Life Lessons Through the Eyes of Cyclocross

By Khem Suthiwan

In the last few months of racing cyclocross, I’ve realized so many parallels this insane sport has to my own life. As a triathlete for the better of the last 8 years, my life was a lot like my training rides…one big blur after the other in a mad rush to get to the next thing. Was it fun? Absolutely. Would I trade the experiences I had? Never. But I will say, dipping my toe into cyclocross has taught me to slow down and appreciate every turn, fall, and bump. So here are few things I’ve learned:

Learn How to Fall, Because It Will Happen
In cyclocross, it’s a guarantee that you’re going to fall so get used to it. As in life, we are going to fall…and that’s okay. The more you fall, the better you get at getting right back up. Brush yourself off and keep moving forward.

Know the Location of the Nearest Car Wash
I never thought I’d ever have to go to a car wash to get the caked on mud off my bike. In the world of cyclocross, it’s pretty common…especially if there was rainfall in the days leading up to a race. Life lesson here – you are going to get dirty. You can embrace it or fear it. By embracing it, you’re going to have a ton more fun and knowing you can wash it all off makes it not that bad. Rinse and repeat!

Pick a Line
It may not be the right line, but you have to pick one. Standing there contemplating whether to go wide or cut the corner close doesn’t make it go away. If you don’t get it right the first time, try a different line the next lap. In life, paralysis by analysis gets you nowhere and just ends up wasting your time. Pick a line and go for it!

Embrace the Heckling
Heckling is part of cross culture. It is one of the things that makes the sport fun. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t heckle. Goes back to the saying “you only tease the ones you love.” Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself, and often.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Handup
Sometimes teammates and friends will stand at the top of a hill ready to give you that donut, piece of bacon, or can of beer. Take it. In life, don’t be afraid to accept help from friends. They want to help you, so let them.

Learn from People Who are Better Than You
Why continue on a steep learning curve when you can figure it out from people who are better than you? Welcome those who are lapping you and watch what line they pick, what technique they use to maneuver through those obstacles. Hire a coach if you need to. With life’s goals, find someone who is successful at the goal you’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight find a mentor who already leads a healthy lifestyle, not one who keeps jumping from diet to diet with short-term success.

That’s all I have for now. So get off your computer, iPhone, or whatever device you’re using to read this and hop to it!! Or as we say in cyclocross…HUP HUP!

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