My placing didn't improve much, but at least this race didn't include a beer drinking intermission. You know, seeing my comparative strength to the "real" experts out there, I spent a lot of time yesterday off the back of the pack wondering why I'm racing expert. Right now, I'm a bona fide sport. Probably not even a winning one. So why am I torturing myself by going up against these guys?
I'm still not sure. Had three hours to think about it yesterday on the drive home, and I'm just as clueless when I finish. I did figure this out, though: my biggest obstacle to sticking with them right now doesn't have to do with my legs, or my fitness, or any other normal cycling quality. It exists between my ears.
I keep defeating myself. Yesterday, when I got off of the course I still had plenty of go in me. Granted I did one less lap than I was anticipating, but I had more than four more miles of energy in me. Right now I need to work on using up the energy store that I have available to me. I keep holding back while I'm out there. When you're doing the endurance races, that can be a good strategy, but not for something that's less than 2 hours. It's balls to the wall the whole time, but I kept easing up.
So that's why I'm finishing so poorly. I think. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be out there beating these guys if I had the write mental focus, but I definitely wouldn't be a lap off the pace.