nerves and perspective: my first cyclocross race (is tomorrow!)

I’m already wringing my hands about my first cyclocross race.  The race is tomorrow and I am at the point where I need medication to stop obsessing about it.  I literally dream about it, every night.  My Facebook and twitter stream is filled with cross race images.  At my computer I sit and type, filling pages with my solitary focus:

All work and no cross makes Karen a dull girl…

All work and no cross makes Karen a dull girl…

All work and no cross makes Karen a dull girl…

Yeah, it’s that bad.  So what am I obsessing over?  Like anyone I want to do well.  In an open field with 15-20 racers “doing well” could take on a bunch of different meanings.  I want to have realistic expectations but also realize this could be a grand exercise in public humiliation.

What’s interesting to me is that I see this behavior in my son and I’m always responding by telling him “Of course you won’t be an expert at it right away!  That’s why we practice!”  He hangs his head and digs in, still wanting to be as good as Tony Hawk even though he just got his first skateboard last week.  I realize now that I am exactly the same way, even though I know better. I still want to be seen as highly proficient at pretty much everything I do.  This isn’t realistic, and just by reading this back I realize I’m doing a great job at sucking all the fun out of it.

So I give myself a little smack, because I deserve it.  I need to keep this in perspective and remember I’m doing this for fun.

I decided to create a list (another anxiety manager I often employ.  Also it makes me appeared highly organized) of goals for my first cyclocross race experience.


2.) Finish.

3.) Try not to be lapped.

4.) Finish mid pack.

5.) Podium or top 5 finish.

6.) Blow everyone away and get attention of Cannondale Cyclocross scouts and a contract offer.

You see my wish list is grounded in reality and quickly ramps to fantasy.  I’m still a little kid thinking I’ll play major league ball someday.  Except I’m a middle-aged mom.  So let just focus on the having fun part.  I should take a lesson from this unnamed female pro cyclist from the 2010 Cycle-Smart Northampton Cyclocross race.  I was poised on the sidelines with my camera, snapping shots of the women on a difficult point on the course.  She got hung up in the sand pit and fell off her saddle.  I was taking pictures and she just came up smiling.

It’s one of my favorite cycling images ever.



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About Karen

Mid-life female amateur athlete focused on cyclocross, mountain biking, and road cycling.

2 responses to “nerves and perspective: my first cyclocross race (is tomorrow!)”

  1. Donna Lynn says :

    The apple does not fall far from the tree…and I am speaking of your father (age 67). He still has fantasies of playing pro football….have a great day tomorrow and call me when it’s over.

  2. Laurel says :

    Great job Karen, takes guts to do that!!

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