Friday, January 25, 2008

Peak Experience

"Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?"

The best moment that I will always remember from this past weekend was the tremendous amount of support and well wishes I received from friends, hellyerites, and the Filipino community. It reaffirms why I enjoy track - it's a close community. The race announcer called out my name 3x before the race because of the loud cheers from the peanut gallery. He even wondered outloud why I got the loudest cheers. He should have known that it was Steve Pelaez Day.

I really had a good feeling at the start of the race. Because the previous day, the announcer asked me to listen to their copy of the Philippine national anthem to make sure it sounded ok. They only play the national anthem if you win, so I figured that he might know something I didn't. It turns out he didn't. Steve Pelaez day ended a bit prematurely after a flurry of attacks.

I tried my best but I couldn't go any faster. I felt like my heart was going to explode, and my legs felt like lead. My coach says I didn't race smartly since I was the one closing gaps and attacking. What was I thinking? The problem is it's hard to think when everything is happening so fast. Should I go with that move, swing up now, close that gap, go faster, etc? It's called race smarts, which to me is nothing more than pattern recognition.

A race has a rhythm and those with experience can often see how the race will unfold. Since racing at this level is still new to me, I thought I'd just follow a favorite. I chose to stick to Jerome Neuville of France, '06 World Champ. He was clearly a favorite to advance to the finals in my heat. The problem with this tactic was that he could attack multiple times and keep going. Meanwhile, after a few attacks, I faded.

Know thy self is one of the most important principles in life. A Japanese proverb says that the mirror is the most important possession since it helps you see yourself. Shakespeare says, "To thy own self be true." In cycling, it's just as important to know your strengths and weaknesses. Race your strength(s). I should have known better. But it's easy to forget the basics. After the race, I was talking to cycling coach legend EddieB about training/racing. He said that cycling is pretty simple. We just make it more complicated when we are unsure of things. I agree. And right now getting to the finals is a complicated affair. I'm running out of time. There's only one more race left - Denmark. Will it all finally come together there?

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


ADOBO said...

Don't be humble! It takes a lot of learning to get into the World Cup level and you have that already. You already know all the tactics unconsciously and you naturally react to the situation. Yeah, may be it wasn't your day but we always know you tried you best. That was just tough luck that you have to close all those gaps. Just focus now on the next one but still keep an open mind.

Pinoy Fixie & ADOBO Velo

d3cycling said...

Thats a good clifhanger! I think you need to double dose on some Star Wars/Yoda philosophy too. "Don't think, Do." Denmark or bust...

WarrenG said...


I guess the morning bus rides got put on hold for just a little while longer.

Have fun Steve, and take in the moment(s)!