It all comes down to being a good winner and a good loser.
Sportsmanship has always been important to me. I may not always be the most polite when I've got my goggles on, but when the race is done I try to leave what happened on course on course and I'm happy to say that the girls I race with feel the same way.
Often time, especially younger riders, are so focussed on finishing first that they forget the lessons that can be learned from coming in second or third, or even finishing off the podium, out of the top ten, but just finishing. It's hard to see at the time, but just finishing a race is a challenge, and I don't mean specifically for us off roaders, but even motocross racers who have to be able to sprint at top speed for 30 minutes plus two laps. That's intense!
We live in a highly competitive society, and we're all focussed so much on winning that I think we should shift focus. Winning isn't everything, and when it boils down to it it's a regional cross country series: not even the Pros make money doing this.
There is absolutely zero reason to get worked up over not winning provided you've rode your best. Making stupid mistakes, not capitalizing on others' mistakes, that I understand. But if you've raced a good, hard race, had some good battles and left everything you have on the course? Well then there is nothing to be ashamed of then.
There is a lot of hype being given to riders who are ill suited to be role models for the younger generation of riders, but then there are racers who have developed into fabulous role models. The riders I like are always those who are not necessarily humble, but take both winning and not winning with a grain of salt and an open mind, looking for what they might have learned from the event.
On a completely unrelated note: yesterday was Father's Day and I'd late to wish a happy dad's day to all of my fellow staff who are fathers and my own dad. If not for his support and his insistence that I could be whatever I want to be, I wouldn't be here. He has always been proud of me (and so has my mom, for the record, but she's also more worried about the bumps and bruises that come along with the rougher sports); I remember when I got my first cover he showed his copy to everyone at work.
A die hard car guy, he's picked up motocross racing quickly. I don't get to see my parents as much anymore , but given what they've taught me over the years there is a reflection of them in every action I do and decision I make.