Friday, April 08, 2016

Race Reports

It's kind of funny that what started out as having primarily race report content, has moved completely away from that topic. I've though about and even starting drafting some race reports but then, for some reason or another, I loose interest.

I think that fact in and of itself, is telling. The overall fact that honestly, I'm losing interest in racing bikes. I still love riding bikes, as much if not more than ever, but it's changing. Cathy and I have now raced steadily at a fairly high and competitive level for over a decade straight. This will actually be the 11th season. We've had some great times, met and become friends with some incredible folks and ridden and raced in many areas of New England and the country that we otherwise would not have.

However, the desire is quickly fleeting. Maybe I've lost the killer instinct that I once had, the desire to compete as much for self validation as anything. I got a small taste of success and victory and wanted more and more. It fueled the fire for years leaving me looking for bigger challenges that brought the hope of bigger successes.

But some where along the line it became hollow. When put into perspective, the relevance of said victories in the obscure sport of cycling is little more than the medal you receive. Are you better for those victories?

And then one day it all changes, and you stop winning. That's when the thrashing starts, to regain something which you have grown accustom to having, something which you are, at that point anyhow, unable to regain. This continues for some time but without looking at the real why, the root cause, no amount of struggle will help fix it.

At some point once you have figured out the root cause, you come to the cross road. Are you willing or able to make the changes to get yourself back to where you once were? Are those changes realistic and can they be made? Will it even work regardless of the changes?

For me, as much as anything, it comes down to will. Sure, I need to work harder but I also need the mindset, the edge that makes me want to suffer, that makes me want to make others suffer. The gritty truth about success in physical competition is that you not only need to be a masochist and derive joy from pain, you also need to be a sadist and enjoy inflicting pain on others.

Anyhow, I'm not sure where I am right now. We've been doing hard weekly road rides and there have been some glimpses of hope. The VOMAR ride last week, which isn't a race though it is, didn't go as well as I'd hoped. Still, given some of the challenges such as a cold that has settled hard in my lungs and won't seem to dissipate and completely frozen hands early on and course conditions that didn't suit my strengths, it wasn't all bad.

We'll see. Maybe I'll get super psyched for racing soon. Or maybe there will just be lots of epic ride reports in my future. One way or the other, I'll still be riding bikes.


Michelle said...

I vote for epic adventures. So many incredible places to see.. I feel that with racing .. some of that gets missed. Summer vacation.. riding gravel/fire roads from Mt Cadillac to Burlington, VT. Still have a race schedule (ultra trail nationals and a marathon and a gravel stage race) but fewer each year.. too many adventures to be had.

mkr said...

Agreed. The adventures are where it is at.