A season of Failure and Reward
How I had my best season ever, despite failing to complete 3 out of 3 main objectives.
In February this year, I outlined my main goals for this season. These were rides I knew I wanted to fit in as they'd be fun. I also knew that I had to get them into the calendar or risk having family plans bump them out. Most importantly of all, I knew that once they were on the calendar I had a commitment to myself and my family that I was going to complete them. So I needed to get training.
My Goals were;
1. Complete the Squamish Enduro (just the 35km short course)
2. Climb Haleakala (a 3000m + climb)
3. Complete a 250km Gravel Bikepacking trip with friends.
As you've probably gathered, none of these went to plan. Here's how it panned out..
May - Squamish Enduro - Act of God - As it happened, this year's race fell on my wife's birthday. We ended up going for an awesome family ride. Sidenote, one of my favourite training rides this year turned out to be a 20km trail loop with my 2year old on the top tube.
May - Climb Haleakala - (Illness) one of the most stressful weeks of the year came 10 days out from a family trip to Maui. Murphy's law kicked in and I spent 7 days trying to recover so I could get on the Plane to meet up with family travelling all the way from the UK. The good news is, we made it and no one else got sick. The bad news, I wasn't able to make it to the top of the Worlds tallest continuous road climb. I came up 300m short and had to pull the pin. But I still managed my biggest-ever climb at 2775m. This was a serious dose of type-2 fun.
June - Grasslands Loop - Team issues - With May's efforts in the bag, I went into June knowing that I wouldn't have too much trouble completing the 250km Loop we had planned for our annual boys' Bikepacking trip. It's a great feeling to go on these trips knowing that you have the fitness to complete the task at hand and you can relax and enjoy the experience. Unfortunately, one of our group was on his first such trip and ran into some technical difficulties. In the interests of everyone having a good (and safe) time. We curtailed the route to a still very enjoyable 150km.
Reflecting on the year through a lens of achievement, you can see it as a massive failure. However, I don't choose that perspective. Applying a growth mindset gives me these takeaways;
-I still did all the training and I'm fitter than I've ever been. After June, my high level of fitness meant I was able to take on any ride conceivable. I was limited only by time, logistics and my own imagination.
-I still had a blast when each of these events came around on the calendar, even though I didnt necessarily "tick them off".
-I now get to revisit each of these challenges in the future when the opportunity arises. In fact, if I'd ticked off each of these objectives this year I don't know if I would already be so excited for next year to roll around.
-I learned many lessons that'll stand me in good stead for all future objectives. Including;
Take all reasonable measures to avoid getting sick leading up to event day.
Don't take for granted that your teammates are preparing as well as you are.
Your partner's birthday will fall on a Saturday every 6 years. Use the other 5 wisely!
Side note - Thanks to all the training and missed opportunities, in September I entered a just-for-fun race on the spur of the moment. It was a team event and I ended up doing the Downhill stage. This wouldn't have been my natural choice but it worked with the strengths of my teammates. I didn't win but finished respectably in mid-pack. Moreover, I had a blast. Now I know, come May 2023 I'll be lining up for that Enduro!
If you're intent on having your best season yet in 2023, now is the time to lay down those plans. You can book a no-commitment strategy call with me here. Or if you just have a couple of questions, email me here. If you want to see where your first block of training (with or without me) should focus, then I recommend trying our free video assessment here.