come along for the ride
I feel that racing is much more than simply where I place as the checkered flag drops. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” This is the essence of racing for me; I ride for enjoyment and for the journey. You may finish at the back of the pack when you start racing, but you gain so much from just the experience itself.
I was reminded of this standing in line for tech at the AFM race on Saturday. I had just finished my first Clubman race. I think I beat one person and didn’t particularly like the times I turned in. The tech asked me how I did and I said, ‘Ok’. he responded that in his first race he came in dead last, but was so excited when he finished it felt like he had won. In his mind he had won, because he had accomplished one of his dreams. This is how I needed to look at my race. It was necessary for me to see the accomplishments that I had made that got me to that tech line. These include being a skilled enough rider to get a license with the AFM and to be fast enough to meet the time qualifications for the next race.
Do not to judge a race by the position you finish in, but by what goals you were able to achieve. Set small attainable goals for each race so you come out of it feeling like you have succeeded. By making small goals I have finished races that from the outside may look like I didn’t do so well, but to myself I had made progress.
I look at a race weekend as the sum of the memories and the accomplishments I take away from it. Each weekend I am able to interact with and enjoy the people around me. Throughout my first AFM race weekend a crew of supportive people surrounded me; all of who pointed out what I was doing right, showed me where I needed to improve and told me how to go about doing that. With their help and guidance I was able to focus on certain problem areas, my technique improved and my lap times dropped. I may not have come in first on either of my races, but as long as I am able to chase my dream, I will always come away feeling like a winner.