Monday, October 03, 2011

Cyclocross Whirlwind

Wow, that was a whole lot racing. It didn't really seem like it as we were planning it out and with the short breaks in between, it didn't seem that bad as it was happening. That said, in retrospect, we did five cyclocross races in nine days. This may not seem like all that much by professional standards, but we are not professionals, at least not professional cyclists. We both work full time, maintain our house, ourselves, two mischievous kittens (actually young cats now) and a fleet of bicycles that due to foul weather racing, are constantly in need of attention.

It was a good block of fun though and I'm hard pressed to say much of anything bad about any of the events or experiences of the past races. I'll have more to come on this past weekends events, the Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester, also know as the New England world championships of the world, including a full recap, probably. The Cliff Notes version is that I did significantly better that last year and though not my best finish ever at the venue, I beat the odds predictors and had a pretty good weekend.

I believe that this will be the end of the tour for a bit as we are going to take next weekend off to celebrate (Canadian) Thanksgiving with Cathy's folks at our place in Maine. We are hoping to get in some good, fun rides and maybe squeak in a final trip of the season to the Kingdom Trails. Given the weather coupled with the course layout, I think that we will also pass on the Night Weasels race this year.

One thing that I want to take some time to reflect upon is how truly fortunate I am. Fortunate to be healthy enough to be able to race my bike in the first place. We all know of people for whom that isn't an option. Our health is precious and we should never take it for granted.

Fortunate to be secure financially. As much as I complain and whine about my job, I realized long ago that I have it as good as it gets. I've got a good, secure job that pays well and is manageable from a time perspective. Although it may not really be a true passion of mine, it affords me the luxury of doing that which I am passionate about. I've come to realize that in the game of trade-offs, this is all that anyone can hope to ask for. Most people are unable to achieve this balance so I really am fortunate to have what I have.

Fortunate to be part of such a warm and welcoming community, the New England cycling and particularly racing community. I'm astounded by the number of really nice people that we have come to know as a result of bike racing over the past six seasons that we have been part of the scene. It never ceases to amaze me as to how many people I hear cheering by name as I am racing or just saying hello as we pass. The outside world has come to be a very retracted, self centered space. It is nice to know that we have a community that breaks those self imposed bounds. This is part of the game; supporting each other. Cathy and I also love cheering everyone on. I am truly humbled though at the support given by our friends. I will always try to do my best to be worthy of that support.

Fortunate to live in what I continue to argue is one of the best regions in the world for cycling. We have ample quality off-road riding basically right out the door via conservation lands but also within an hour of Boston there are no less than twenty destination quality areas in which to ride mountain bikes. On the road side we sit at the doorstep of endless miles of excellent country road rides. Couple that with the fact that within a couple hours we open to great mountain notch, gap and pass routes that are easily looped together into epic as well as scenic rides and what more could you as a cyclist ask for? If that is competition and races, New England is on the very short list of top regions. We actually have the dilemma of often having too many races to choose from and so much competition that fields actually fill up and sell out. And speaking of that competition, it is as fierce and deep as any place in the world.

I am however, fortunate most of all to have a partner and wife that shares the same life passions that I do. I fully recognize how rare this is and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be able to pursue common passions together, as a team. I know that I often take this fact and for that matter Cathy for granted but do honestly realize how special our relationship is, and for that I give thanks.

Oh yea, and the kittens. Though they can and often are a pain in the bottom, I am fortunate to have them and the positive impact that they have made on our lives.

Life is good.

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