Setbacks and Success
Setbacks and Success
photo: Andy Vathis

Another two World Cups have come and gone, and just like that, we are closer to the end of the season than we are to the beginning. All things considered, these last two rounds were very successful for me, and incredibly successful for the team as a whole. In terms of results, camaraderie, and improvement, we had a golden trip.

I’m honestly both a little relieved and a little surprised at how the racing went, given the month I had leading into these races. My training had been going well, with lots of solid hours logged on the bike after CZE. Then, three weeks before the Andorra round, I sustained a sit bone injury that prevented me from riding a bike. The first week was really rough - I think I had 3 or 4 meltdowns where I was overwhelmed by the fear that I may not be able to return to riding (or at least, not without significant time off). I was terrified, and I wasted a lot of energy being wrapped up in this fear. To be honest, I had never experienced a setback like this during my cycling career. I didn’t really know how to handle it. I’m lucky that I had an incredible team to lean on and help me get back to health and bike riding (and I’m really grateful to them!). But I can’t deny that it was a stressful month. It took a solid 10 days before I was able to ride again with a modified set up, and even then with quite a bit of pain, but as I wasn’t doing any further damage I needed to get on with the show.

At the current place I’m at, I operate with an “all in” attitude with respect to my goals, and it makes setbacks scary. But at this point in my life, I don’t want to pursue my goals with a more “balanced” attitude. I want to be all in. So while I wouldn’t change the way I’m pursuing things, or the emotions I’ll feel when things are less than ideal, I do want to be better prepared to handle setbacks when they inevitably arise.

These races proved to me that training doesn’t have to be perfect (hell, it doesn’t even have to be CLOSE to perfect) for the racing to go well. The thousands and thousands of hours I’ve put into this won’t evaporate with an acute setback. For me, being better equipped to handle setbacks is as simple as being aware that they might happen, and expecting training to have its ups and downs. Being blindsided is what makes challenges so, well, challenging for me. Being prepared for setbacks, and consciously experiencing gratitude when the preparation goes well, are the best strategies for me in successfully handling bumps big and small. As they say, “plan for the worst and hope for the best”. And when things go well, don’t take it for granted.

Win, lose, we’re always learning. I took some big lessons away from these past rounds of the World Cup. It’s very hard to appreciate these learning moments when you’re in the thick of them, especially when you can self-describe as a drama queen (like me, ha). But with a little perspective, I know they’ll serve me both as a human and athlete in the long run. Just as training stresses the body in order to force a physical adaptation, challenges/setbacks in life stress the mind+body tandem, thereby forcing personal adaptations: increased resilience, competency, and maturity, to name a few.

We’ve still got a dense schedule of racing left this summer. The second half of the season starts this weekend with National Championships at Hardwood Hills, ON. Come up and cheer us on if you’re looking for a fun weekend activity! And as always, thanks for your words of encouragement and support :).

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