race and I was literally dishing out orders to a clueless helper, while turning my legs on the turbo trainer. It was either that — or start the ITT cold. I cannot thank my mother or Svend enough for their flexibility, patience and generosity.
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On another positive note and under the circumstances I was probably the calmest I have been in a long time. No one had any expectations of me. I was out swimming with the big fish, against all odds. I came into the competition expecting to place last. I would be very happy if I achieved 2nd from the bottom. I heard it was flat with 22 turns.
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As there was no power meter on the bike, I just received one last minute advice from my faraway coach: I rolled down the ramp and maneuvered out of town behind my personal marshal motor bike. I lack experience of my self-awareness. Get measured on raw power. I am not entirely sure how to turn a TT bike efficiently and safely. Again, I lack experience. I decided to take the same line as the motor bike in front of me through every turn. And I decided it would not be worth taking any risks and potentially causing damage to myself or my borrowed equipment.
Everything hurt and I was forced to take it down a notch. At this time I was on a long straight, but I only discovered I was on a long straight when I was far enough into it, to realize it was a long straight lack of preparation. I was overtaken too.
Also around the 10km mark, both my feet started to cramp, like serious pain in both my feet. I had simply tightened my shoes too hard. I always tighten my shoes before I take on a sprint for the finish line.
Subconsciously, I tightened my shoes before jumping on the bike. Tight shoes for the best performance. The pain was almost unbearable.
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I spent a considerable amount of time weighing the two options: I chose the first option as I was coming out of a turn and reached down on both sides. And I still took the loss of speed and momentum. I had to continuously wiggle my toes for the rest of the ITT. There was more technical navigation and another long straight along the way.
I did the best I could until the finish line. That said, the burden is on us as riders to do whatever we can to manage and lessen the risks--proper training, high awareness, right clothing. We, as leaders, are also responsible for managing risks for our businesses. This is why it is so essential to put proper controls in place to monitor progress and make mid-course adjustments as new strategic initiatives roll-out. Avoid Blind Spots --If we, as riders, inadvertently enter into a driver's blind spot we may end up with a good case of " road rash ," or worse.
It's imperative that we do the best that we can to limit our blind spots when running a business, too. How did the Japanese come to dominate the digital watch industry? The Swiss, who invented digital watch technology, discounted its value because they were blind to the fact that people would ever want an inexpensive, virtually disposable, timepiece.
Be Visible --The safest riders always wear brightly colored clothing and fluorescent motorcycle helmets. The idea is to improve the odds that they will be seen before by a driver makes an improper lane shift, and knocks a rider to the road. Leaders need to maintain their visibility, as well.
After all, our staffs need to see us in order to properly follow our lead. So what's the point of taking a highway, where you're separated from everything interesting and everything looks the same? Get on those back roads and get to really know the place you're riding through. Twisty roads are WAY more fun than straight ones.
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A straight, easy path tends to be pretty boring, so maybe try something a little more interesting next time. For those of us who rely on our phone's GPS far too often, that becomes a problem when riding on rural back roads that you're not super familiar with. So check a map before you head out and get an idea about where you're headed, the best route to get there, and what you might be able to see along the way. Sure you had a route planned out in your head, but you see something that looks interesting, or you meet up with other riders who are going on a different trip that might be worth joining for a bit, or you want to stop and enjoy a view or get some ice cream.
Whatever it is, if you get that urge to deviate from the original plan, give it a shot. Gas stations tend to be a little scarcer in the Adirondacks than they are elsewhere. If you see one, it might be a good idea to stop and fill up. Motorcycle riding is not always about getting to a destination although it is a very affordable way to do that!
It's also about enjoying the journey and everything you see along the way.