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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have had the nutrition thread, so now that the race season is starting I thought I would start the Jitter thread. I started racing 4 years ago when I was 41 BECAUSE the thought of it scared the crap out of me. Intellectually I knew it made no sense, "It's just a bike race". Over the years I've asked a lot of other people if they get the jitters and it's amazing me to how many people say no, but are running to the port a potty before the race ;) I guess it's not cool or manley to admit your nervous. :confused:
Since the Sea Otter is a few days away and it's my A race for the year, I can already feel the nerves kicking in. For me the amount of jitters I get is half of what it was like when I first started racing. I would like to here from others who have had sucess fighting the Jitter demon!!
What works for me is to stop thinking about how I will place. The better chance I have of getting ont he podium the worse the jitters are. I just started road racing and don't even get the jitters because I know I have no chance of doing well. Let me know what has worked for you...breathe ......breathe....I'm in my happy place :p
 

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Metalheadbikerider
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Great thread....

For me the best part about racing expert is that I have zero expectations (except to finish strong), which means I have far less jitters. One thing I have been doing this season is some mental training-I say over and over during rides, sitting on the couch, eating dinner, etc:
"I'm getting stronger every day. I can't wait to race. Racing is going to be an awesome way to celebrate my fitness!"

I plan to make some signs that have my mantras listed so I can post them right in front of my face where I train. I think far too many people overlook the mental aspect of training.

Another thing I do is focus on what is going to happen when the race is over, versus the race itself. I think about the comraderie with friends, that great chemical release and feeling I get, and of course the killer food I will be chowing down on. I even think about the fun thing I may have planned for that night, and look forward to that as well. It seems to help keep me at ease.
 

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I already rode that
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Running to the portapotty prerace jitters? I dont really get jitters before the race starts. I know where I usually finished and the only things I usually thought of before the gun goes off is the riders around me and how I must have the heaviest bike there being like Im the only one on a FS bike maybe besides 2 others out of 35+.
I felt better as I passed peeps though :)

ANother thing I thought of during the race is how can some of these guys even be in expert class being that they rode slow in some sections and whatnot. Like this one time I was following some guy or he was following me and we bombed down this sandy downhill and the guy infront of us was slowing down for some reason. Anyways he got mad at us cause we fly by him but we were both like this is a race dude... opps no jitters there but reminded me of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good Stuff!

free-agent said:
For me the best part about racing expert is that I have zero expectations (except to finish strong), which means I have far less jitters. One thing I have been doing this season is some mental training-I say over and over during rides, sitting on the couch, eating dinner, etc:
"I'm getting stronger every day. I can't wait to race. Racing is going to be an awesome way to celebrate my fitness!"

I plan to make some signs that have my mantras listed so I can post them right in front of my face where I train. I think far too many people overlook the mental aspect of training.

Another thing I do is focus on what is going to happen when the race is over, versus the race itself. I think about the comraderie with friends, that great chemical release and feeling I get, and of course the killer food I will be chowing down on. I even think about the fun thing I may have planned for that night, and look forward to that as well. It seems to help keep me at ease.
I agree the lower the expectations the lower the jitters for me as well. Thinking about the post race In & Out burger always helps :)
 

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merlin said:
We have had the nutrition thread, so now that the race season is starting I thought I would start the Jitter thread. I started racing 4 years ago when I was 41 BECAUSE the thought of it scared the crap out of me. Intellectually I knew it made no sense, "It's just a bike race". Over the years I've asked a lot of other people if they get the jitters and it's amazing me to how many people say no, but are running to the port a potty before the race ;) I guess it's not cool or manley to admit your nervous. :confused:
Since the Sea Otter is a few days away and it's my A race for the year, I can already feel the nerves kicking in. For me the amount of jitters I get is half of what it was like when I first started racing. I would like to here from others who have had sucess fighting the Jitter demon!!
What works for me is to stop thinking about how I will place. The better chance I have of getting ont he podium the worse the jitters are. I just started road racing and don't even get the jitters because I know I have no chance of doing well. Let me know what has worked for you...breathe ......breathe....I'm in my happy place :p
Here is my list of things to think about.
http://ashwinearl.blogspot.com/2005/04/by-power-of-greyskull-i-have-power.html

the key is what can you control and what can't you control. From everything I've ever read about jitters/butterflys, is that they are good for you. It's part of your body;s way of priming the pipes to rage.

I HATE the last few minutes before the start. Can't stand the mindless chatter all around me, and the constant fidgeting. It all disappears after the gun goes off.
 

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ashwinearl's list is great!

There is another perspective that nobody has mentioned yet. At my level (sport), I believe that the outcome of races is deterministic. The best prepared racer, the fastest racer, will win. There is no hiding weakness in MTB racing! So there's nothing to worry about! You're going to place how you're going to place...

(Of course you could make a mistake and crash, or bonk, but those aren't the types of things that make me nervous...)
 

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man, i have my first race ever this saturday and i was really crapping my pants these past two weeks... been riding the course (or what i have been able to determine as the course from a map) a lot and it's really damn hard -- lots of steep, steep technical climbs and i'll have to dismount for at least part of 'em. also, my bike weighs just a hair under 30 pounds. quite the race rig, eh?

naturally i'll be racing beginner, but i think i'll be happy just finishing the race. that's what i'm banking on for relieving my stress right now -- just try to finish the race.
 

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i worship Mr T
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sadly, i have no advice. :(

when i used to compete in gymnastics i would get so nervous at meets that i would actually pass out. at least at bike races i stay conscious!

nevertheless, my pre-race jitters are so bad that i probably burn more energy being stressed out and nervous before the race than i do actually racing. seeing as racing is not how i make my living and the outcome of each race really has absolutely no bearing on the rest of my life you would think that i would be able to talk myself out of being so nervous. but, no luck. i'm a basket case before each and every race. if i could conquer the jitters i would probably do 1000 times better in every race. and if i didn't do any better i'd probably have a heck of a lot more fun racing.

rt - queen of the jitters
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
*rt* said:
sadly, i have no advice. :(

seeing as racing is not how i make my living and the outcome of each race really has absolutely no bearing on the rest of my life you would think that i would be able to talk myself out of being so nervous. rt - queen of the jitters
I tell myself the same thing all the time and it never seems to make a differance. I remember hearing that before his first superball win that someone had to wake upTom Brady from a nap to play the game! I can't sleep a night or two before a race where NO ONE cares how I do and I'm not getting paid to do it and he's sleeping before a game where BILLIONS of people will be watching and he is making zillions of $$ to perform :eek:
 

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actually, your blog made me think of something...

that i have recently started doing to try to control the pre-race jitters and that is to set a specific and realistic goal for each race and sometimes for each lap in my race.

coming off a season racing sport 2 years ago where i never finished lower than 1st made my expectations completely unrealistic going into my first year racing expert last year. i really thought that with the additional training i did over the winter before my first season in expert that i would be placing at least in the top 5 in every race i did. however i soon discovered that expert was a whole new world and my finishes ranged from the top of the podium to 2nd to last. it was discouraging to say the least - especially since there really was no way to tell how i would do from one race to the next.

this year i have the advantage that i am racing almost entirely the same courses i did last year and i have all my notes from last year. so, going into my 1st race this year i set a goal of a specific lap time for each of my laps. i still had a horrible case of the jitters but the end result was a podium finish. :) unfortuantely, it didn't work so well for my race this past weekend. lots of jitters and a lousy finish. oh well, as ashwinearl notes, you can't control everything and sometimes those are the things that decide where you finish.

oh, and another thing i do is i make sure i am as organized as is humanly possible before each race. disorganization is my downfall and leaves me feeling stressed and frazzled. if i know where everything is, who will do my feed zone, where they will be, etc then i am a bit calmer.

still if i could reduce the jitters to a more reasonable level it would be great.

rt
 

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merlin said:
I tell myself the same thing all the time and it never seems to make a differance. I remember hearing that before his first superball win that someone had to wake upTom Brady from a nap to play the game! I can't sleep a night or two before a race where NO ONE cares how I do and I'm not getting paid to do it and he's sleeping before a game where BILLIONS of people will be watching and he is making zillions of $$ to perform :eek:
LOL!! i wish i could fall asleep before a race and then win! i'm like you, can't sleep for days before a race. though i did discover the wonders of chemically induced sleep before my race last weekend. a while back when i had a really bad allergic reaction the doc gave me an rx for ambien (sleep aid). i had 2 left and took one last saturday night before my race. slept like a baby, but still had a lousy race. doh!

the problem is, eventhough no one else in the world gives a rat's behind how i do in my race as i'm heading up to the start line that race seems to me to be the most important thing i've ever done or will do, despite the fact that logically i know that's not true.

rt
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
*rt* said:
the problem is, eventhough no one else in the world gives a rat's behind how i do in my race as i'm heading up to the start line that race seems to me to be the most important thing i've ever done or will do, despite the fact that logically i know that's not true.

rt
If it makes you feel any better I feel the exact same why! I bet you also start thinking of what your going to write in race post on MTBR as well right?
 

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merlin said:
If it makes you feel any better I feel the exact same why! I bet you also start thinking of what your going to write in race post on MTBR as well right?
good to know i am not alone out there. :)

YES!! EXACTLY!! i do start thinking about how my race report post will start as i'm racing. ....when i'm not coaching myself and reminding myself how to ride smoothly. i can't decide if it helps to calm me down or if it just distracts me from what i should be thinking about.

rt
 

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*rt* said:
LOL!! i wish i could fall asleep before a race and then win! i'm like you, can't sleep for days before a race. though i did discover the wonders of chemically induced sleep before my race last weekend. a while back when i had a really bad allergic reaction the doc gave me an rx for ambien (sleep aid). i had 2 left and took one last saturday night before my race. slept like a baby, but still had a lousy race. doh!

the problem is, eventhough no one else in the world gives a rat's behind how i do in my race as i'm heading up to the start line that race seems to me to be the most important thing i've ever done or will do, despite the fact that logically i know that's not true.

rt
I read somewhere that how you sleep the night before a race isn't as important as the sleep you get 2 nights before the race. At least if this is right than I don't worry so much if I get a bad nights sleep the night before.

but then again I've got ambien too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ambien

I tried Ambien just because I've always had problems sleeping and it was weird. I would fall asleep then wake up BAM at 3am and could not go back to sleep.
I've pretty much given up on a good nights sleep before a race and it's really helped me sleep ;)
 

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Dude, that's not pre-race jitters...

that shaking is just being 45! :D :D :D

Just kidding old man! Good luck this weekend, Amanda and I will be thinking about you while cruising the bikepath in Folsom with Rylan.

Have fun...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Funny

Roger___ said:
that shaking is just being 45! :D :D :D

Just kidding old man! Good luck this weekend, Amanda and I will be thinking about you while cruising the bikepath in Folsom with Rylan.

Have fun...
Thanks ASSWIPE :)
Can I ride with you guys instead 3+ hours racing? :confused:
 

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merlin said:
I tried Ambien just because I've always had problems sleeping and it was weird. I would fall asleep then wake up BAM at 3am and could not go back to sleep.
I've pretty much given up on a good nights sleep before a race and it's really helped me sleep ;)
i have the same problem with ambien if i take it for a couple nights in a row. by the 3rd night i wake up at 4 am and that's it. i'm awake.

yup, i've also given up on the good night's sleep before a race. i just aim to try to get enough sleep to keep me from feeling really hideous in the morning. :rolleyes:

rt
 
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