The Good Kind of Frustration

I lost time every time I couldn't ride the sand.
I lost time every time I couldn’t ride the sand.

It took us five days, over the course of three weeks to move our possessions first from a storage space and then from Signe’s Mom’s place, which is where Signe has been living for the past year and where I’ve called home since mid-January. We signed the lease almost a year to the day that we gave up what I now realize was a huge apartment rented for a paltry sum compared to what we are paying now in Portland. We moved the things we’ve had locked away in storage after races on Sundays, and on what I had hoped would be rest days. Otherwise known as Monday. But finally we are in and the good Reverend’s sunroom is no longer filled with bikes and tools.

The process of unpacking has been one of discovery. My favorite coffee mug, the book I love which has been buried at the bottom of a box, and those merino arm warmers I’ve been missing lately, which leads to the realization that I have a lot of kit.

In keeping with the theme of discovery I’m starting to find the level of mental competitiveness I had last road season. Well the desire part of it at least. Realizing that the fall season is now the time that I actually get to race, and not just struggling to remember what it’s like to put out a hard effort with the desire to finish ahead of everyone else.

Last year’s cross season was a bit of a lark. I had a bike and rides to the races so I raced. Near the end of the season I was doing something that resembled training, but wasn’t really and I came into this season without a bike after I agreed to write the race reports for the MFG Cyclocross series.

When I decided to take that gig I started doing intervals in earnest, but without a plan to peak at any particular moment, half training, half trying to do the things that made me “fast” in the past, but still with the idea that it would fun to race again.

Then I scored an OK result at Starcrossed (at least for me). Then I was let down by bad starts and bad results and then I was getting pissed when those I picked as my cross nemesis finished ahead of me. It can no longer be denied that I care about this and want to improve, not just because I’m bad at transitions and driving out of corners, but also because I want to see my name closer to the top of the results sheet.

It is fashionable to not care about this thing that ultimately means nothing. I’m not fighitng for sponsorship dollars. This ends up cutting into my free time as well as my limited funds. ‘Cross is hard on bikes and bodies, parts wear out and you have a hard time clipping in when you’ve been above threshold for the last forty-minutes.

If it sounds like I’m frustrated its because I am. I realized this yesterday on my commute, which is now long enough to think these kinds of things through. It took only a moment for me to realize that frustration had to do with the fact this frustration stems from the fact that I’m bumping up against ceiling of my current skill set. Which is better than just being frustrated – in my opinion at least.

Rediscovering this part of myself, the one that cares about this tiny insignificant pursuit, isn’t too far off from pulling that favorite mug out of the box its been living in for the past year. All the mugs I’ve used since then have sharpened my appreciation for contours mug that houses my morning joe. Just like I have to learn to appreciate the work that needs to be done in order to relieve your frustration, even if it means adjusting your goals from say “top five finish” to finish with faster laps” or don’t use the brakes as much. In other words focus on the things that need fixing before trying to get a “good result”

These things matter to me because they mirror my life.

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