Friday, June 22, 2007

On reminiscing...

...about Life/Work/Cycling

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 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 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!


dr-nitro said...

It's a conspiracy. They put nicotine in the chamois. Just like cigarettes, the first one sucks. But after that you're hooked, always looking for the next fix, regardless of how stinky, tired and broke the activity makes you.

Auffderbach said...

Funny how that racing thing is...
I was thinking more along the lines of morphine...same result.

Gary said...


chatterbox said...

Yeah, my first race nearly turned me off to the whole thing. I finished last with one other girl. But, then I got the itch to try again and joined the Velo Girls Tri Flow development team (shameless plug) and I've been hooked ever since - even with a handful of sucky races in there.