Process: n. pl. proc·ess·es (prssz, prss-, prs-sz, prs-) A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result.
I’ll admit that this has been a great year personally, but it wasn’t without its share of ups and downs. It started seemingly down with my employer walking in to my office one morning and giving me a package; which was a foreseeable step in a process that started months earlier with the termination of the management company that hired me, so no surprise. Although somewhat shocked I quickly realized that this action was a blessing and was the first step in the process that would, as silly as it sounds, allow me to find the healthy me who seemingly got lost somewhere along the way. That said, I decided on a summer off.
A few months later I was travelling south to take part in an iconic Pacific North West Stage Race in Hood River Oregon; The Mount Hood Cycling Classic (MHCC). Two conversations took place about the process of how to approach this event prior to and during. My first question about competing at MHCC was to an old friend in Edmonton on what to expect. His response was succinct; “expect to get dropped in short order and make it a good training block.” Knowing that I would be lining up with ex-pros and cat 1-2 master blasters I took solace in the impending solo rides I was about to endure and my desire to meet the time cuts. I finished all the stages, I wasn’t last and I managed to pull off a good result in the time trial which would have seen me successful had I been racing in a category race. Being part of the whole event was, well, amazing really. More important than how I did was the time I got to spend with a diverse group of incredibly motivated individuals; that time had impact.
The second conversation that set me up for making a positive light of the Oregon experience, and, one that would influence the rest of my season was a conversation about mental preparation that took place en route to dinner one night with a teammate. Sean, “the teammate,” was racing in the category 1-2 pro division and is a former Winter Olympian who has had the benefit of great coaching and training. Sean was selfless in his ability to share his experiences and I was really struck when we he made a comment about “how the process is more important than the outcome.” Brilliant really. If we focus mentally on the wanted result perhaps we lose track of the steps to achieve the desired outcome.
Driving back to Canmore I reflected on the race and realized that it was part of the seasonal process of preparation that would lead to some great outcomes, but those results were built on training, recovery and mental prep which = process. We went down knowing that we were going to make ourselves do something harder than we would have to do at home and, with that, we were able to get the experience, the mileage and muscle memory that would set us up for the remainder of the year and, not to mention, great memories.