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.