Wednesday, August 27, 2008

EFTA 2008 **El Fin**

1  GALLOWAY, COLLIN     1,316  

My 2008 EFTA season has come to a close. There is one race left, but I'm not attending due to driving distance. These standings should hold, unless Jake shows up for the Grillz race and snags some points to pass me and move into 3rd. He didn't go last year so I am hoping I hold the podium spot.

I am more proud of my current 3rd place finish than I am of 3rd from last year. Last year's 3rd was a bit more of a 'I went to more races than you' type finish. This years series had a lot more consistent competition and I legitimately earned this 3rd by beating Jake at the TVR when I had to to keep from getting bumped to 4th. Jake is fast and I can hang my hat on that result.

This season had its up's and down's, races where I really suffered and races where I had a blast. As it stands now I met my goal of keeping on the podium in the overall and I also met my goal of cutting more time off my finishes so that I could actually be racing in the SS pack. This year I began to feel more like an actual 'expert' rider instead of a sport rider beating himself to death riding SS. I didn't DFL nearly as much, in fact I might have to remove that from my resume now.

This season also saw the introduction of a feeding system that really works for me. I needed a convenient way to eat so that I could eat more frequently to keep my energy levels constant. Some of the more technical courses didnt have enough places to grab a bite (safely), maybe for some riders, but not me. I tried Clif Bloks this year and they are gonna be my new jam. Less mess, quicker to eat and I can store them loose in my little pouch right up by my headset. After I got the hang of it I could quickly grab and eat two every 15-20 mins. This made a huge difference and my nutrition was very consistent all year, no real major bonking issues and in most cases I felt great going into the latter portions of races.

The other hurdle I have finally overcome this year is my confidence levels. The first two years I had sort of resigned myself to getting annihilated by the ridiculously fast SS class. If a guy was in front of me and started to pull away I would always let them go, thinking there was no way I could hold the pace anyway. Over the last few years as I have gotten faster and my times have gotten closer to the untouchables my thought process has begun to change and I find myself thinking at times 'hey I was pretty close to him last race, maybe I can hold his wheel a bit longer this time'. This progressed all season and going into the last race I KNEW I could beat Jake if I had a good day. This was a big shift in thinking for me and it had a big impact on my riding. When I caught Jake on the start of the second lap, I wasn't thinking that I just got lucky and I should just ride his wheel if I can and hope he gets a mechanical (that was the old me). I immediately started thinking about which part of the course I should attack him. Your body almost always has more in it than your brain is willing to admit and having the confidence in yourself to push past your brain was the next thing I needed to accomplish. I proved to my brain that I can hang with some real fast bike riders which I think will pay dividends next year when I take on even harder challenges. (i.e. racing for 24 hours straight)


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