“I hated losing more than I liked winning”
Yep… I’ve been trying to put the way I feel about racing into words and have never been able to find the perfect words until now. A few months ago I was watching an in depth interview with Ricky Carmichael the Greatest.Of.All.Time (7 time motocross champion and 5 time supercross champion) and the interviewer asking RC what drove him to win. Ricky said “I hated losing more than I liked winning” and those words have been rattling around in my head ever since I heard them. While I don’t spend much time getting interviewed (but I have been twice) https://youtu.be/P23nEbFp51o
I often wonder what is it that drives me (or really “us”) to line up for what we all know is going to be multi hour painful experience???
The answer to that question for me is not complicated…… I just want to race my bicycle.
I have the same euphoric feeling racing a local XC race with 5 riders as I do racing the Shenandoah Mountain100 with 650 riders. I also put the same amount of effort into every race; I show up prepared. Bottles filled and labeled a fresh kit, chain lubed and tire pressure set. I mean why put yourself behind the 8 ball and show up with a half flat tire and squeaking chain. Besides the things we can control there are plenty of surprises we can’t plan for.
You can try and formulate a plan for the actual race however I have yet to see one work out perfectly. There is always something that happens that derails those plans.
However I find that the more experience I get the better I’m able to adapt to a crisis occurring during a race.
Here are two examples of crisis control midrace:
During a marathon race this year the aid stations were close enough to only need to carry 1 bottle but a legend (Chris Scott) once told me years ago “don’t put all your eggs in 1 basket, take multiple bottles incase 1 pops of the cage and you don’t know it”. Sure enough going uphill a little mishap caused a bottle to eject and roll down a freaking cliff! I mean you couldn’t have made this stuff up it flipped out and rolled down a cliff!!!!! The good news; I had a spare bottle with nutrition mix in my jersey pocket ready to go I just needed to add water at the next aid station.
While recently chasing hard to catch the leader at the Chimney Chasing a Blitzing Beaver race in Charlottesville (Dave T. that was for you) I had a root toss my front wheel into an oak tree that started a “yard sale” of parts that went on forever. DANG! My seat broke off when the bike flipped over and hit me.
I remembered seeing someone at a local 6 hour race use a simple strap that normally holds your tube and spare parts to frame as a make shift tire boot to fix a badly torn sidewall. If it can hold a tire together it surely can attach a broken seat.
Tube and tools go into the jersey pocket and now I had a new way to attach my seat so I could finish the race. With a half of lap to go I went on to not only finish but land on the podium!
I easily could have called it a day and rode back to the car and started drinking beer but that inner demon reared its ugly head and said “no way! get your busted *ss on that bike and try to finish”.
I believe that is fine example of hating losing more than winning. Winning may not always be standing on the top step of the podium (it is sure is nice though).
A win is sometimes just leaving that race stronger, smarter and more experienced than when you started. If you flat fix it and do a hard training ride the rest of the race, if you crash brush it off straighten the bars and chase down those wheels in front of you, if you get off course turn around figure it out get back to it…etc etc etc
Most importantly listen to those guys and girls who have been at this game for a while; they have given me countless wins with golden nuggets of information and inspiration by just listening to them.
Yes I’ll admit it I do hate losing BUT that’s the very thing that keeps me coming back for more.