So, this short vid got me thinking today. It really resonated with with me seeing this guy push himself into such a deranged state of agony, because all I wanted to do right after, was get my bike and do exactly the same thing… But, why?
In my mind, there is a distinct separation between the person I was, the person who just loved to get out there and ride the trails with my friends on weekends, and the person I am now, an passionate cyclist, and aspiring amateur racer. I first started to notice the shift late last summer. The Transrockies were over and I realized that even though my ‘big race goal’ was complete and behind me, it wasn’t about just getting back out there and riding for fun anymore – I was still riding with purpose. I was still riding to get better, fitter, stronger and above all, to get FASTER. Then the full realization of this shift came when I realized that it was the training itself that I was getting excited about… I found myself turning down ride invites that conflicted with my training sched, and only looking for group rides that I knew would push me – I wanted it to hurt. I wanted my lungs to burn and my legs to scream. I wanted to suffer… (likely why I kept going back to the Cyclocross races even though I was getting so totally, totally killed…) So now I wonder, why the shift? What is it that changed? I’ll never be a pro, so if it’s not just the fun of it, what is it I’m looking for out of my riding now?
Don’t get me wrong, I still want to just get out and ride from time to time, but what’s more important to me, is the racing. I’m hooked, line and sinker, but it’s not just the confined act of racing itself that I love so much. I mean, for my category, the starts are always early in the morning, and often (at least last season) it’s cold or raining out, or both. I also always get really nervous, so my stomach likes to give me some level of grief, just to keep things interesting, I guess. But what is awesome, for sure is the excitement, the intensity, the adrenaline, the speed, and the pain! Woooo!
And then after the race, I really enjoy just hangin’ out and talking shop with the other racers, (who I find to all be such great people) and watching the other categories, in awe, as they rip the course apart in times that seem impossibly fast to someone like me. So, yeah I really do dig the actual races a lot, but I think it is so much more now; it’s the training, and the racing. It’s the training I’ll force myself to go through so that I can show up and test myself at the next race. I look forward to turning the screws, knowing that I’m getting fitter, that I’m getting stronger and I sure as hell hope that I’m getting faster! Races are the milestones that loom ahead and the reason I train; their the metric by which I can measure my results, but overtime the training has become more and more of, well, an addiction, I guess. My point maybe then is this – now I crave to train, and to race, not just to ride. I know, reading Kirk’s post from a few weeks ago, there are some pitfalls to be aware of here, so we’ll just see how long this lasts. But, for now, although I know I am an amateur racer through and through, and will likely always only ever be in the amateur levels, I am lovin’ it, and want to keep improving as much as I can. What’s that saying of Lance Armstrong? Something like, pain is the feeling of fitness entering the body. Yup. Wicked…