50 years ago, Business 101 advocated: 1) Determine your goal; 2) Research and develop plans how to achieve it; 3) Implement the best plan; 4) Monitor progress to be sure you are on track; and 5) Adjust if the plan is not on target. Of course, variations mutated, but the basis is the same today. As an aside, the new generation of managers seems to have forgotten 4 and 5 and take it as an affront if anyone says their plan isn't working. But, you ask, how does this pertain to my cycling?
At the beginning of the year I thought it would be good to get into USAC racing to help improve my overall speed and stamina. After last year's State Championship race result (last) I harbored no hopes of winning, but just the effort gave me encouragement. I researched the standings and while there was no chance of coming close to first or second in accumulated points, the large gap to third gave me a goal to shoot for. Additionally, even placing last, I gathered a handful of points. Taken with my second place finish in the time trial, my final placing (with only two USAC races) was 21st. Thus, I reasoned, if I entered sufficient races this year, I could gather enough points to compete for third in the final standings. That became my goal, and my plans to achieve it.
Now that I have two race week-ends under my lycra, reality has set in. I had done a really, really poor job of research. For instance, I knew I'd be racing in the 60+ category, that they didn't have a 65-69 bracket except at State. What I didn't know, but should have, is in the races the 60+ guys are grouped with the 50+ guys. The older guys are shelled in a hurry, and at the moment, I'm the first one to go.
The other factor not taken into account was the number of really fast 59 year olds who this year are in my bracket. Last year there were 8-12 in my age group; this year 16-20 and all faster than me. Thus, my points gathering has now been seriously diminished.
Unlike the current crop of managers, I have no problem admitting an error in planning. There is no plan adjustment I can make to get me to the goal, so the goal will have to be reset. Still a challenge, but rather than a podium finish, I now am shooting for top ten.