The motivation in going slow
This is not the kind of article where I’ll give you all the answers. It’s more of an “as we go”-diary with my thoughts.
I’ve always wanted to perform at the highest level possible. No matter what I’ve raced it has always been about going as fast as possible. When deciding to do Race around Denmark 2018 I initially thought of it as a double challenge. Going for the 800 km around Denmark only 10 days after finishing another big European WorldCup - Race across Italy. The challenge of racing two so important races had motivated me throughout winter. It would be almost like three races in one. Italy, Denmark and the race against time trying to recover in between.
Everything seemed well until mid February where a suppressed injury did show its ugly face and forced me off the bike with infection in my lungs possibly duo to a medical treatment for some inflammation in my knee. My body simply told me to stop: “Take a break and recover while you can.” Postponing the first race of 2018 and by doing that cancelling my start in Race across Italy was a tough one. I told myself that investing more time in the build up would be the best decision to perform not only short term but in the long run. Not wanting to jeopardize the entire season or more importantly the long-term goals by pushing too hard too soon. I took the decision even though it wasn’t what I really wanted.
But how do I pick myself up after that? Going from “soon to be racing”-mode to a situation where I feel like a couch potato. It has taken me quite some time to figure that out. I’ve talked with my crew, friends, family and my girlfriend. Everybody agreed that long-term performance and health is more important than Race across Italy. I agreed but at the same time I found it hard to keep up the motivation and really set myself up for 800 km in Denmark when most of the best ultra cyclists of Scandinavia are doing longer races. “If you can’t even be in the biggest races why border racing a sprint-distance race” my inner voice told me.
I still wish that I could do both races but that’s not possible with the preparation I’ve had. During the last weeks I have found the motivation in seeing everyday improvements in my shape and I have found a new kind of motivation. I have found the joy in going slow. A quality which I have been lacking coming from road racing. The motivation is higher than ever. I’ll do the 800 km not only to perform well but to grow and learn. I can’t wait to get out there, but with so much in life, and in ultra cycling in particular, patience is a virtue.