Today's Lesson.... World Cup 101
Down the road of life there are different levels each of us aspires to, whether it be in our jobs, hobbies, spirituality, etc., and each situation has the "next step". Rewind to last week and I find myself embarking on my first World Cup experience, Angel Fire New Mexico, my "next step" in my cycling journey. Now with only 3 NORBA Pro Nationals under my belt, the WC experience was early for me but I was ready.
Driving down to the race and even the week prior I just was shrugging the experience off as "nothing to lose". But the night before I found myself walking the start area and getting goosebumps. The UCI banners can be intimidating combined with the flags of the countries represented along the start arena. It didn't take long for the goosebumps to set in and the nervousness to follow. The number of races I have done are countless but the nervousness is always there. Every race is an unpredictable experience that could have hundreds of outcomes.
Well I made the mistake of calling Mom that evening and she can tell in an instant when something is wrong, needless to say my nervousness freaked her out and then it freaked me out. I went to bed running through the years of racing through my mind, funny how you can remember nearly every second of every race....tomorrow morning the biggest race to date.
As the race drew closer I was excited just to get it underway. Soon the call up, first in English then French. I was part of the back row mafia since I was lining up with no prior international experience. The gun went off the and euro dust followed. I could barely see and was breathing in so much dust with my heart pounding out of my chest around 185 bpm. As my lungs filled up with contaminents so did my legs!
Finally settling into my own goove I worked my way up the mountain at Angel Fire. This course was unique because it was on climb that you could regroup and find your composure, the decent was so narly you finished with your triceps and hands cramping from holding on for dear life. As a first year pro I find modivation in these situations by trying to see how many big names I can chase down. One after another I worked my way up to a final position of 39th..... I was stoked, the race went as expected and my first one was out of the way. At the end of the finishing area I had a little flashback... there were a group of kids with posters looking for autographs with start lists in their hands. "Mr. Martin can you sign this for me..." What? Do you know who I am? Well this was me 15 years ago and these kids made my day.