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EuroCrossAcademy: The power of persistence

Ben Stokes writes in the team's latest blog that getting back up from disappointment is more than half the battle.

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During the holiday racing window, riders from the EuroCrossAcademy will be writing exclusive blog posts for VeloNews as they race the “kerstperiode” in Belgium.

ECA Rider Journal #11
Rider: Ben Stokes
Hometown: Norwalk, CT

Defeat is always hard, sometimes harder than the challenge you set out to accomplish to begin with.

Having the courage to pick yourself back up from your lowest of lows, and find a positive side of the situation, something you learned, or something small you did that you were proud of, is important to remember as an athlete and a person.

During one of our nightly meetings, our ECA director Geoff Proctor brought up how as athletes we are constantly faced with defeat, and that was a perspective I had not thought of before.

After he mentioned it, I reflected on some times where I had faced defeat, both in racing and in my daily life. I began to realize that as an athlete, more often than not, I have felt defeated.

From making mistakes mid-race and losing positions, having a bad day of training, or getting a bad grade on an assignment you worked hard on, it is more common than you think.

But I am still here, racing, learning, and giving it all I got.

Geoff also added that: more defining of a person than any loss is the way that person moves on. Taking a positive lesson from a bad experience, and getting back on your feet will always out-speak your failure.

As athletes, especially in cyclocross, there will always be times where the world goes against us, knocks us over onto our butts.

Sometimes it might be completely out of your control, some unfortunate mechanical issue, or a race-ending crash 10 seconds off the start line.

But other factors you can control, and mastering what you can ensures the smoothest race possible. In the end, it’s not entirely up to you, but making certain you can depend on your skillset at all times has a way of making things go your way.

It is impossible to predict what will happen in your race, but by learning from your past mistakes you can improve.

Putting 110 percent into becoming better and not making those same mistakes again is invaluable.

You will get knocked over in life. Everyone does, and it’s bound to happen.

But, just like in a race, just like in life, we get up, collect ourselves, and keep on riding.

Ben Stokes keeps pushing on. (Photo: @toelen_wouter)