I need your help

This blog is going to be more important for me than ever this year. It is nearly Thanksgiving and next season starts now. The problem is, I’m having a really hard time getting motivated. The responsibility of posting here is going to have to serve as my source of accountability. I’m asking you to follow along with me for another year and give me a kick in the motivation button if you catch me slipping.

Early November I took a break from the bike. I was worn out and was still dealing with a good amount of pain from my neck. Seemed that my body could use some down time. Then I had surgery on my upper jaw to take care of some issues I was having with my teeth due to the accident. Turns out my sinus sack got punctured and for a week I was pretty much worthless.

I’m past that now and have even been out a couple of times on my fixed gear. I really enjoyed getting back out there in this beautiful fall weather. Riding a single gear is a nice change and it has also been fun building the bike.

The problem is I begin to think about the weather turning cold and my future of doing 90 second puke intervals and I’m not feeling much joy. Frankly, I feel aversion. Yet, I know that if I am going to accomplish anything in 2011, I’m going to have to ride in the cold and I’m going to have to do these intervals.

What I need are some motivating goals for 2011. When I have something I’m aiming for, I can go through a lot more suffering and pain. But the question I ask myself is, “What goals?”

Well, to start I want to go back to a goal I didn’t accomplish in 2010. That goal is a time of 11:15 up Altamont Road on Paris Mountain. The closest I got was 11:24 during one of the Paris Mountain Time Trials. Jim, my coach, had scheduled in training toward an official attempt just before my Ride for Mike. Of course, the wreck changed all that and I never got the chance to try for the goal. The fastest I have climbed the mountain since my accident is 12:15. Got to shave off a minute.

GOAL #1 – 11:15 or better climbing Altamont Road, Paris Mountain

At least one of my goals has to involve racing. Here is where I run into a brick wall. There are a couple of things here that hinder me…

1) The wreck. I have to admit that it took something out of me mentally. I don’t want to ever be in that position again. Yes, I have already gotten back on the horse and found that I have the mental discipline and courage to stick my wheel into the gap, but while before I just did it — now I think about it.

2) Masters racing. I’ve definitely got the hang of Cat. 4 racing. I’m pretty confident that I can hang with the Cat. 3 crowd — at least I can when I’m in fighting trim. I’ve only competed in three Masters races. Two of those I didn’t finish. Granted, the second of the two I didn’t finish was my comeback race after my recovery. The one I did finish (placing 11th) was not a typical Masters race. So, I question my ability there.

So, while this seems to be a low goal, it is a confidence building goal and one I’m not sure how long it will take to reach. I want to compete in and complete a Masters race. I have no illusions (delusions?) of winning one. But I want to roll over the line with the field. A second step in that goal is to reach a point in the season where I am able to contribute significantly to the success of my team. This means I may not finish a race, but I give myself for the team in such a way that I help one of our riders to victory. My greatest fear is that I will simply be out there looking good in the POA colors and not being able to play a role in the team’s success.

GOAL #2 – Place with a field finish in a Masters 35+ race and go on to contribute in a noticeable way to the success of the POA Cycling Team.

My final goal concerns my objectives for the 2011 Ride for Mike. This year is going to be different and will probably take away some of my drive for racing, but will open the doors for a great future on the bike beyond competition. An off the bike goal for 2011 is the creation of a public charity that will exist to help others honor and memorialize those they love. I want to help others do their own “Ride for Mike.”

The tangible goal for this will be the LiveSTRONG Challenge in Austin, Texas next October. That will be the 2011 Ride for Mike, but it will also be the opportunity for others to do their own “Ride for” campaign. Stay tuned to IRideFor.org to keep up with the plans and to participate.

That leads me to my specific third goal of the year — to do my best to chase down Lance like I did in 2008. I covered the course that year in around 3 hours and 45 minutes. I’d like to better that time for the 90 miles in 2011.

GOAL #3 – A sub 3 hour 45 minute finish in the 2011 LiveSTRONG Challenge in Austin, Texas.

Just typing this and I’m feeling a little more motivated! I just hope that Jim hasn’t given up on me. I was supposed to have already given him these goals for the upcoming year. Sending these along to him will flip the switch and get 2011 underway!

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About Jonathan Pait

Jonathan started riding mountain bikes in the early 1990s. After discovering the ride can start at the end of his driveway, he moved to the road in 2006. Little did he know that first pedal stroke would lead him on an adventure that has become much larger than the bicycle.