Failure versus Quitting

by Arlyn on January 25, 2009

Iwent back to the Boulevard Race course yesterday with Mark, Voris and Rick. The idea was to pootle the first lap as a preview and then race the second and third. We’re just two weeks away from the actual race and we all wanted to leave everything on the road.

I got more than just a great workout – I learned a little more about the difference between quitting and failure.

Three laps of Boulevard Race Course

Three laps of the Boulevard Race course has a lot of bumps in it.

Lesson One

After rocketing west on Hwy 94, we make the turn north onto La Posta road and begin climbing. Voris wants me to learn how important it is to stay with a rider going over the top of a hill. His point is that two riders can go a lot faster downhill than one. So he picks up the pace on the last mile of 6-8% grade. I grit my teeth, dig deep and survive. I have resolved to keep his wheel or die trying.

Lesson Two

Voris attacks again on the second hill on La Posta. Again, I survive. I find it easier to stay with him by spinning higher than by mashing at a slower cadence.

Lesson Three

We’re climbing along Highway 80 back to Live Oak Springs and the faux finish line. Rick decided to test his legs and is gone up the road. Dave digs in again, again and again. I find it within me to keep his wheel. Sometimes he’s able to open a bike length, but not much more. I make the comment that he’s being cruel to me and his reply is that he’s training me.

Lesson Four

We’re on lap 3 now, back on that first climb on La Posta Road. Dave attacks and at first I’m ok. Then I start to waver, but struggle back. I’m really hurting. We come around a bend and the crest of the hill is farther than I thought so I momentarily sit up and let a gap form. I remember my commitment and continue to spin, now trying to close the gap. If he goes over the top first, he’ll gain lots of time on the descent.

Rick is with me, encouraging me, pacing me up. As we crest the hill, Rick is telling me to shift up, again and again. Then he takes the lead and we rocket back to Voris.

Did you notice that I let the gap form? I didn’t die, I gave up.

Lesson Five

On the steep ramp up to Hwy 80, Voris attacks hard. I follow and at first I feel really good. I’m mashing this big gear, almost passing Dave as we round the corner onto the highway. He sits and accelerates uphill; I sit and try to match. The pain in my legs is unbearable and I let another gap go.

Mentally, I’m a mess. I don’t want to lose, but I don’t want it to hurt anymore either. I can’t remember my commitment to stay with Voris and tell myself to just go my own pace. Rick comes up beside me and helps me through it. He paces me and talks me through it. He can see it clear as day – I gave up.

With Rick’s help, I held Dave to not much more than a minute and gained a little each time the road turned downhill since I had Rick to pull me. On the last steep section before the final right hand turn, Rick pointed out that Voris was struggling and encouraged me to push, push, push. I did, pushing right through the pain in my legs. After the turn, Dave sat up and we finished the last couple of downhill miles together.

In Conclusion

Giving up is a lot more common than failing. Understanding the difference gives you the power to choose. My thanks go to Rick and Voris for the education.

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