Every Great Champion must deal with setbacks and defeat. Yesterday was my turn. Playing Clubber Lang to my Rocky (Matt Serra to my GSP for you young kids) was my “little” brother who bested me at a race for the first time in our endurance career. He was nervous and pulled out all the stops, rented race wheels, a borrowed aero helmet and, you know, lots of actual training. While I was resting on my laurels, sure that I had done it before so I would do it again.
I was dominated in every facet of the game once we left the water, a place where I remain supreme. He had quick transitions, a ferocious bike, and a strong run. While I made rookie mistake after rookie mistake, an adequate bike that wasn’t up to the task, and a sub par run that let Ben catch me inside the last mile. I was beaten up one side and down the other. He put in the work and he deserved the dominant victory.
But what makes a great champion is what you do with your defeat. Do you give up and cash in your chips. Or do you become more determined, get back to basics and back to work. My coach and I have have already booked a flight to Nepal where we will be spending a month folding origami cranes and meditating on what has gone wrong. We will come back renewed, rejuvenated and ready to kick-ass next year.