Monday, March 25, 2013

The Aftermath

From the outside I'm sure it looks like no big deal.  And really, as far as life's decisions go, it isn't a big deal.  But in my head the decision to stop racing bikes, and share that with my friends and family, felt like a Big Fucking Deal.

I've come to look at it the way one might approach a coming out of another sort.  For months I told myself that I didn't really want to stop racing bikes, I just needed to keep riding and doing my training and I would come to love it again.  At a certain point, after yet another unsatisfying training ride that left me not energized but sort of sad, I had to admit to myself that, yes, I'm  ready to stop racing bikes.  Then I started agonizing about telling my friends, team, coworkers - how would they react to the news that I wasn't a bike racer anymore?  Would they reject me?  Judge me?  How would I even tell them?  And in the end, being surrounded by all these amazing people, all those important people in my life accepted my decision and loved me just the same.  I should have known that it would be so; how could I have doubted it for an instant?  And I felt gratitude and relief and happiness - all indicators that I had made the right decision.

Sure, I can always change my mind, but right now I have no desire to race bikes at all.

No, instead I think I'll go run a marathon.

I've come to realize in the last couple weeks that the world is divided between those people who think it would be fun to run 26 miles and those who don't.  It's not a judgement thing - there are saints and assholes on either side of that line.  We all have our strengths, and wanting to enter races where I'll most assuredly cry with relief when it's over is one of mine.  Don't get me started on my weaknesses - we rearranged our house to accommodate (turns out spelling accommodate is a serious weakness of mine) a pull-up bar 2 months ago and I have yet to so much as try to do a pull up.  The very idea of finishing some sort of graduate degree makes me feel overwhelmed enough to curl up in a little ball in the corner for the rest of the day.  No, my strength is definitely in thinking things that physically uncomfortable are actually quite enjoyable (except the dentist.  Never the dentist).

So I've got a training plan to try to execute a sort-of not-hella-slow marathon in October.  I'm really excited about it.  I'm sure that in the last several miles (if not the first, oh, I dunno, 26) I'll deeply regret this decision, and I'm equally sure that I'll weep with relief when it's over.  I find this exciting.

But in the meantime, here's some pictures of random stuff.

 This is our boat!  Tri-oomph.   We haven't gotten it (her?) down here yet, but when we do, ooooh boy is it going to be fun.

This is our duck.  Taking a bath.

And this is me and Cody at Niagara Falls on the way up to look at the boat, looking oh so photogenic.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Farewell

I've been racing bikes for 8 years, with varying levels of commitment and success.  My first race was the Cool MTB race in Northern California, and from that point on my life has centered around the sport of cycling.  It's brought many of my favorite people into my life (including Cody), strengthened relationships, and given me strength, confidence, and a sense of purpose.  It's made me who I am today, in many ways.  I've sacrificed a lot for bike racing - money, time, and experiences with friends and family.

I'm ready to move on to the next adventure.

I've been thinking about this for some time.  During our Christmas vacation I was convinced of it, but I had so much fun at nationals that I decided I needed one more season of cyclocross.  The last month has shown me that, no matter how much fun I think it would be to race in the fall, I don't have the drive I once had to put in the necessary work now.  Normally I feel excited when I think if my next opportunity to race, but now my mind just wanders to the other things I want to do instead.

I want to sail, I want to run, I want to practice yoga, I want to travel, I want to be a recreational cyclist, I want to go to school and get a job that means something to me.  I want to take vacations and not worry about getting in my workouts.  I want to not always be bike-poor.  I want to get rid of my power-meter and HR monitor and just ride when I when I want to ride (which is often), easy or hard, and feel good about it.  I want to be strong and fit and balanced, even if it means I'm no longer as fast on the bike.

It's sort of terrifying to step away from it (of course I could always come back) because it's defined me, at least in my own mind, for so long.  How will I be defined now?  Of course the answer is that we aren't defined by our hobbies, by what we do, but rather by how we do it, how we conduct ourselves.

Thanks, Bike Racing, for everything.  I hope we can still be friends.