Gravel racers that are successful can usually thank the trifecta of gravel rides: Preparation, Skill and Luck. Typically, most of us hope for at least two out of three in order to come in ahead of most of the gritty and dusty pack. I would have to say that my first gravel race was awesome because I got two of the three right … and one of those wasn’t Skill.
The 2016 Olympics are now old news and the media headlines are all about Angelina and Brad’s impending divorce… if you care. Regardless of the media’s latest craze; there is one thing in particular that stuck with me from the Olympics and it might be helpful to those that would like to continue competitive sports long after their so-called ‘prime’. And that one thing was brought to light by one person: Kristin Armstrong.
Kristin Armstrong has inspired so many of us, not only as Americans, but as hard-working, athletic, competitive women who have real lives that include jobs and kids. The fact that she has won three Olympic gold medals – all of which have been obtained after she turned 30 – is revolutionary in the history of the Olympic Games. Kristin is a REAL person, with a REAL job, family, commitments, and struggles. She is someone we women can relate to, empathize with, and most importantly: she breaks the barriers that have held most of us back from serious competition later in life.
I have successfully avoided ‘Stage Races’ and ‘Omniums’ for my entire racing career – until recently when I signed up to compete in Local Bike Racing’s Sealy Stage Race. I am chalking up my recent oversight to a memory relapse… after all I am racing in the 40+ category these days. Regardless of my historical reservations and fears concerning performance: I learned a lot about surviving Stage Races and actually did surprisingly well!
With that being said: I’ll share what I figured out.
I have come to realize over the years that there is value in scoping out a regularly occurring competitive event (like a seasonal Criterium Race or a Cyclocross Race) before you Go for the Gold. If you do happen to win a regularly scheduled repetitive race the first time you ride it: awesome. But that is not a normal expectation because there are some dynamics at work that, even after all this time, I have only recently come to consciously realize about learning the flow.