I am standing in front of a group of people km all of whom are interested in being a part of our small team. I am not what I would consider a capable public speaker. I have a hard time looking people in the eye when engaged in one on one conversation. My voice quivers a bit as I try to re-speak all the things I wrote on the team’s facebook page. Something about the aesthetic of racing for the sake of racing. We, that is me Joe and Tym are trying to thread the fine line between embracing our amateurism and putting together a serious race team.
Portland is a town that does exceptionally well at embracing amateurism. It seems to be built on it actually. Every weekend there’s a race you line up with people with kit more designed for a club ride than a race. They will have a variety of shit hanging off their bike, things which in the context of training are just fine, but one simply does not race with a seat bag and frame pump hanging off their bike. Then there is the most egregious error, attaching all manner of things to your helmet. Flag pole toppers, unicorn horns, devil horns and bunny ears.
It is the bunny ears I zero in on.
“If you want to shown up and race with bunny ears attached to your helmet that’s fine, but this isn’t the team for you.” I pause giving those who aren’t in to get up, or at least consider their options.
“Ok , everyone seems to be in.” I say before continuing my spiel.
My life seems to be defined by being almost deathly serious about things that have very little bearing in the real world. It was that way with climbing and so it is with bike racing. This could be because I see my salvation in these small insignificant things.
I keep away from the metaphysics for this talk. I’m aware enough to know that its a bit much for some people. So I exist under the delusion that they’ll be more into this.
A few days after the meeting I’ll learn that some people maybe most were not into my talk. They will feel that I was too negative and that I didn’t talk about what people get out of being on the team, which is riding and learning from people who ride better and race faster than you do. About building friendships.
I thought I talked about all of that.
The email sends me into a spiral of self-doubt. I try to let it go, not take it personally, but I can’t help it. I can’t separate the mission of my team/club… whatever you want to call it from who I am. Which is my problem and no one else’s. I try to tell myself that my door into those things is different than some of the other people on our team. I tell myself that is ok because I know what I want.
I admit that I want to see myself as a leader, but the email confirms that I am not as I see myself. As the days and rides pass I become more comfortable with that idea. I jot down a quick note:
Why can’t I be a light unto myself?