It's a common issues with endurance racers and I am no different. No matter how great the race goes, I always search for what needs improvement or what went wrong. I am never satisfied with simply saying "that was a great race - had some issues but finished it out in the end." This was no different. Instead of looking at the results and thinking - wow those were so fast laps given what happen prior and the conditions we were racing in, I looked at the lap times and fretted. My laps were slower then I'd planned. I could have been more consistent. I should have been able to more closely match the women on the 4-coed and 5-coed team. Did it matter that I ended up doing twice as many laps? No. The women on the 4/5 coed teams are always among the fastest and so that's who I turn to for my comparisons. Which in turn leads to ever more criticism.
It was no different out on course. On the climb, I kept thinking - oh, I'm giving away time here because I can't just power my way up. I had to be judicious with my effort for fear of my hamstring spasming and preventing me from riding. I also have a feeling that I was the only person who cleaned the Jem drop and instead of being jazzed that I made it, annoyed because it was rather ugly and not smooth. Seriously? How can you really make that section smooth with one leg at 75% - and for me it was the primary power leg for making that first switchback. The entire Hurricane Rim sections, I had to be careful and rely on body English to make up for the lack of power. It was still smooth - almost smoother then just trying to muscle my way through it. But I felt in the moment that it was slower and I was just giving away time. I never came in from a lap saying that I'd ridden my hardest in that moment. But I should have been thrilled as the lap count added up - the Thursday before the race I could hardly ride one lap, let alone 10.
Why am I so hard on myself? It seems different then just looking at the training and preparation that goes into these events. After as many 24 hour races as Nick and I have done, our preparation has saved many races. It's more then that - it's a drive to be always improving to approaching perfection. Perfection can never happen though - and to expect it only intensifies the self critical analysis as race after race passes without the perfect event. That drive for perfection has fueled better performances short term, but it cannot last. I have learn to quiet my mind. Once I've reviewed a race, analyzed the good, bad and ugly, I need to learn to move one. Make the needed adjustments if required and then look towards the future. That past has happened and cannot be changed. But the past as a strong influence on the future if I look beyond the imperfections of the moment.