Cycling Time Trial Lessons for Life: Sacrifice, Defeat, Winning

Author: tracysigler | Posted: December 10th, 2012 | | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

(Photo by Tricia Plays)

A few years ago at the age of 43 I set a very middling time at a popular bicycling hill-climb-time-trial in Asheville, NC. Seriously, my time was pretty much the dead-on median for guys in my age bracket. I thought I was in reasonably good shape at the time, but was certain I could do better the next year. I couldn’t. Or the year after that. In fact, I was so much slower, due to bad planning and training, that I didn’t even enter. At 46 this year, I knew the odds of me improving were not getting better.

I put a plan together and stuck to it. For something like 30 years this race has been in May. By April I was in great shape and knew a PR (personal record) was going to happen. My only physical or cycling goal at this time was to beat my performance from three years before.

I started checking the sponsoring team’s website for the exact date, but there was no info. I checked back a couple times, still nothing. Finally I emailed them. The response was devastating. “Yes, the race is on, but this year we are moving it to September.” Devastating because not only did I not want to maintain that level of fitness, I didn’t think it was even possible. I was at my limit. Depressed, I pretty much abandoned any organized training, got slow, gained weight, and put it out of mind.

At the beginning of August, with only five weeks to go, I decided I had to give it a shot. I still had some base fitness left, right? Maybe, but I had also gained some weight. I went out to the course and gave it my all. I felt like I was having an asthma attic at the end, and I don’t have asthma. The result, a miserable 27 minutes. Almost three full minutes slower than my goal. That is a huge deficit, over 10%. Success seemed beyond my reach.

But it wasn’t. Exactly five weeks later, race day, I posted another middling time, but at 24 minutes 9.45 seconds it was 1.76¬†seconds faster than my original time. Words fail me to communicate the intense feeling of satisfaction of reaching my goal.

Here’s what I learned or re-learned in the process: Read the rest of this entry »

What I Learned this Week: Be Prepared, Just in Case You Succeed

Author: tracysigler | Posted: November 10th, 2012 | | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

What I Learned this Week: Be Prepared, Just in Case You Succeed(Photo by robswatski)

Prepare for success. I do not mean: prepare so you can be successful, but be prepared for when you do succeed. It’s been known to happen.

I think it pays to think at least one step ahead. Ask yourself, if this thing actually works what’s my next move so I can make the most of the momentum? I’m not suggesting you hire extra customer service reps just in case your next product launch blows the roof off. But what if it does? Do you know what to do next?

We recently did a small product launch and sales were decent from go. But they kept getting better. I wanted to monitor it and then decide what to do next. If I had planned to deal with success we would have had product bundling ready, maybe some “upsells” to more expensive products, etc. The work to have this stuff ready was pretty minor and if it had been in the work queue already we could have increased the average dollars per transaction, guaranteed. So that’s some easy money we left on the table while we tried to catch up to our initial launch success.

“Iterating” with “minimum viable products” is smart and it certainly mitigates risk, but a little extra¬†planning doesn’t take much effort or money. With a plan for next steps, you’re ready to pounce when things go right.

P.S. I also believe thinking this way also improves your awareness of new opportunities.