Race Anecdotes: The Power of Perspective

Jessica McWhirt
6 min readMay 9, 2019

This time last year, I wasn’t stoked on racing. As a newly minted Cat 3, I was coming in mid-pack and feeling demoralized. When you go from podium’ing every race to unremarkable finishes, fragile egos shatter. I didn’t blame anyone but myself for my poor performance. What was I doing wrong?

One of my teammates convinced me to try PHP. It’s this unofficial ride that sees, on average, 40 racers at 6:00 AM. The first time I showed up I thought I had the wrong meeting spot because no one was there. And at precisely 6:00 AM, the group appeared and we took off.

I went to this hammerfest weekly. Sure, I was dropped faster than you could say, “wait for me!” but I kept going. I’d hang on a little bit longer and a little bit longer. Next thing I knew, I won the State Championship Road Race.

Angela, my personal guru, brought up last year: how I was second-guessing myself and I put in a ton of work and now I’m reaping the benefit.

Perspective is everything.

When we’re in the thick of it, not seeing the forest through the trees, our perspective is drastically different. It’s hard, if not damn near impossible, to see the growth we’re experiencing as it’s happening. Just like we didn’t really notice ourselves getting taller, buying bigger shoes — just one day, we were a big kid. Then we were an adult. How did I grow from a three year old to who I am right now?

We train our asses off morning, noon, and night. We watch what we eat. We get a good night’s rest. We treat our bodies like a well-oiled machine in hopes it’ll perform the way we want it to.

Looking back at this time last year, I realize that we need to have shitty experiences. We need to get our asses handed to us like like a drippy waffle plate. We need to fail. We need to second-guess ourselves. We need to dare greatly and come up short again and again and again. Shoutout to Teddy.

I quote Roosevelt probably too much but it stands true:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer…