We all have them - that point where we are happiest, relaxed and just comfortable. It doesn't matter if it's in life or on the bike, we settle into those comfort zones and stay there - either not realizing that we are there or unwilling to make a change. And sometimes, that's okay. There's not always a reason to push the limits or make drastic changes. Until there is. Until there is something that makes us realize that there is a whole world out there, filled with new experiences. Then that comfort zone becomes a barrier holding you back.
On the bike, comfort zones tend to be speed and technically related. "I'm not fast enough to line up with those girls, I'll get my ass kicked." or "That rock garden scares me so I'm not going to sign up for that race." But wait a minute. Re-read those statements. Presented like that, the comfortable sounds like a limiter, doesn't it? Instead of just keeping us safe and happy, it's holding us back from what might be possible. What if you took the leap and tried racing in the faster group? Or signed up for a race with some technical features that scare you? You could finish last - but you also might win. Without the push of the other riders around you, without the challenge, how will you ever know what might happen? It's easy to stay safe, to stay with the group and on the trails that we know and can predict. But it only takes one breakthrough to realize that sometimes getting a good old fashioned ass-kicking can be the best thing ever. I should know - it's happened to me plenty of times! But I challenged myself, understanding that sometimes in order to win, I had to finish dead last first.
Challenging those comfort zones also can mean changing strategies. Are you someone who stays in the pack, waiting for the right time to make a move? Or are you someone that bolts from the gun and hangs on for as long as possible? Well, maybe tomorrow is the time to change that strategy. Break free from the predictable and do something different. If you like sitting in, then try the sprint from the gun. Or instead of charging at the start, unleash that sprint at the finish. See what happens when you push yourself in a different way. The results might be surprising.
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