Last Saturday, April 25th, 2009, in Athens, Georgia, at one of the biggest Criterium races in the World, The Athens Twilight Criterium, Adrian Hegyvary secured the biggest result in his racing career, a third place finish.
Now, you must understand, cycling results are very different from most other sports. In most other athletic disciplines, you win or you lose. Whereas in cycling, a high paying professional athlete may go years without ever winning a race. The esteem of a bike racer depends upon their ability to help secure “results,” whether it be by helping a teammate win, or by placing top ten in a world class race. Adrian placing third at the Athens Twilight Crit is a monstrously amazing example of this.
What is even more amazing is how Adrian got to this place in his bike racing career. Last year Adrian had had one of his worst racing seasons ever. He had an entire year of no results on the pro road racing circuit (though he did kick butt on the velodrome), and ended the season with a horrific crash that put him in the hospital with a torn shoulder that would prevent him from attending track National Championships, where he would have been a favorite to win the Madison and other endurance events.
In the Fall Adrian began attending the UW Law School. Doubt concerning the direction and possibility of his future racing career haunted him. On several occasion Adrian was on the verge of hanging up the bike and calling it quits. After seven years of solid dedication to cycling, his ambitions seemed to be leading nowhere.
But, despite the stresses of life and school, Adrian decided to just keep on doing what he loved. And what he loved was to train and ride his bike. In all honesty, it is quite frightening how much Adrian loves bikes.
You see, the point behind all this is simple: there was no magic new training plan that Adrian did that took him to the next level. There was no fitness fairy that came from Never-ever land and sprinkled Adrian with lactate threshold dust. Nope. Adrian’s jump to the next level as an athlete occurred solely because he did not quit. He kept on training, stuck to it, and after seven hard years he is finally seeing the results that will land him a high-paying professional contract.
One last thing should be said about this all. One of the main reasons preventing Adrian from quitting–even when quitting seemed logical (just ask him about his European racing experiences…)–is that Adrian loves racing his bike. He is not doing it to prove his self-worth, or to prove anything to anyone. He is doing it because he is passionate about it and it fulfills him. This mindset is absolutely mandatory to make any life passion sustainable.
All to often people burn out because they are trying to prove something to themselves or to others, and they begin to forget the simple pleasures of their activities, and when this happens the little voices of failure begin to get louder and louder. So, always remember to do something because you love it.
Take it to the next level.