After watching the World Cyclocross Championships and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race over the weekend I was reminded how cruel this sport can be.
Mathieu Van Der Poel missed out on becoming world champion after 4 untimely punctures and Lars Van der Haar just missed out on the podium after 7 punctures.
Not a great day out for the Dutch!
Meanwhile in the land down under, Cameron Meyer was caught with less than 10m to go after attacking with a kilometre to go.
It was so close that he still managed to get 3rd.
There’s no doubt about it, it’s one of the cruellest sports around. Races are lost my millimetres. Punctures, caught up in crashes, slipped gears and/or poor tactical decisions at key moments, all of these misfortunes can result in you losing a race that you deserved to win or getting a good result. These misfortunes will probably be followed up by a few sleepless nights of wondering what could have been.
Amazingly, the professionals that experienced bad luck over the weekend and narrowly missed out on possibly one of the biggest results of their careers all seemed to have positive attitudes. They all took to social media to reflect on their race. Mathieu Van Der Poel joked the next day about his car having a puncture, Lars Van Der Haar said he was unlucky he didn’t get third but was happy with his result and Cameron Meyer said he was happy with 3rd and his Australian summer of racing.
A professional’s attitude about the outcome of a race tends to reflect their performance not the result. Too many variables can affect a result. However, your performance is usually unhindered by these variables. For example, you may get a puncture that means you miss out on a good result but your performance to get back into the bunch may have been comparable to a racing winning effort. It is moments like these that professionals don’t dwell on the negative but take comfort in the positives.
For those of you who race, you’ll understand the amateur rider’s attitude. They’ll finish the race and complain about every bit of bad luck they had and how it robbed them of a result.
Personally, when I think about some of my own results I understand the professional rider’s point of view. I’ve won some nice races in the past but realistically I didn’t deserve to win some of them.
Some I got lucky on other people’s misfortune, some I got lucky that other people didn’t capitalize on my mistakes etc. These races never really gave me the same satisfaction compared to some of my other performances that I didn’t even get a good result in.
When I think back to races that I was hanging on at the back of the bunch for dear life and managed to hang on until the end of the race or just lose a few seconds to the bunch, I was always over the moon with those performances.
Although the results sheet might not say so, I knew that I gave everything I had. There is no better feeling than finishing on your hands and knees knowing you gave everything you could.
The same can go for your training sessions – how are you assessing your performance?
You can do it off performance related goals via your data and it’s not always FTP!
Or it could be outcome variables like getting home from a ride with a group that would usually have you in a heap in great shape.
Judge Your Performance
With the season coming up it’s an important thing to keep in mind; judging the outcome of a race based on a result is often unjustified.
Instead judge your performance.
Did you give everything you had?
Did you take your chances?
Results are nice to get.
They will come to those that perform well.
Just remember, every champion is a contender that never gave up!