In January of this year I wrote:
Like everyone else in the cycling world, I want to be faster in 2010 than I was in 2009. That fact is like unalienable rights – a self evident truth. And one such that motivates otherwise rational adults to pursue ad nauseum an end which can never be obtained. Like golden windows on the horizon, one simply chases after them each and every day, only to discover upon arrival that they have moved on to yet another far and distant sunset. Until at long last the cold realization settles into the heart and mind that a lifetime has come and gone, with countless delusional spring mornings promising, but perhaps never delivering new legs and new fitness and those summer afternoons atop podiums and leader boards.
2010—from a mountain bike racing perspective—is nearly finished. History. Done. But not yet. No, the culmination of those spring mornings and summer afternoons, which have been largely successful, arrives on Saturday. And while I have spent countless hours and written an equal number of words about this day, I can’t help but feel that regardless of what happens, I will—in the end—look back with pride and satisfaction. In fact, I am beyond excited. As I mentally ride the course while drifting off to sleep each night, I see myself climbing Deer Crest in the light of a bright mountain morning, or scraping 10,000 feet in the shadow of Jupiter Hill. I am floating lightly across the Mid Mountain Trail, through aspens and the shade, all the while ignoring the aching legs and the nagging, persistent cry from someplace deep within to stop pedaling. Stop the pain. Stop.
Reality, of course is more cold and cruel. Indifferent to ambitions and daydreams. But then, I’ve never had a firm grasp on it anyway. And a bike race seems a poor time to find that hold. After all, what good is cold stone fact when chasing possibility?
I am determined to turn empyrean visions into corporeal reality this year. Which means ignoring those golden windows (momentarily) and focusing on the bitter, hard work that is required to actually obtain something of substance and merit. Which means engaging in those unpleasantries like…training. Not every day can be a watershed day in the mountains snaking through singletrack or floating through powder. Some days have to be miserable, taxing, and utterly mind numbing – the indoor trainer, painful, contorted calisthenics and of course, laying off those culinary vices that contain taste and flavor.
I’ve ignored the golden windows a lot this year. But now the time is at hand to chase them into the horizon. To outrun—or rather out ride— the setting sun. And to at long last obtain that which I have been so adamantly pursuing. Or, probably more accurately, not to obtain, but to pursue with the utmost focus and determination. There is no more building or tapering or “saving my legs for the Point 2 Point.” There is only the Point 2 Point. There is only pedaling.
Lots of pedaling.