For me, one of the greatest joys of endurance sports is riding your bike in a place you have never been before. One of my favorite places I have ever ridden is Corsica, with quiet roads, amazing villages, perfect roads, and vistas of the Mediterranean around almost every curve. In the special riding that Europe has to offer, it sits at the very top. As I close my eyes and think of hurtling down the descent described below, it is with daydreams of Corsica that I envision. What is your favorite place to ride? When you close your eyes, where do you wish to be descending in our story?
You are descending a straight road, hurtling at a speed with warm air flowing over your skin, and the whole of the outside world removed from your mission of speed and safety as you drive toward the bottom of the hill. A corner approaches, a strong bend in the road, and as a seasoned rider you set yourself up. You glide to the middle of the lane, you judge your speed and choose your line. Eyes toward the exit, outside foot down and weighted, you lean the bike into the turn. Your bike leans into the turn and you feel the force pulling you to the outside of the turn as you hit the apex, but it is now that you can begin to accelerate again. Stay supple, pump the legs on the pedals and ride toward a new direction, gaining speed once again.
If you close your eyes, I am sure you can imagine that feeling of speed, the slowing and navigation of a corner, and the fluid reacceleration out of the turn. Welcome to a great athlete navigating Covid-19. Smart athletes will adapt to changed conditions, are energized by challenges, and take calculated chances on their path to performance.
There is no doubt that our current situation caused even the most committed and driven athletes, of course, to end up in the bushes or with flat tires down our story's hill, with it sometimes feeling like the brakes were failing. For many of us, the last weeks have been the greatest challenge of our lives. As we now look forward, and races begin to bubble up on the horizon, the racing and fitness landscape is going to look very different. How we lead our work lives and family lives will evolve. There will likely be many more challenges and changes ahead, not all of them easy or positive. We can collectively anticipate the changes, but so much is still unknown and still foggy. This means that to successfully navigate the turn and accelerate out the other side, great athletes will ensure they keep their eyes open on the road ahead -- but at the same time still keep their legs pumping on the pedals.
Food for thought as we begin our journey to emerge stronger.
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