Whether you are a seasoned racer or someone taking on a first race there is one sure thing that is going to happen in your athletic endeavors: you are going to have to deal with adversity.
Adversity can be used to describe many different things, can come in many forms, and is obviously different for each individual person. It also usually goes hand in hand with both success and failure on many levels.
I see very obvious stages in people when faced with adversity:
- Disbelief, hurt and helplessness
- Dealing with it
I see time and time again something goes wrong with things such as someone's equipment, training or race day and the first thing that person does is chew someone else's head off!
I always tell people that they should deal with adversity as if they're on their own and have no one to talk to. Why? As I mentioned above, when something goes wrong, you will feel disbelief, anger and helplessness; then the next thing you do is turn to the nearest person and unload on them on about, "How could it happen to me?" and why it should not have gone wrong. Then energy gets wasted complaining.
But if something goes wrong and you're on your own, while you still have the disbelief and hurt, the next thought is, "How can I fix this problem?" From there you can become very productive on making the problem go away!
When a wheel breaks in travel to a race, most would spend time bitching to a friend or loved one about how shitty the airline is and how this is such a big race and on and on… But… the wheel is still broken and there is still a race to be raced! Why not assess the damage and if it's not rideable, call a local bike shop or a wheel rental company.
Another might be nutrition problems while racing. This happened to me very recently were all I could take in on the bike from mile 65 was water because my nutrition kept coming up. Yes, I could have pulled the pin when I started vomiting and sat and complained to my friends and family at the race, but instead I thought, "At least the bad stuff is coming out and I can start again on the run."
I think we all need to save family, friends and ourselves the stress and just learn to deal with adversity with patience and use good problem solving skills.
For every problem there is a solution!