It’s all relative. 

We have relative challenges and concerns.  As we grow and develop, conquer our fears and complete our goals, the very elements that use to worry us, are no longer important.  We move up and on to larger challenges and loftier goals.  It’s interesting how you can try to change your perspective forcefully, and try to make yourself think or feel a certain way….yet at times it is just requires time and experience to develop yourself.  It is all relative. 

In June 2008, Nature Valley Grand Prix was the most terrifying bike race I had ever experienced.  Granted, this was just 3 months into my racing career.  I tried to survive my first NRC race, and failed.  And this year I found myself racing, and finishing on the podium of national level races.  I felt fearless and confident in the domestic peloton.  Yet, in May 2009, the same impending feelings of doom reoccurred on the start line for a Ronde van Gelderland UCI 1.2.  Suddenly, that was the most challenging racing moment in my career.  As the season progressed, I was back in France at La Route de France in August and had to try to suppress my fear and nerves before the start.  But as entered the stages, I was no longer trying to survivethe race, I was racing the race.  There is a big difference there.  I went from a “flight or fight” feeling to a confidence to race aggressively and hard.  So much can change in a year, and I have great expectations, but cannot rush the issue.  These feelings are all relative to my experience and my confidence.  As much as you can try to cultivate this and force yourself to respond a certain way, you cannot control your own fears sometimes.  However, several times this year I was thrown into the fire…kicking and screaming the whole time…and survived.   Iwent from trying to survive to trying to win.  These events made me stronger, and at the time I thought I wouldn’t make it, and now I look back and realized that I belonged there the whole time.  With each new step, I have to continue to tell myself that, but with each new step I continue to grow.  It’s all relative, but I have some big goals to complete.  

I went on a group ride with the Endurance PTC gang and my coach, Charlie… These rides use to be challenging, and I would worry about all the “what ifs” that a group ride consists of… I had to chuckle to myself as I completed this ride without a second thought.  The things that use to “scare” me, or challenge me, just one year ago, are not relative any more, but I have other fears to conquer, like the local yoga class.  Ha.  There is nothing as humbling as my attempts to complete a yoga class without giggling or falling over.  To have so much conifdence in one area of my life, to feeling completely useless in another.  What is challenging for me, like any yoga position, is not challenging to even the slightest devoted yogi.  But, do you ever feel like the more “advanced” yogi attends the beginner class to show off their headstands to those that can’t even do a backbend?  I mean seriously, a headstand in a beginner class?  It’s all relative., I guess.  I won’t take it personally.

From traumatizing races, to the rides that use to be challenging, to downward dog, there are relative challenges that we face on a day to day basis.  If we constantly stay within our comfort zone, we will never grow.  However, if we force ourselves, ever once in awhile, to get outside of our normal rhythms, and step into the fire, we may discover that we belong to be there… This being said, I may never belong in a yoga class, but I hear it is good for me…or something like that. 

In then end, it’s all relative.  From national calender to international competition.  From group rides to racing.  From a 50 mile ride to a century to a Gran Fondo… Whatever your challenge is, conquer it.

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