Got this ‘thought of the week’ from Dr. Wendy Borlabi, the USOC Sports Psychologist assigned to work with the US Sprint Program.
“Each Warrior wants to leave the mark of his will, his signature, on important acts he touches.
This is not the voice of ego but of the human spirit, rising up and declaring that it has something to contribute to the solution of the hardest problems, no matter how vexing!”
It feels fitting. Some days I feel like a warrior. Today I felt like a wounded warrior after two hard weeks of training.
Somebody called me a pioneer once, which I found both flattering and laughable. Pioneers are people like Joan Benoit and Fannie Blankers-Koen. If a woman racing bikes in the year 2011 is considered a pioneer, the feminist movement stalled when it got to the sport of cycling.
But it does have me thinking about what solution I’m working towards.
Is it doing my part to move the US women’s sprint program forward? I’m working hard to qualify a spot for the World Championships and Olympic Games. I know my experience is an asset to a young program.
Some days, I think it may be just reminding people it’s never too late to dream or try something new.
As an athlete I have it easy. My problem is to figure out how to get myself, my bike and my partner up to max speed from a stand still as quick as possible.
Lately, I’ve been hitting 60-62kph in 19.6 to 20.2 seconds, depending on the track and training phase. As (wo)man 1 in the Team Sprint, I want to accelerate all the way through the line at the end of the first lap so my (wo)man 2 gets a slingshot effect in the exchange.
Blistering speed at the end of lap 1 translates into a faster first half of lap 2. The goal of (wo)man 2 is to carry or improve on that speed to the finish.
Throw on a 90.6 (47×14) and get off the line quick at the (potential) cost of valuable kph in the last 60-80 meters. Or ride a 92.6 (48×14) and — while you may reach higher top end — the gear could slow you down out of the gate, adding 1-2/10ths to your first 125meters.
Then there’s the relationship between your gear and your partner’s . . .
In training, the puzzle is finding the right equation of big gear work, little gear work, explosive short efforts, longer efforts, weights, time on the road and equally important, time away from training to recover.
The US women need to go faster and get there quicker. The best women in the world are covering the first lap in just under 19 seconds. The next tier comes in between 19.0 and 19.5.
I did a 19.6 standing lap at the Pan Am Games, which was a HUGE personal best. But going 250 meters in 19.4 to 19.7 seconds consistently would be better.
I know enough about elite sport to realize I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have something to contribute.
And I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it was important.