Mi viaje en español

*I’m working to improve my spanish so this is going to be a quick rundown of my spanish education and a quick recap of my race this past weekend

He estado estudiando español encendido y apagado para diez años ahora. He tenido clasès comenzando en escuela de medio hasta nivel diez. En mi tercer año de colegio, estaba tomando demasiado clasès para continuar con español. No reincià con español hasta mi segundo semestre en la Universidad de Maryland.

La clase fue “Español intensivo intermedio” y la professora me disgustaba. Por accidento, ella tropecè sobre mi pie en el empiezo del semestre. Despues de esto, la clase fue muy dificil para mio. Nunca he sido bueno con la usa de acentos y este clase tuve mucho escritura. La problema continue en mi segùn clase “Gramatica en español”. Este clase tuve un foco en los acentos y tambièn la professor fue horrible.

Ahora, ha sido un año y medio desde la termina de mi ultima formal clase en español. Estoy inscrito en mi tercer clase de español en universidad para el verano, “Literatura en español”. Estoy muy excitado para estudiar una otra lingua de nuevo.

Kitchen Road Criterium
Este pasado sabado, fui a la parque aptitud de Bob Rodal en Trexlertown, PA para una carrera. La carrera fue veinte y cinco miles en un regazo de un mile. Yo era activo para los primero diez minutos antes de descanso para quince. Atacado varios veces antes de descanso en el pelotòn para diez màs. A quarenta minutos, un hombre al fremte de yo toca ruedas y chocò. Yo evitè el hombre pero alguien golpe mi cambio trasero y el rompiò. Allì, my dia termine.

The stars and stripes: part 2: electric boogaloo

I’m pretty annoyed that I forgot to write yesterday and broke my streak of Thursday posts. But by the time I remembered, I was in bed with the lights out so it just wasn’t gonna happen. Anyway, here we go:

I have now had a few days to absorb the end of my semester and the race at collegiate nationals. This year’s events were special because they were the last for my teammates Eric and Ryan. Next year, it will be my last as an undergraduate at UMD. It’s crazy to think that just three years ago, I was a wide-eyed high school graduate. That was the first year that I took up road racing seriously. I look back now and see that I have come a long way but after this past weekend, I realize how much farther I have to go.

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The three amigos

In the road race, I was permanently dropped from the main group 25 miles into the 72 mile course. In the criterium, I was dropped after 3 laps. I finished 3 minutes slower than the winner of the individual time trial. And now, I couldn’t be more motivated.

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Dying on lap 2

While there are some people who seemingly just “have it.” There are those with the tactical knack or the genetic ability to put out a sickening amount of power. But there are so many more who invested their time and worked incredibly hard to get where they were. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.

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Believe it or not, we started racing at the same age

My goals for the year haven’t exactly gone how I was hoping. An injury derailed my fitness in April, and as a result, I’m behind where I want to be physically. However, I feel much farther ahead mentally than I did at this point last year. Thanks to some philosophy lectures and a couple good books, the pursuit of life seems like it comes simply. Not easily, but simply. By taking care of the same, small things every day, I’ll be able to succeed where others have failed, even when the path seems unclear.

Spokes out.

Don’t stop believing

Over the past couple of months, I’ve started reading more self-improvement and motivational material.  Like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, my coach had me reading “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson, and onto that I’ve added “The New Toughness Training for Sports” by James Loehr and “Thrive Fitness” by Brendan Brazier.  The number one thing that I’ve taken away from each book is that success does not come from one herculean effort but from doing the same thing that has a positive effect every day.  As a kid, we are very consistently told that we can be anything we want to be.  However, you can’t be something just because you want it.  You can be anything that you believe you can be and that you work hard for every single day.

This brings me to this week and probably the most important lesson I’ve learned yet in cycling: positive thinking will take you places you never thought you could make it.  I have been pretty down on myself this week because of my lacking fitness after a month without structured training.  It resulted in a not-so-great showing at the NCSU Wolfpack Classic last weekend and the All American Road Race on Saturday, which was only a Category 3 race.  Yesterday, I was slated to do the Greenbelt Training Race A group, which regularly attracts some pretty strong riders.

As I rolled around before the start, my legs felt cold and dead even after a few hard uphill efforts.  Not ideal for facing the smattering of 1s and 2s who I’d be racing against that night.  The first couple of laps went OK as I was able to match the high-end efforts and even attempt to bridge to the winning break (unsuccessfully).  However, after the initial adrenaline wore off, I started to fall deep into the pain box.  The course is a 1.4 mile loop with a 70 foot climb, which put me the hurt on me each time.

About 9 laps from the end, I was gapped for the first time.  At NCSU just a week and a half earlier, I saw a gap form and let it go, I gave up.  I was demoralized from a poor showing in the first half of collegiate season and an injury during the second half.  But yesterday, something clicked.  My teammate Ezra won an early season RR on a flat tire and sent the team an email about how positive thinking allowed him to stay in it and win.  As the field roared away, I remembered it, powered forward and caught the group.  During the race, I was gapped 3 times but managed to claw my way back on each time to finish just behind the group sprint.

On a comparable course with a field nearly as strong as I’ll be facing in the USAC Collegiate Nationals criterium next Saturday, this result gave me a lot of hope.  My fitness is better than I thought but my disposition was holding me back from showing it.  If I hadn’t been thinking positive and believing in my own abilities to race, I doubt it would have ended with such a positive result.  From now on, whenever I get down on myself, I will make sure to remember to stay positive.  Otherwise, I’ll just be ensuring my own defeat.

Spokes out.

Plan to improve patience

A couple months ago, my friend Jen lent me a book called “The new toughness training for sport.”  Mental training is a relatively new concept to me and the reading has provided a large amount of insights and a couple major revelations.  I subsequently got jelly on it from a sandwich and had to buy her a new copy, but it’s just given me more time with the book.

The first step in the book’s process is to evaluate yourself on a variety of mental aspects with respect to your sport.  One of the things I consistently have an issue with is being patient; I hate sitting in and, before this year, was consistently the first person to be jumping to an attacker’s wheel.  This meant that, despite my gains in strength and endurance, I was tiring my self out well in advance of the finish.  This year, I made sure to do more active thinking during races about what moves to follow and which ones to let go.

In order to improve patience, the book recommends that you write out a full page on each aspect you find to be a weakness in your game (I found five).  Since it will be difficult to implement five plans in a month with finals, nationals and starting a job, I figured I would start with one now and integrate the others (moodiness, emotional flexibility, acting skill and relaxation).

The plan:

Over the next month, I am to become a more patient person.  This will require a large amount of focus and positive reinforcement.  There are many times when I come to a situation and get frustrated with how slowly something is moving.  This applies frequently to racing when there is a lack of action.  When I come to one of those situations, I will take these steps:

  1. Stop, take 5 deep breaths
  2. Think about something that I am grateful for
  3. Remind myself that some things cannot go any faster and even if they can, sometimes I will be unable to affect their rate.
  4. Reflect and see if there is something productive I could be doing in the mean time

When there is no situtation at hand that is making me impatient, I will begin to visualize past race situations that I have been involved in and those that I hope to see in the future.  I am a frequent early race attacker and consistently waste energy bridging to moves that end up coming back anyway.  However, I have only seen early race breaks work twice and I have only gotten a good result from a breakaway once.  That breakaway was not until the last five minutes of the race.  So, I will begin to create situations in my mind where people are attacking and I either don’t follow or allow someone else to cover the gap.