Thursday, October 1, 2009

So This is Really Exciting

Good things have been happening in the life of GliderBison.

The 2009 road season is in the books. I'm happy. Sure it could have been better, and it played out different than I expected, but hell -- it was a good year for me, and a great year for the team. As usual, the end of a road season is a good opportunity for reflection: what went well? what could I have done better? what do I want from this sport and did I get it?

It's also a good opportunity to re-evaluate for next year: where should cycling fit into my life? how much more, or how much less of myself should I give to this activity? I hit some pretty low lows this year, and if I keep doing this, I need to do a better job of predicting and then mitigating those valleys that come in between the peaks. Very few things feel worse than the discord found in a cyclist who hates racing his bike.

Here's what I've learned (or in some cases relearned):

  • Stability is a Good Thing: The stresses of racing are many and varied. Obviously the racing itself is taxing physically, but the travel, the prolonged exposure to teammates, and the disrupted routine are not to be underestimated. The more stable, restful, and relaxing I can make my life in-between races, the better.
  • Steady Income is a Good Thing: Racing is expensive. When in a financial pinch I find it easy to rationalize going without certain things. This is not a good approach. Racing on low-quality or worn-out parts is not a good idea -- the peace of mind that comes with racing on new, grippy tires is more than worth the day's labor it took to earn them.
  • Balance is a Good Thing: All work and no play makes Jake a dull boy. Likewise, all bikes and no ______ [insert enjoyable activity] makes Sam a dull boy too.
  • Everything is Secondary to the Mental Component. This isn't a chicken and the egg problem; I can do a lot with bad legs, I can often recover from bad luck, I can even perform well without the best preparation -- but without the right mindset, I shouldn't even kit up. I'm like the horse that can be lead to water, but can't be made to drink.If I don't want to be in that race, mark my words, I'll find a way to take myself out of it.

In other news, Cycle University is starting it's Fall InCycle session soon, and that's good news for me. Once things get rolling, I should be teaching six sessions per week. Getting paid to help myself and others get faster on a bike? Sounds too good to be true!

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