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Faster, or better?

Now things start getting interesting. At some point, we all have to deal with our limitations, and with the limits of our commitment to getting better...or faster...  Well, which is it? Is faster necessarily better, and is it really competition that motivates us or is it something else?

There are a couple of interesting comments and ideas here, if you are interested. It reads top to bottom, beginning with Shane's realization that we were actually slower at the 2005 Hurkey Creek race than we were in the 2004 race.

 

September, 2005

Are my calculations correct that the Weasels were faster last year? The way I calculate it I was 6 minutes slower in í05, personally. The team was 18 minutes slower??? I find that hard to believe. Correct me if I am wrong. Please.

--SL--

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Yep, we did the same number of laps but about 20 minutes slower and it is mostly attributed to me selecting comfort and fun over fast lap times. My night lap times on the Moment were 15-20 minutes slower than my day laps - compared to last year when my day laps were about the same and the night laps were only 5-10 minutes slower. Not to mention the time I lost shepherding the guy with no lights. I know Marc rode much faster than last year and Scott did too. Hopefully you'll be pleased with your personal efforts and not too worried about our team results that I laid to waste.

 :-$

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Yes, our overall was slower than last year, but I couldn't be happier with the result. We all rode better, we felt better at the end, and I think we had more fun (IMO). Regarding sacrificing lap times for comfort and fun, I think that is precisely the strategy we should embrace. Regarding sacrificing a few minutes to help a lost soul on the course, I couldn't be prouder and more pleased with my selection of teammates.

Well done mates!

 --SP--

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I was under the mistaken impression that we were faster this year than last. Silly me. If someone had asked me, I would have said that I was faster this year than last. Silly me again.

--SL--

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I think it was because we got such a fast start and were ahead of our normal pace for the first 6 hours. Then it got cold and dark.

 I for one had much more fun this year. I was relaxed enough to have a few drinks Friday night, wasn't so focused on the race that I forgot about my family, was going for air on night laps and wasn't too OCD and skipped my list of things to bring. Although I did forget two critical items (watch and arm warmers) - but still managed.

 -j

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I definitely felt more relaxed this year and had a lot more fun. I didnít really have concrete goals (doing six laps was kind of in the back of my mind) going in and didn't put too much pressure on myself.

 The question is, can we get much better? Or better yet, do we want to get much better? I personally feel I could get faster but Iím not sure if I really want to put that much more time into training. How about you guys?

--MV--

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I go through that same thought process after just about every race, and sometimes during the race. Here is what I am thinking now.

I think the idea that faster is better is the problem we bump into at this level of riding. I think we could get faster by focusing on getting faster and training harder. But, I don't think that would necessarily be making us "better," at least in ways that we all value. My goals for MTB have always included wanting to get good enough to ride for a long time over difficult terrain, just Ďcause its fun. I also have wanted to be strong enough to ride respectably with friends, so we can have fun together. Regarding racing, I have wanted to ride well enough to respect myself and earn the respect of others who take the sport more or less seriously. I have never been motivated by a sincere desire to be the fastest (unless I happen to find myself in front of Trogden on Cougar Ridge), but I do want to be faster or stronger than the average enthusiast. We werenít faster, overall, this year, but I insist that we were better. We were more relaxed, went faster at times, had more fun socializing, and were in much better condition at the end of the event than we have been in the past. We stacked up pretty well against the competition (82nd percentile, versus 78th last year), and we went for a bunch of really fun bike rides.

As I think about it, some of my motivation is the same as what motivated me when I was a somewhat serious rock climber. I got satisfaction from improving, and from finding myself able to do things that I thought I could never do and that most people couldn't do. I liked the aesthetics of the sport, and I liked having a motivation to keep in shape.

 So, I guess I'm saying that I like the motivation of a race, the comradery, the way it lets you test myself against some semi- objective standards, and the just-plain-fun riding. I want to keep doing a few races each year, but I refuse be discourteous to other riders, neglect my family, or allow myself to get cranky and depressed about not being faster (like I did last year). Hold me to that, fellows.

 --SP--

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