Consider this thought experiment. It’s race day, and you get to pick between these 2 races:
Race 1 will be held in horrible weather — 40 degrees and a steady rain. By the end of the race you’ll be so cold that your fingers will hurt, your arms will be numb, and it will be all you can do to unzip and pull off your wet clothes. You’ll be shivering for a full hour after the race. But you will have been in the winning breakaway, finishing 3rd while your teammate won.
Race 2 will be held in dry weather. You’ll get to race hard, but you won’t finish in the money and your team gets no real result. Then because it’s dry you’ll get to ride another 30 miles after the race. Your bike is clean, your shoes and clothes are dry, and you had a good day of training. But you had no result.
Which do you choose?
This was the situation last weekend. Race 1 (Race at the Lake) was the coldest I’ve ever been at the end of a race. But given the choice, that is the race I would pick.
When a race is over, my visceral response generally tells me whether it was a good race or not. If I tell someone about the race, the way that I describe it tells me how satisfied I was. Did I ride smart or stupidly? Was my fitness good or lacking? Did I do everything I could when it counted? And was the result commensurate with the effort?
As miserable as Saturday’s race was, I’d rather endure those conditions and have that result.
And besides, races like that are the ones you get to tell stories about.