Writing about the wins is easy. There is a high from the effort and the achievement that fuels the desire to share that awesome feeling with everyone while it’s still tingling in your limbs.

Writing about the losses, the poor results, and the futile efforts is so much more difficult, at least for me. I barely want to acknowledge they happened, let alone share them publicly.

Though unintentional, I realize that without the losses, I portray an unrealistic image.

My two biggest fans – my 10 year old son, Kai, and my 8 year old daughter, Madison – are watching my every move and my every reaction. The last thing I want them to have is an unreachable image of success or an unrealistic expectation of achievement.

For me, the reality is that I, like all focused athletes, face disappointments all the time: I can’t maintain the target power range for a workout, I pig out on junk food, I finish dead last (or close to) at a race, I break my equipment, I miss a workout, I don’t sleep well, a race gets cancelled, I crash, the list goes on and on.

Acknowledging the challenges is important, but how we handle the frustration is even more significant. I would have preferred to lie in bed for a few days after Sugar Hill. I wanted to punch things after my performance in the mud at Millstone Grind. I could have easily thrown my bike into the bushes and cried like a small child at Bear Creek.

That’s not the example I want to set for my children.

After Sugar Hill, I dragged myself out of bed and raced Mooch Madness the next day. I was seriously beat up from multiple crashes, everything ached, I was bruised everywhere, I was so tired I couldn’t see straight, but I also knew that putting in a double header would pay off later in the season.

My experience at The Millstone Grind/Winding Trails has improved my bike-handling skills in wet conditions.

I used the heartbreak and anger from Bear Creek to crack a personal record for a 14-minute interval workout a few days later. (Nothing motivates me to train harder than a crappy race.)

Not giving in to those very inviting negative behaviors is a win. Using any little morsel from those experiences to create something positive or to drive achievement is a win.

Disappointment is a reality we all have to deal with, but successes happen every day, too.

Kristine Contento-Angell's Reality Check | Saturday, June 27th, 2015

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