Sunday, January 9, 2011

What does it take to really become a champion?

I have been working on a book for a while. Actually several books, some fiction some non fiction. I had been exploring writing a bicycle racing book. After all I have been racing since 1984, and have won a few races over the years. I figure that I have a little something to offer, at least for a beginning racer, or someone trying to step up to an elite level. It's not like you are going to write a 400 page book and tell someone how to win a Grand Tour, that takes years of work, you don't start training on the Friday after Thanksgiving for that one.

I got to thinking a bit about some of the characteristics in what makes a champion. I have won a few State Championships, and didn't think anything super special at that time about any of it. Some people just perform at certain races, and success comes from experience and putting the right tactics together. What really got me thinking is what has changed for myself, and some other master's racers over the years from when we raced elite and now. It's obvious we enjoy what we do, but that doesn't necessarily make everything right. Enjoyment doesn't get you out at pre dawn hours in freezing cold.

I started to boil things down to obsession. There are small and large obsessions in our lives. Many think negatively about that word as well. Yes, in the wrong hands, just like a weapon, obsession can be misused and cause damage to oneself and others. A healthy obsession however can pay massive dividends if applied correctly. I realized that when I was younger there was a certain obsession involved in riding at a very high level. Those that feed it, and fully explore it's boundaries seem to take that next step up. Those that use it wisely have some success. Managing it in your life can change you forever.

At our advanced ages, with some desire for success in whatever we do, how do we artificially create an obsession without that motivation? That I am still searching for. How to start that water boiling again so to speak. I have found books about combating an obsession, but few that help in creating one. Observing and mapping out one's energies from day to day, and how to really focus them is very difficult, we lead scattered lives, with little strings pulling us in many directions at once.

So my partial conclusion on what it takes to become a champion is a healthy obsession. Now for how to do just that.

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