An optimistic attitude is needed in life and it’s needed in racing. Pretty obvious, right? I know this, you know this, and I’m sure we have all given the PMA speech to others, but it hit me last week that I wasn’t practicing it.
When I first started racing about nine months ago, my goal was to finish. Then it turned into not getting dropped. Clearly, these weren’t very extravagant goals and because of it, I kept selling myself short. I’m not much of a baby-steps kind of person outside of cycling, so why was I setting such limited race goals for myself for so long? With this kind of mentality, I wouldn’t win until I was 50.
Last week I looked for anything to keep negative thoughts from creeping in. In addition to my normal training, I listened to new music, read quotes, watched inspirational videos, and read race reports from women I look up to. It all helped, but what stuck the best for me was saying to myself, “I’m going to win.” At first I felt really weird even thinking such a thing. Am I insane? If nothing else, I felt exceedingly awkward because it seemed like such a cocky mindset to carry. When my coach or close friend asked how I was feeling about my upcoming race, I finally said it out loud - I’m going to win. Sure, I didn’t walk around belting it from the mountain top, but the more I thought it, the more I started to believe it could happen.
Saturday ended up being a challenging course with fair amount of climbing and a killer finish. I turned every single detail into a positive that day with one simple phrase in mind - bring it. I’m pleased to say that because of this, I made a break from the peloton on the second lap and placed fourth. No, I didn’t win, but while stuck in no man’s land for the last 17 miles turning myself inside out to catch the girl in third, I stayed positive and never gave up.