Heading Off to Worlds! Pre Race Jitters?
Well its getting down to the wire! We will be packing up all the gear today and heading down to Borrego Springs, CA tomorrow morning. Due to all of the racing and time off work, we (Nikki and I) were unable to take extra time off, so we are cutting it close. Its about a 9 hour drive tomorrow, so I won't get to preview the course or ride a test lap, but I am ok with it because I have completed over 900 miles on this course in previous races.
Do I get nervous? Well, not really and here is why:
(Photo Above From Race Across the West) As Tyler and I were headed to the start of the race, I was nervous, like really nervous. He told me he was too. Just looking at this picture gives me some jitters!
I recently read a book by Carrie Cheadle, On Top of Your Game, and it goes on to explain that your body reacts the same way to nervousness as it does excitement. Increased respiratory rate, heart rate and heightened alertness. This was interesting to me because before most of my events I always felt EXCITED and never nervous. I always perceived my body's changes as excitement.
Of course as I roll to the start line of an event, yes I get a little nervous. One thing I have done to help calm my excitement or nervousness, whatever you want to refer to it as is visualization and breathing.
Anytime before the race, that I think about the race with excitement, I visualize myself riding the bike, having fun, working hard and crossing the finish line. As I visualize myself crossing the finish line I do this with the thoughts that I completed whatever my finish goal was. This brings peace, happiness and gratitude to me which then also lowers the excitement level.
As I complete the visualizations I slow my breathing and increase the depths of my breath. Just by breathing slowly, in through the nose and out through the mouth, it begins to calm the body. If you have not checked out our free 10 Day Meditation Program, I highly recommend it. Do you breathing practice, it is so good for numerous different aspects of cycling, but can also help with issues like sleep and anxiety. Plus its free!
So pre race jitters? Nah, pre race excitement! I have put in the work, I have done the training, I have made the preparations. I explain it to the people I coach like this:
Imagine that you are a machine, lets say a car engine. As we go through the year and put in the training required, we are building the machine. Now that it is race day there is nothing more we can do to improve the machine. We just have to go run it. Being nervous, worrying or re-hashing small details and what-if