Race sensations, Pt. 4: Achievement

Achievement. To succeed is to be wholly elated with an outcome. It is a feeling of accomplishment, a flawless agreement in the causal chain. If I prepare and if I train, then I will deliver a result commensurate. I have trained hard, ridden fast and far, and to be the fastest is the only desirable outcome.

I’ll settle for top ten, or top twenty, thirty. I’ll settle for completing. I’ll settle for starting. I’ll settle for even considering it. To each their own the concept of achievement. For me, reflecting on an achievement means dissecting it for all it’s worth and doing as analytical (from the gut) cross-section of how I performed comparing myself to myself and no one else.

It’s confusing because racing is the act of comparing yourself with others. How do you stack up? You’ll never know unless you stand on the line. Competition isn’t just the ruthless comparison of two or fifty people. Competition is a filter. Everyone feels frail and weak and scared of how they may compare, but to compete is standing defiant of this fact. Achievement can be as simple as this.

I, myself, am a pretty competitive person. I do and do not like to admit it. To some it indicates that I am achievement driven, to others it’s interpreted as the baseless need to always win. I’d prefer to look at it as the former, but to wade through the morass of emotions that come with competition is difficult. Not everyone openly embraces anticipation, frustration and failure.

Achievement is not a warm, fuzzy feeling of success. It doesn’t shine on you, tailing you like a smiling sun in a Disney musical. Achievement is more like a complete satisfaction, of confidence in the face of uncertainty. It’s watching A move to B and onward to C in a predictable line and knowing the only gratitude you owe yourself is acknowledging you control the hand that draws the line.

As such it’s in racing that you cross that first point, the start line and march to the finish despite everything. It’s being able to fold back every other emotional indicator and see how you performed, for you and no one else and what work you did to create that.

For me this is the most important aspect of racing. It’s to plot a course for an invisible horizon and once the day’s done gaze at the stars and gauge your progress. I don’t race to win, but I race to race. I race to face my anxieties and ride through it all. I race because it’s a clearcut approach to examining myself and how comfortable I am with failure. I race to achieve, or at least realize what it means to achieve.

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