A hammer is a heavy sharp, blunt tool. It has a big flat end, and a claw end (or some combination there of). You can swing it, you can throw it, you can do a lot of damage or a lot of good (building stuff). Either way, when you are the hammer you do stuff.
In contrast, a nail isn’t as commanding. A nail still serves a purpose, I mean for crying out loud it still holds some stuff together. But, a nail is at the mercy of the hammer – or thought of another way at the mercy of someone else deciding it’s fate.
You have good days doing things, you have bad days. Sometimes you are the hammer, other times you are the nail. It is pretty simple and pretty straightforward. Kind of hard to figure out if you are the kind of person that likes a routine and likes to be consistent at parts of their life.
By now, you probably have figured out I like riding 2 wheelers. It is kinda my thing. Some people are better at it than I, and some people not as good. But, regardless I dig it pretty much more than I dig other things. Burrito’s and beer are good, but a 2 wheeler of some kind is still better. I especially like to race a 2 wheeler. Somehow the thrill of trying to do it faster than other people around me, or faster than I have done it before – really thrills me. (I shoot to thrill).
Ok, where are you going with this Joe? I would like to tell you a tale of a couple of cyclocross races/training rides.
Last weekend I did the Badger Prairie CX race in Verona Wi. There were about 15 guys in my class, and I was the hammer – almost. I jumped away on the start and holeshotted away from the bunch. I was on a mission. I have been getting a lot of 3rd places in CX races and I really felt that I could win on Sunday. I plowed away at the front and 10 minutes into the race a guy came around me and just gapped me. I mean, he was right there, but I just couldn’t get there. Regardless, I was solidly 2nd. I crashed during the race and bent my derailleur hangar to the point that my bike was skipping the gear all over the place. It was impossible to pedal, much less shift. In spite of all of that, I was never really challenged for 2nd place. That is sort of hammer like.
Every Wednesday at work is CX group training day. This week, we had a rainy group ride on our CX loop at Trek. I am talking rainy and sloppy mud. Slippery and spluttery. My bike and shoes were both completely trashed after the hour of group CX training, requiring an immediate hosing off and a lot of work to make the bike ready for racing on Saturday. During this training ride, 2 guys that I had actually caught from the wave ahead of my wave at the race the past weekend, caught me and passed me (left me behind like a rock out of their pocket actually). I thought I should be able to go with them, but because of the mud and slippery conditions, I just could not. I have no excuse. They had the same tires and wheels and bikes that I had, but they were going really a lot faster than I was capable of going.
My quote after the ride “sometimes I am mediocre at riding this thing, and at other times I suck beyond explanation.” (The nail!)
I have had other experiences like this and other times where it went this way. Most of this year in the WIXC, except the early 2 races, I have been the hammer. I have won way more races than I have come in 2nd or so. Feels good to be the hammer, and somehow it never feels good being the nail.
We will see how this weekends cyclocross race goes and how next weekends Ironman GNCC goes. I am aiming at the nail head.