Hungry Cyclist

I’ve never been good at keeping records.  Throughout my academic career, I’ve never known my current standing grade in a certain class for longer than a few days and I’ve never had the motivation to know or care what it was during the semester, just so long as I wasn’t in danger of failing. This type of behavior has been known to upset others to the point that we can’t continue on with whatever conversation we’re having without an interruptive lecture and interrogation. I can remember when I told my ex’s mom  that I have never balanced my checkbook, kept a single receipt, or took more than a glance at my monthly bank statement. I should have known that telling this to someone who works on the corporate level at a bank would send chills down someone’s spine and cause them to walk away to avoid the firm talking-to that instantly built up in them after revealing my irresponsibilities.

To further add to this, I’ve never been one to know my exact result from any type of assessment whether it be an academic test, or a bicycle race unless I knew for sure that I was going to be in the top ten percentile of the pool. The type of anxiety that was built up when the time came to hand back tests, or see race results would be overwhelming for me, and cause me to retreat in hopes of looking at my result with a less reactive attitude. I would need more hands to count the times I have hearn obnoxious and outrageous reactions when either of the two came down the pipes (surprisingly enough, the bike race results always seemed to have a more tamed response. Maybe everyone was tired from the racing that they didn’t have the energy to holler and scream at the good or bad result they got.) Get a group of students together (mostly women) when tests come back and make sure that you keep a safe distance. You never know if you’re going to get an earful of screaming in celebration, balling in disappointment, or my personal favorite, the one’s who will go over each question they got wrong and contest each answer they chose right there on the spot. People say this shows that you’re not a push-over and that you are passionate about what it is you do, I see it from the other side as someone who is difficult to work with and does not respond well to suggestions and criticisms. If you asked me, I would much rather hire the person who is receptive to suggestions, is able to acknowledge one’s flaws not only verbally, but through further actions without telling their assessor how it is they that are the incorrect ones for not shaping the question in such a way that it is easier to understand by the person taking the test. These conceptual arguments lead to nowhere positive. I have seen many a professor respond negatively, and scoff at this student for the rest of the semester. People may think that this way to approach life is productive and character-building, I see it as obsessive compulsive behavior that is not very receptive or respectable; but what do I know?

The reason I mention this is because I finally calmed my nerves enough to take a second look at my racing resultss and rankings to see how far along I had come, and how far I need  to go to progress to the next racing category. I am glad I had waited so long because this turned out to be a disappointing assessment. Although progress has been made when mentioning results, I later found out that only half of my races ended up contributing to my eligability. While there are different approaches one can take to upgrading to the next category, the one I had chosen turned into the longer (much longer) path that ended up pushing my plans back another month. Thankfully, results have been advancing and I have considered a different approach to an upgrade. Last year I couldn’t understand why it was so difficult to make it to a top twenty finish. Now that I have done this consistantly for the past three races, I know I can take things to the next level and actually rack up points for a path less traveled when speaking of upgrading. I ended up having to sign up and commute to more races than anticipated, but hey, I have turned this negative into a positive.

I will admit that I began to dread how many more races I would have to do to move up in the cycling world, but that was one of the goals I had set at the beginning of the year. I wanted more exposure to the local races that were pancake flat and only 30-40 minutes at a time. After the first road race this past weekend, I remembered what it felt like to travel to do something I truly loved. It’s hard to describe in words just how proud I felt that the top 20 riders of that race were primarily from right here in the San Fernando Valley. Sure we weren’t all on the same team, but a lot of us traveled over one hundred miles to show up other who lived right in the area. This reminded me of times when we would travel long distances for our away games back in high school wrestling. There is something about doing well in another location that makes things much more special than that of something more local. I theorized that those who commute further distances from their jobs take more pride in their work, and show more attention to the tasks at hand than those who lived just around the corner.

So while swallowing my pride, I began to calculate my different options and figure out just what it would take to make this goal achievable. Which has lead me to some traveling in the next few weeks. I got a wild idea that if work allowed the time off, I would make a trip to San Luis Obispo and do some car camping during a race weekend in that area. The seed has been planted and I look forward to this adventure. If you asked me why I have decided to do this, I wouldn’t be able to give you a straight answer. All I know that the drive and determination is there. While things are getting pushed back further than desired, other opportunities are opening up, allowing me to make the best of my time in my current category.

Now that things have been reassessed, and the nervousness of not knowing exactly how well I am doing has been calmed, I can further progress and grow as an individual. This seemed to delay my punctual progress in the school setting. It always took me longer than most to realized what needed to be improved, and how I would go about it. That step is now behind me, and I have reminders set to help keep this positive attitude rolling. I’m planning on investing in a good sleeping bag and some home-massage tools to help recover in between races to ensure success. Until then, I still have plans to apply to several nursing schools in hopes that the wait isn’t too long. Even if it is, I have a steady disposable income, am able to save money in between the long drives and registration fees (not to mention the upkeep of the bike itself,) and I’m single. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for all these new opportunities, but the nervousness would ferment into regret and disappointment (and other negative emotions I care to not mention (mood swings and desolation.))

I see quite a bit of traveling in my future, and I am ready to hit the road.

-dfj

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