This was my last race before heading to the Tour de Korea starting this Sunday, and an important opportunity to renew some confidence in my ability to ‘finish off’ a race in a pleasing (a.k.a. winning) style.
My thoughts going into Brunner were (as per usual): ride team (ride with team mates and for team mates; making life easier then riding individually); ride against the Benchmark Team (the only really strong team that could pose a threat to Subway Pro Cycling’s ambitions); and ride to win.
In addition, a meeting with my coach Anthony Chapman must have had bearing on the way I raced at Brunner… However, despite tapering, I woke tired Saturday morning but I went out attacking and didn’t stop until the finish line. It’s such an awesome way to race (particularly when you pull it off!), but not the way I’ve often raced recently when I’ve tried to conserve energy for the ‘business’ part of the race.
Not only is it an awesome way to race but it was a best method of beating your competition. With such strong team mates as Sam Horgan and Dylan Kennett and Dillion Bennett to chip in as well, after 15k we were as well represented as our main opposition Benchmark Team (starting numbers 10 vs 4 of us). Thereafter began the process of elimination. No matter how much it hurt to attack, I kept telling myself that while we had more numbers we had to continue to force our agenda to result in the best outcome for us, which first, second and third would have to be!
But Benchmark, namely their leader Dan Barry, Alex Frame and Will Bauman did not just face the fact that they were outnumbered and lie down without a fight. They made the race awesome by making it anyone’s game until the last 15 kilometres. Then it was me who made it my game in the last 5ks by attacking my two team mates Horgan and Kennett with a MacCauley in tow.
I’ve read in psychological skills training books about the concept of ‘embracing competition,’ something that may not be innate in all of us as adults. For example, media, supporters, individuals as competitors often focus on the absence, injury or weakness of competition, which can diminish your result. A race like Brunner serves to remind me about one major reason behind this whole cycling thing in my life – the euphoria of winning; of winning against higher odds.
Bring on Korea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!