Ok, so some could argue that cycling is part of life, but in my little microcosm it seems to take on a life of its own! I decided to not teach this summer, to enjoy the benefits of that academic job I worked so hard for, and to have a flexible summer. (I will pay for this next Winter when I DO have to teach...as summer is usually a trade-out for me for some other quarter) So after all the commencement festivities of last weekend (mostly I suffered through in a jet lag fog), it is officially summer. And I have a few moments this morning, to reflect on summers past, and look forward to what this one may bring.
Last summer was a summer of new things for me. In this period last year, I bought my bike and got to spend much of the summer getting to know it. It was fun. We had a good courtship, culminating in me entering a race after just 3 weeks of riding. Honestly, before that I had a crappy mountain bike that I commuted to work on, and pretty much nothing else. Nothing like jumping in with both feet! In that first race, Sisquoc, I got creamed...actually I got 6th place in the 4s, but becuase it was a 1/2/3/4 start with all of us racing together, I felt like I got creamed since I got dropped after the first 15 or so miles. I think I was the only racer there without a kit, or a team, or a club! I was such a fred. The woman who is now my coach was there, as her team was putting on the race. She saw me afterwards, nearly puking, feeling really slow after having ridden a good 30 mile hilly TT after getting dropped after the first 1.5 laps of the race. I was so naive, our conversation kind of went like this:
Her: "You should go on a cool-down ride"
Me: "you mean I have to ride my bike MORE?????"
Her: "yeah, go for a spin"
Me: "im not sure I ever want to ride my bike again!"
Her: "you did really well"
Me: "you're talking to the wrong person...didn't you see? I'm the one who finished by herself..at the back! I only passed one person the entire time! I got dropped on the second lap! I ...
Her: "you should have seen MY first race on this course"
Me: "you DO remember talking to me as you were PASSING me in the follow car? I was dropped like a rock"
Her: "really, do you KNOW who you were riding with?"
Me: "some people a lot more talented than myself?"
Her: "Give it up, and go check and see how you placed"
Me: "at least I didn't get last, as I know I passed someone"
Her: "i think its really great you gutted it out and finished. You have a lot of drive"
Me: "you mean you can drop out early?" (I had no idea people just stopped when they were dropped ...)
Her: "forget you heard that. and GO on your cooldown ride"
(i just rode back to the car and went home...)
Anyway, so as I reflect on that first race experience, I have NO idea what compelled me to start this season! That first race just wasn't really a fun experience! Hmmmm. But yet I managed to start this season amped up and ready for whatever was there! And this year, races have been a blast. Sure, there have been moments (like the races when my bike was broken and I couldn't figure out what was wrong), but overall I think of the races as things I look forward to (well, with the small exception of time trials....). I have had a victory, and many defeats, and some good races and some really bad ones. And now I can't imagine my life without racing.
So I guess in the grand scheme of things, last summer was an influential one in my life. I wonder what this one will bring! Bring it on!