Mind Games at the Green Gobler 6 Hour Mountain Bike Race

March 16, 2013 turned out to be a wonderful day of racing in Georgia. We rode the same trails of the first Olympic Mountain Bike Race in 1996, and part of the same course in the documentary 24 Hour Solo, which is the quintessential endurance mountain bike movie. The day was cloudless, the sun shone down on the dry course, and a cool breeze made for ideal racing conditions.  The course was fast with smooth, flow single-track, some tight and twisty sections, only a few moderate climbs, and lots of longer downhill sections where it was easy to get into the groove.  After the race spread out, I found a good rhythm and kept the wheels turning for the first two laps.  Endurance racingMy break after lap 2 was fast and efficient.  Grab a new bottle, pee, and lube up the chain.  The lube really helped as the dry conditions were kicking up a lot of dust and my drive-train was caked in dirt and grim.  Lap 3 and 4 went smoothly and during lap 5 I began to get fatigued mentally and physically.  My pace slowed dramatically and I started doubting I could ride much farther.  I rode for a while with a guy named Mike from Alabama and we talked about the mental aspect of endurance racing that was so key to the sport.  The warmer afternoon temps were taking its toll on us and we seemed to both be feeling fatigued.  endurance racing2We both agreed to keep pushing on, and to dig deep for that mental nudge over the cliff.  He said that what he loved most about endurance racing as opposed to other shorter races, is the mental fortitude you have to pull out of yourself.  He was determined to push through and that determination was contagious.  There is definitely something about another person willing themselves to go further, which in turn helps to inspire you to do the same.  I came in to the pit after lap 5 feeling fatigue really hit me hard.  I needed some solid food if I was to continue.  I ate half a bagel and more Perpetuum.  I went out for the 6th lap and immediately something clicked in my head and body.  It was like the mind said all right what do you have inside?  What can you do?  How far are you willing to go?  And then a resounding let’s do this.  I magically starting cranking the pace up a notch and felt alive.  endurance racing3The juice was flowing and my bike, body, and mind were gelling together and working flawlessly.  It seems I had willed myself to keep firing and to push through my perceived fatigue from the last lap.  On the two climbs I was passing others that had begun to walk the climb.  The miles were passing by and I was not really thinking anymore, just riding and being.  The lap ended and I felt a lightness in my legs and mind.  I was pushing through the mental block from before and finding new wings.  I went out for a 7th lap and finished strong with my 6th and 7th lap around the same times as my 1st and 2nd.  The day ended with me finishing 58.1 miles in 5:45.  What a sweet day of racing and mind games on this day.  The mind is truly the key to these events.  How much more are you truly capable of doing when we will ourselves to overcome and to push through perceived barriers?  I am exploring these ideas and see the journey as one of understanding in the realms of possibilities.  Keep it going in your head and the horizon is just the door to the limitless and infinite possibilities within your reach.