Co-Founder Kelli explains the difference between years one and two of riding the BP MS 150. Hint: Mind over matter...
What a difference one year makes.
Year 1 of riding the BP MS 150 went something like this:
- Day 1 – This is so fun, but I’m dying
- Day 2 – More riding?! I’m seriously dying
- One Day Post Race – I can’t move, I’m definitely dying
- One Week Post Race – I’m still sore, I feel like I have the flu, how am I still alive?
- 1.5 Weeks Post Race – I can finally sit on the toilet without crying
- 2 Weeks Post Race – I think I’m gonna lay off the bike for a while…
Year 2 looked more like this:
- Day 1 – I feel awesome, I remember why I liked this so much last year
- Day 2 – My butt’s sore, but otherwise I’m feeling pretty strong
- One Day Post Race – My legs muscles are sore but nothing a little massage can’t work out
- Two Days Post Race – How am I not sore anymore? This is amazing. Can we do the MS 150 again tomorrow?!
Although both years were fun and challenging, year 1 and year 2 felt like night and day to me. Despite the fact that I trained more for my first year, I felt better and finished stronger in my second. I literally did not get on a bike for an entire year, had zero outdoor training rides for year 2, but somehow managed to completely smoke my previous year’s record. How is that possible? What was the difference? Here are my observations.
The fact that I knew I had survived the previous year, gave me a much needed confidence boost heading into year two. I already knew I was physically and mentally capable of completing 150+ miles on a bike in 2 days, so I wasn’t as nervous heading into my second century plus ride. I no longer needed to use up brain power just worrying about survival, instead my mindset shifted to being in the moment and enjoying the ride.
- Muscle Memory
Even though I had only completed the course one time before, somehow my body remembered the gist of the course. I knew when hard parts were coming up and where to conserve energy. I knew how long between breakpoints and how far until my next drink of ice cold water. I knew what portions of the course to savor and which ones to power through. I had more of a strategy coming into year two, which resulted in a more successful (and pleasant) ride.
- Everything is easier the second time around
No matter the activity, things are always easier the second time – whether you are learning to tie your shoe or drive a car, traveling abroad or learning a new language, starting a company or a brand new job. The 2nd time, 2nd day, or 2nd effort is almost always going to be better because you have gotten through much of the awkwardness of trying something brand new. Like a baby giraffe learning to walk for the first time on its lanky little legs, having some practice under your belt will pretty much guarantee improved performance.
What shocked me most of all is that all of these things are psychological. I wasn’t more fit or more practiced. I didn’t have a better bike or better weather conditions. What I had was a different mindset. One that was more prepared, more experienced, and more excited for the journey to come. And THAT made all the difference in the world.
So if you are about to ride or just finished your first BP MS 150 ride, my advice to you is to do it again next year. Your first time is magical. Everything is new and exciting and the sense of accomplishment at the end is unparalleled. You will have fun, there is no doubt about that, but just wait until your second year. Just when you thought things couldn’t get better, they do. It’s no wonder this event attracts riders year after year (some have attended for decades!) If year one I was hooked and year two I felt on top of the world, I can’t wait to see what happens in year three and after.