2008 is still clouded in indecision. But the here and now has me finally training with some structure, and already feeling the effects. In a good way. I am sitting at the keyboard, fuming with jealousy at the upcoming adventure of the Daves. That would be Crackhead and AZ. Smokey Mountain is an area I have wanted to explore, and HAD I KNOWN they were headed into that area I might have elevated the journey with my presence.
2008 looms, and not just the schedule that I will try and keep, but the philosophy with which I will determine that schedule.
I love being competitive. I will always strive to be faster than you, wether realistic or not. It is an innate force that drives me to work at being better. This not exclusive to bike riding either. I like to believe though that I can strive to be my very best, without alienating those around me. But rather, I like to feed off the creative and physical energy that other people produce when they too are trying to kick my butt.
Which is one reason I believe that the unsupported racing movement has gained notable momentum in the last 2 or 3 years. That is, the vibe, the energy behind these events is thick, is tangible, and is contagious. There comes with a midnight start, among other things, a true sense of adventure. Something that is simply not duplicated in the normalcy of mass start hundred milers. Not that those are bad. Actually, I love a good hundred miler, and the energy associated with them, while different from the above, is still something I seek after.
What does this all have to do with 2008? I have no inkling at this point. Other than to say, I think that this coming winter will be one of introspection and soul searching. Hefty words for something as simple as riding a mountain bike, I know. But riding has always been a reflective process for me, and the natural evolution of that tendency leads me to constant appraisal of the activity.
Thus this blog.
Whatever the case, there are some obvious things about 2008 that will happen. I over extended myself a bit in 2007, and so, next year I will cull the event numbers back some. Not necessarily the effort (read multi-day events), but the number of times I need to be mentally and physically prepared for a race.
Dave reminds me (us?), perhaps unintentionally, that what it is I craved with this habit in the first place was a “season in the wilderness”. Sometimes it is literal, other times not so. But if there is one thing that can be counted on in the world of solo endurance racing, it is that at some point you will find yourself in a desolate wilderness, both physically and emotionally…
…and the beauty in it all, is finding a way out.