I guess it was a pretty cool idea. We were supposed to read this little book and then read another one or something to learn to use our super powers.
I don't think anybody's super power was reading self help books.
About 15 years later, when I started at the Company, I was given an updated version of the same book. It's much simpler now. I think Gallup has something to do with it.
There's about 20 pages of reading and then you go online and answer about 100 or so questions. Well - not really questions. They put 2 words on either side of 5 radio buttons and you are asked to click a radio button that describes how you identify with those words. It would be something like:
Crafty o o o o o Eager.
If it was a tie, you'd click on the middle one. If you think you're more crafty than eager, it'd be one of the first 2 and so on.
After you get done, the magic box tells you what your super powers are. Then somebody at the office makes a nice little poster and hangs it outside your cubicle wall. These things are all over the company.
When I took the test, I thought it would be kind of general, like a horoscope or something. It was actually pretty amazing. When Jill read it, she was surprised by how accurate the assessment was.
It was pretty detailed and very specific. But here's the summary that somebody made and hung outside my cube:
The top one is "learner"
This one says you might like learning more than what you've learned.
The second one is "ideation"
I don't know what "ideation" means and I don't want to "learn" because it's an annoying sounding word..
Anyway, I bring this up to mention that I just had a fantastic weekend of learning.
I learned about:
1) Racing out of town
2) Criterium racing
Once I decided I was going to Clear Lake for the weekend races, Brady was at work trying to see if I could tag along with the Harvest guys and take advantage of the sweet host lodging a couple of them had worked tirelessly and thanklessly to secure. Bless their dear hearts.
Personally, I was thinking I might rather just get a motel room than bother with whatever inconvenience goes along with trying to share a house with a bunch of guys who have a ton of race prep to do.
I thought I'd prefer to just do my own thing. Come and go as I pleased, etc. That way, I don't depend on anyone else to get me to the race on time or get the sleep I need or a million other things.
I was wrong. These guys are all serious racers. They know preparation as well as anyone. They are all cat 1 or 2 racers. They're not going to get in my way. I have a lot to learn. Being around these guys is among the best of places to do that.
My race was in the early afternoon and theirs was late early mid early evening.
So after my race, we went to one of the houses where a few of the guys were staying. It was not what I expected. The house was silent. The guys were in different rooms, resting, meditating, or whatever.
It was such a laid back scene I just sat in a reclining chair and took a nap.
It was quiet until everybody was ready to ride over to the race. Just like going out for a ride. They got dressed and headed out the door. Relatively emotionless. Just plain cool.
Normally when I go out of town, I feel like I need to always be doing something. I need to see the sights or check out some restaurant or whatever.
Clear Lake is a pretty cool town and I would have liked to do a bunch of stuff.
What I realized is that we were there for one reason. To race our bikes around and around. And around. It wasn't a party. It wasn't a disco. It wasn't a time for fooling around.
It was actually way more relaxing than most vacations because I tend to get stressed, thinking I'm missing out on something. There was no pressure to do anything. Just lay around and wait to race.
It was one of my favorite mini-vacations ever.
The atmosphere at the house had a real "pro feel"
I've seen a few pro cycling documentaries and always thought it seemed odd the way they all just lay around doing nothing. But now I get it.
Sure - there was a group dinner after the race that was fun and relaxing, but it wasn't anything crazy - if you don't count the bachelorette party going around to all the tables, offering a "suck for a buck." Only Shim and I took advantage of this sweet deal. The Juniors had their slide rules out or something, telling Shim and me what a waste of money it was. Blow-pops, they explained, could be had for much less than a dollar at the local five and dime (The juniors were raised by people from the 1800's). These are 15 year old kids with carbon fiber wheels telling me I'm spending too much on a lollipop.
The other stuff I learned was in the race itself. I learned about how important it is (especially when there are a lot of turns) to consider your position on the road. Not just your place in the field, but how to be on the right (correct) side of the road at the right (correct) time. These races are about conserving energy when you can and burning it when you should.
The other thing I learned is way more important. In fact, it might be the most important thing I've ever learned about criterium racing ever. Ever. It's so powerful that I'm not going to tell you what it is.
It's been said before in other places many times and honestly, I don't want to be the one to tell you.
I will give you a hint though. The number one thing that I learned about crit racing while I was in Clear lake was something Brady said to me that he'd learned in his race. It reminded me of something I heard in a movie one time - "Get busy living or get busy dying."
There it is. The secret to crit racing. Sort of. Good luck.