Patience is A Virtue! Since I started racing, I’ve raced against people who have been several years to several decades older than me. I’ve had trouble sometimes understanding that losing to people who are years older than me is nothing to be ashamed of. In bicycle racing when your my age patience is always a virtue.
When we lived in the Four Corners area in Colorado and did races there the lowest category was under 18. I first did some kids races and did really well and I wanted to race some more. When I began racing (in Colorado and New Mexico) against 18 year olds and adults I did really well, too! I was racing against 18 year olds but the caliber of my fields need to be greater. I usually won or was on the podium because of that. It was hard racing against some of the kids in Colorado who were that much older than me and really fit. Those races were rare around where we lived. I raced against adults a lot too! I usually beat them, but they weren’t Cat 1 or 2. After 5 years of racing there we moved to Reno to find more races that where closer to where we lived.
Racing in California was a lot different, I was super fit from racing kids (and adults) who were much older than me, but, when I didn’t win or be on the podium and that disappointed me. That continued and I lost some confidence. I got bummed out after every one of those races and I didn’t put it in perspective. We occasionally did a race where it was my age group were I did well and my confidence grew a bit but, then I lost it when I got beat by higher aged or cat racers. That made me impatient not doing more races where I was going to podium and I got bummed. I never put it in perspective because these kids where just as old as the kids I was racing in Colorado but a lot more fit.
This year we are racing Enduro to rekindle our technical skills growing up on Moab and Colorado tough trails and to have a new form of fun. Our first Enduro race was the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey. I felt great doing practice runs on it and it was super fun, I placed 14th and that wasn’t what my goal was and I was bummed out the rest of the day. I should have been proud of myself, beating almost half of the field and the category was U18! It was the same in a the next couple Enduro races I did. My parents kept telling me I did great, especially since I was racing 18 year olds, I new when I raced against kids my age I was always beating them. I finally thought about what they said and it was true. I should have been stoked I was placing as high in the races as I did in, since I was racing 18 year olds!
Have fun racing, don’t be sad when you place below adults and teenagers many years older than you. If you had fun, did your best and felt like you did well, let that determine how you feel, not your result. To all of you younger racers out there, remember, patience is a virtue. Our day will come!