By Cheri Felix
I raced the Feedback Cup a few Saturday’s ago. It was everything I hoped it would be. The course was long with twists and turns like a great mystery. There was a steep uphill, an off camber downhill and the railroad ties. I LOVE those things. I never knew I could run that fast, uphill, one step at a time with a bike in my hand. And the sand. The great equalizer. It reminds me of the curling iron in the eighties. You either knew how to use it or you didn’t. And everyone around you was clear on the results. And Larry Grossman, like a great first date, was on the mic saying all the right things. It really was amazing. And as usual, I learned a thing or two. Maybe you can relate.
I love passing. It’s such a win for me in a race. I’m not going to win the race but if I can edge that much closer to the front, during the race, it feels great. And passing for me is most fun when done in a tight corner or riding an uphill or a ditch that everyone else is running. It doesn’t always work out but it’s sweet when it does. One very nice and gracious woman during the race as I passed her said “Nice pass.” That’s like having the popular girl in 8th grade saying “Nice hair.” Anyway, back to 2016. I was watching myself. Passing is complicated. I know that it’s less fun to be chased than to chase. It’s very stressful to have someone on your wheel. But I also know about those matches. And how we only have so many.
Matches. How many are in your book? We all know that during a race you only have so much output. And passing takes energy. And one of my new strategies is to only look ahead. If I pass someone they may sit on my wheel, they may be ready to pass me back, but for the most part I am concentrating on the wheel in front of me no matter how far away it is. But I saw something. I noticed that I was hiding a bit. Not passing. Waiting. Wondering. And I realized that it’s a fine line between being smart and staying put and hiding out. Hiding out because you’re not sure you can cash the check. Hiding out because you’re not sure you’ve got the follow through. Hiding out because you’re scared you’ll have to work a little bit harder.
But here’s what I continue to learn racing ‘cross. Racing is about taking risks. Racing is about taking the chance that you can’ t cash the check you just wrote. Racing is about giving it your absolute all and dealing with the fact that it may not be enough. Racing is about the redline. And for me, racing is about knowing that beyond a shadow of a doubt, that for for those 45 minutes, that I gave it my all. That there’s nothing left in my tank, in my legs. So take that pass. Take all of them. Even if you have to give a few back. You’ll still be farther ahead than when you started. And you know when you’re hiding out. And some of us do that in life. Afraid to take the risk. Afraid we’re not good enough. Stop hiding and come out come out wherever you are and pass, pass, pass.