At what point did we get so caught up in the "racing" that we forgot the reasons we started cycling in the first place? For many of you, being tangled up in pressure, competition and race fever may not be something you're familiar with but at some points of the year, I have struggled with it; the pressure I might put on myself for no particular reason at all.
Over the winter I had a few things on the go that wittled down my immunity, leaving me unwell and fatigued. Some motivation faded, my physical health wasn't 100% and yet I was still forcing the racing. Sure I enjoyed it but there was a point in time in which I reflected on the months that had passed and couldn't remember a time which I'd been a participant in a race, purely for enjoyment and involvement, as opposed to a competitive athlete.
Not too soon after, a dear friend of mine invited me on a weekend away to do a MTB race as a team. Turns out she was injured and couldn't "race" but wanted to be involved in the great event. And just like that, we were road tripping up the coast. The car full of bikes and gear, delicious portable treats I had made and two singing their hearts out to bad pop songs. It was an entirely different feeling than usual in the days leading up to the event, and most noticeable the morning of. We were there to have fun, enjoy some sweet single track and be a part of the awesome MTB community. I did double laps for the day and can sincerely say I enjoyed every moment of the race. The sun was shining, I played around with skills and lapped up the freedom. The day was spectacular and my cheeks ached from smiling so much. How had I left it this long since enjoying an event without the pressure of racing?
I guess this was a lesson I could take for my racing and training in the future. It is so important to remember the reasons why I cycle. Sure I love setting goals and pushing myself mentally and physically, but there's so much more to it; the freedom, the friends, the opportunity, the clarity and the coffee. Grab a friend, grab your bike and hit the road or trails for the pure joy it brings.