A lot of pixels have been misaligned here talking about racing, The PRO’s, my own insignificant racing – back when I first started riding again and thought that my suffering was worth reporting, and the fact that I haven’t been racing this year. This is probably going to be another one of those posts.
For two years I organized my life around riding and racing. Training plans, long rides and sets of intervals. This year, with the move and all I had a really hard time getting into that head space again. I have come to peace with the fact that, at this moment I am much more content to ride without doing sets of intervals. Now my rides are defined by the things I saw and felt or the swooping feeling of nailing the series of ninety degree turns that is Goat Trail Road. I’ve stopped training, at least as I used to do it, fuck time at threshold, because well… let’s be honest here: I’m coming on thrity-four years old and fifteen pounds overweight. I’m willing to bet that even if I was allowed to quit my job and do nothing but ride for the next five years I wouldn’t be able to win a Stars and Stripes jersey at thirty-nine.
I’m ok with this. Totally ok with this in fact. I don’t want to be paid to ride a bike. I do want to be paid to write however. Part of giving up on actual training this year was the knowledge that this year would be the year I would become a better writer and not a better racer. There is a chance of that happening. Though I’m clearly not qualified to judge that.
That doesn’t mean I don’t miss the racing. I have tried so hard to be alright with not spending one weekend day a week racing. A few Thursdays back I was talking to John about how I miss it. “Do you really miss though?” He asked. My answer was an emphatic yes. Not the paying for and driving to and certainly not the intervals but the teamwork, and the hurt, and the fun, and the jumping from one fractured group to the other.
A few years back, Bill Strickland wrote a post for his Sitting In, blog where he wrote (during a period of not racing and I assume heavy workload.) “It reminded me that somewhere inside something inside me was dying.” I don’t feel that something in me is dying, but I do feel part of me has changed or is in the process of changing.
Lately I have this feeling that I’m no longer confronting myself. That I have moved from a state of near constant struggle to one of resignation – that this is the way I am. That I am doomed to always be an also ran, and all attempts to make myself into the human I want to be will fall short. I feel like I’m losing my ability to fight to become that person I want to be.
Racing is not fundamental to who I am. But that fight, and my seemingly lost ability to just barely pull some kind of victory from defeat. That’s a big lost for someone who’s track coach once nicknamed him “Bulldog”. Not because I won, or ever came close to cracking top five in race, but because I was tenacious enough to hold on and run through whatever pain I was feeling and still finish mid pack. Mark Twight wrote, or at least that’s where I read it, “You become who you hang out with”. I get to ride with some great people every Thursday. The rest of time I ride by myself or I’m at work… with the people I work with. Spending two hours a day with good people doesn’t balance it out.
I feel like the fight is coming out of me and that scares the hell out of me.