When people talk about racing they talk about fitness, line choice, and technique but rarely do you hear people talking about the mental side of racing. I remember a few years ago, I was racing most weekends and I was loving it but one weekend I turned up at my local for the SW Champs race and I just wasn’t in it: not only was my body tired but my brain was tired too. The race organiser, Chaz Lamely, said to me “If your body is tired you can race through it, but if your mind is tired there is nothing you can do”.
My brain wasn’t tired last weekend but my heart wasn’t in it. I’d tried to convince myself that once I got there and got on the bike I’d be fine and I’d love it, but after my first 2 practice runs I was holding back the tears, trying to work out how to find my mojo again. We only managed one more practice run which meant we would have to race stage 4 blind, and so we headed off for lunch.
I put some chilled music on, sat in the sun and tucked in. It was cool chatting with friends and soon we were off to go racing.
Stage 1: Despite (or may be because of) being determined to make the most of it I managed to wrap myself around a tree and have a bit of a sit down. Stage 2: Trying to let experience get me through it, just focus on each stage and forget about the rest. But managed to connect with another tree and bend my levers back. I could go on, but basically it was a lot of the same for the rest of the day, I thought back to what Chaz had said and knew it was true. No matter how hard you try if your mind isn’t in it there’s nothing you can do. So now I need to look forward to round 2, try to find my mojo in the meantime and make something of this season!Heather Kay, Flow MTB rider
Photo: Doc Ward