Once in a while I tend to wax philosophical. Today is one of those times.
There comes a point when being a successful endurance racer requires more. More time in the saddle. More planning. More racing. Or perhaps it requires less. Fewer late nights, fewer exceptions to the “no dessert” rule, fewer days that you right off as “rest days”.
It comes as a sort of wake up call when I realize that I am at one of those times. Interestingly enough, it seems to happen after a race, when I am broke down and tired. I tend to see things clearly. I am motivated. The first time it happened was on my drive home from the 2005 Brianhead Epic 100. I had a horrible day on the bike. I was out of shape. I had spent far to many nights staying up late. I ate a lot of crappy foods. But I had convinced myself that I was still in good racing shape, that the year was going well, and that I should be able to show up to the Epic and set a PR on the course. Instead I got leveled. I was torn apart, chewed up, and spit out in a dirty wrecked lump.
On the drive home I decided it was time to make some changes. I starting getting more sleep, I fixed my diet, and I started focusing on riding my bike fast and furious. I sold the EX 9 and bought a GF 29er hardtail. It was a time of cleansing and renewal for me. The day after the epic was also the day I started this blog.
10 weeks later I stood atop the solo podium at the 24 Hours of Soldier Hollow. It wasn’t the biggest race, but for me it was a completion of the renewal period. I was stronger on the bike than I had been in over a year. The things I left behind in order to become a better racer were long forgotten.
The last couple of days I have been going through a similar, but lesser, time of realization. My training has been good this winter. I have been good about keeping my rest and nutrition appropriate. I am on track to meet my goals in 2006. But I started to think a bit more about things I can do better that will make a difference down the road. They are small things, but they are still things I will have to give up. I know that soon they to will be long forgotten.
I guess what I am trying to say, is that the sacrifices we make do not seem like difficult things when it all comes together. I can honestly say that some of the greatest moments in my life have come on a bike. Excluding my wedding day, and the birthdays of our 3 kids of course!
Riding a bike is a beautiful thing. In the end that is what it all comes down to. Riding your bike. So ride it. Ride it well, and ride it often. For whatever reason you do it, keep doing it. Ride to race, ride to commute, or just ride for the sake of riding.