Reality Bytes!

Reality Bytes! covers racer blogs in which we sift through thousands of blog entries to find real-life situations that when prepared for, you can handle more competently. We encourage you to visualize yourself in these situations and how you would deal with them if they were to occur. Repeat these visualizations until they become an established part of your mental skills.
A glimpse into Julian Dean’s Diary.

As an athlete, if you don’t win you never feel truly satisfied. I guess that’s what makes us competitive athletes. The desire to do better and go further exists so strongly within us. If I didn’t have this I wouldn’t still be doing what I do with the motivation that I have. Although shit it’s frustrating to be so close yet so far from the big one. That one big victory just always seems to elude me. So often I’m always just there but not quite. At least it keeps me going I suppose…

Most importantly at the end of the day I can say that I gave it everything. I did some incredibly hard training days in the weeks before. Actually from the time I have been back on the road in mid-July, I have given it everything I had in me and then some but on the day I just wasn’t good enough. There are certainly no “what ifs” in terms of my preparation post-surgery and for me that lets me feel satisfied with my performance.

**

(On La Vuelta)

Being here at the start of a big tour is always a strange feeling. We’re always here 3 days before the race starts for the medical tests and team presentations, etc., so each day out riding around town you see all the other teams training. It’s always funny to see the different mentality and looks the other teams give off which is always the same no matter where in Europe we are. Firstly, all the teams seem to go out training on the same road. For sure there are other roads but for some reason all the teams seem to end up doing the same circuit. Even if it’s a small, obscure road out in the wops somehow all the teams end up out there.

Then there’s the distinctive mentality of each team. When you pass the teams out on the road the team’s nationality is obvious by what they are doing and how they convey themselves. When you pass an Italian team, they will be without helmets. If it’s hot like here in Granada, they’ll have their shorts pulled right up, the sleeves of their jerseys pulled up, or preferably sleeveless, and sometimes even jersey-less. It’s all about working on the tan. Unlike Italian teams, French teams will be all over the show. A couple of riders off the front, a couple dropped, half with helmets and all of them looking like they have been going a little harder than normal. A Spanish team is always cruising by. With a lot of chatting and laughing but always in a tight group and mostly wearing arm and leg warmers even if the heat is punching in at the 30’s. The Dutch and Germans always look very serious, in good formation and with very little expression, riding at a solid tempo – helmets and all.

**

Anyway I made it through. I suffered a lot – as you always do in cycling – especially coming back from injury but I was stoked to make it through to the end of the race. Even though I was dropped on the finishing circuit in the crosswind with 15km to go, I was ok with that. It’s frustrating coming back from injury as I know what I’m capable of and at what level I can reach physically but I’m still far from that form. I can only do my best for the moment and be patient. Up to this point, I know that I’ve done as much as I possibly could have with my rehab. The rest is about having patience and faith in my body to respond. What more can I do?**Today was nothing but horrible. All day the temperature never climbed above 15 degrees and the rain was incessant. The race banged it flat stick for the first 80km. Fast starts are not my forte at the best of times and today was no exception. Dropped at the start after 15km, I was lucky to be with a group of 30 or so and we came back to the peloton. After punishing myself on the fixed trainer and then fanging about my Spanish training ground in near 40 degree heat for the last 2 months, I was suffering in the rain and cold and I hated it. After we got back to the front, the pace of the race never eased up all day. And although the weather began to fine up toward the end, the racing never seemed to feel any easier. I really think that one of the difficulties I’m having is getting used to the cold and wet weather. Even without coming back from injury, my body sucks in crap weather.
**

Like cycling is not hard enough, today they sent the peloton the wrong way. After 160km of the race, there was a break at 6 minutes. They lead the break the right way but the peloton was taken the wrong way and ended up doing an extra 10km. Then they let us ride for another 40km – after getting us back on course while they decided what to do – at which point they stopped us at the bottom of the climb and restarted the race but only giving the break a 4min advantage with 40km to go. With all the climbs and tight roads we already had to contend with, you would have thought that cycling was hard enough. But no, they had to send us the wrong way at the most critical time of the race then stop us an hour later, make us wait for 10 minutes then bang straight up a climb to the finish. I found the whole thing pretty demoralizing and was happy when the whole fiasco was over.

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Reality Bytes! is a regular feature covering racer blogs in which we sift through thousands of blog entries to find real-life situations that when prepared for, you can handle more competently. We encourage you to visualize yourself in these situations and how you would deal with them if they were to occur. Repeat these visualizations until they become an established part of your mental skills.

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