The jokes we make can turn into the goals that we secretly hold onto. We let them brew in our hearts, and pull them out when the training gets tough. We set the little goals in the hope that one day all those little ones will add up to the big one.
Being married to an elite cyclocross racer may have given me a different perspective than some. It was always the joke, the gentle teaser for the beginner racer, “so when are you gonna move up”?
So if we want we can; sleep in a little, go out to breakfast, enjoy the scenery outside of the race venue. It was turning into wait what state are we in, oh right every race looks the same because we’ve been at the race venue for over 8 hours a day.
We put in our time. BA is nothing but supportive of my racing, even when it was at the crack of dawn and hourd from his race, or when I wanted to get there even earlier so I could pre ride more than one lap.
“Maybe by the time I’m thirty,” I blurted out one day. I think I was 27 at the time. I wasn’t sure if I was serious or not but I kept a hold of that goal I had just set for myself. I had three years right.
The years went on, every year I got a little faster, fitter and smarter. Every year I put in a little more time and hard work. Every year I learned a little more and paid a little more attention to both my strengths and weaknesses.
The 2010 cross season was both fun and frustrating. Perhaps I was putting to much pressure on myself. I thought I should be somewhere and wasn’t getting there. Sure I had improved, but not as much as I wanted. Really who did I think I was comparing myself to? For the most part I focused on the improvement I had made and not the improvements of others.
I changed as a racer last season. I always showed up to race and tried my best, but I finally realized what that meant for me. It meant I wasn’t going to do my best on pure fitness, it meant I wasn’t going to ride away from everyone, it meant I would need to study the course, it meant I needed to know what gear to be in at transitions, it meant I needed to know which corners could be railed and which couldn’t, it meant I needed to know alternate lines if the one I was planning on taking was blocked, and of course it meant I needed to throw all that planning out the window if the race demanded it and just react.
The season ended and I was completely done. Not with riding, but I had nothing left for racing, suffering and fighting. I just wanted to pedal without intensity or purpose. I wanted to leave for a ride and get lost on the road.
The winter came and I found CrossFit and gained confidence in a sport where I had some natural strength. Then Mountain and Road season began in the spring. I had some really good races, even made the podium a few times, all the while thinking, “Maybe by the time I’m thirty”.
I was in a position where the decision was mine. I decided what was right for me was to move on. It was time, I wasn’t giving up but I was letting go. I realized if I stayed where I was it would probably be my last season as a cross racer. Yes strong words, but I really needed a big push a new outlook on racing.
I went for it and never looked back.