When racing in a mass start event, should our primary focus be to hold onto the fastest possible competitors or be a contributor to the a pack’s success? Is it more rewarding to struggle and suffer to be the final member of a group to reach the finish. Or, is it more rewarding to have raced as an active leader, contributing at the front when possible?
I have spent numerous kilometers suffering to hold the wheel, skis, shoes, and draft of far superior athletes. They have dragged me to better performances than I might have managed during a solo effort. However, I feel a bit unfulfilled at the end. If I simply hung on at the back of the pack, I contributed little our collective success.
I have spent more time actively pace-making up front. I feel more of a reward at the finish and it aligns with my personal values. Even if a ‘hold on’ member of the group out-sprints us all at the line in a sudden burst of energy, I helped set-up our group for success.
If I measure results, the hold on method probably yields higher placings. If I reflect on personal satisfaction, the active leader yields better stories and deeper connections with those I supported.
No right or wrong. Just a reminder that individual choices and talents are not always visible on the result sheet.