The Nature of Things

Don't focus on how the world should work. Focus on figuring out how the world does work.

Too often we obsess about how things should be, and lose focus on how things really are. All things have a particular nature, and if something happens that's within its nature, we should expect it and not be surprised by it.
Crashing is in the nature of racing a criterium. When it happens, we should not be surprised or upset by it. Better yet, we should prepare for it (both mentally and physically), knowing that it is the inevitable consequence of our choices.
I know many cyclists who fear getting a flat tire. Flat tires are in the nature of riding bikes. Worrying about it does nothing to alleviate the problem, in fact, it only makes it worse. Learning how to change a flat does something about it, as does practicing changing flats. Stocking your repair kit and being prepared does something about it. Do these things, and most likely you won't fear the nature of tires anymore.
I once had a man get upset that I splashed him while we were swimming at a pool...
When it comes to giving advice on athletic training, it is in human nature to explain what worked for you. Often we do this quite convincingly and passionately. When you hear the impassioned argument to train one way, lift weights that way, and eat another way, remind yourself that this is a great example of someone who has figured out the nature of how they work. Take it, absorb the lesson (they may be right), and remember that the ultimate goal is to figure out the nature of how you work, not someone else.
How you work will most likely be frustratingly unique, and that's okay. I hope you are courageous enough to find it, and when you do, own it.
- Antonio Gonzalez


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