Listening to: “On GP” by Death Grips
On today’s ride, as I wrapped up my now 20 hour week on the bike, (legs are still in shock) I had mentioned to a good friend and bike shop owner on how my perspective towards bikes and racing has taken a relaxed approach. Ever since I moved out in April, there has been a significant shift in priorities on all levels. When I was still living with my folks, I was thirsty for all things bike related. This caused me to become hyper-critical, almost neurotic, when it came to the craft of cycling. Everything had to be as close to the best of the best. I needed to be in my best form all the time. I always needed to be as fast as whoever I was adjacent to. I cannot tell you what a relief it has been to no longer feel those feels and think those thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, 20 hours on the bike is no task for your typical recreational weekend warrior. The passion for the craft is still there and it is still strong. I would say the difference between then and now is I have become more aware of the ebb and flow that comes from the athletic lifestyle.
Racing season is beginning to wrap up for road cyclist. Fixed gear racing is hitting its peak for the year, and cyclocross is on the horizon. There was a point in time where I found myself hopping from one type of racing immediately into another, unaware of the peaks and valleys one must accept. Like it or not, there is an off season for every time of sport. You can sure as hell try and be the best at all different disciplines, but that is a self-destructive route I have been on the end of. Most of this anger comes from a misunderstanding of what our bodies are trying to tell us. There is a time to push through the pain, and a time to spend the day on the couch. Both are arguably beneficial in the grand scheme of things and should not be mistaken for weakness. In my personal experience, aging has brought this to light in a humbling and satisfying fashion.
I know when I’m having a good day, and I sure as hell know when I’m not feeling my best (the final climb in our group ride made it very clear I had spent a lot of time on the bike.) No longer does this bother me as much as it used to. There was a time when I would get caught up trying to focus my riding towards that of someone I’ve admired, not realizing that this may sound poetic and plausible in theory, but in reality is far from possible. Most of us hit our highs and lows in fitness at different times. The sooner we are able to realize this the better. That way we don’t keep pushing ourselves past the point of benefiting and into a state of confusion and often times asking, “Why am I not (insert goal in the box provided.)” This mental clarity has been tremendously helpful for my mental and physical well-being. None of us can be superheros every day we ride the bike. The sooner we can come to terms with this, the sooner we are able to use that to our advantage. This may seem a little vague right now, but there is a flow of fitness our bodies goes through. And once we are in sync, (insert corny motivational, you-can-do-whatever-you-want-to-do phrase.)
My mental has been good these past few months and I can tell from a lot of little things that go on on my weekly routines. I may be overweight and drinking with my buddies more often. However I still enjoy riding and keep up with my weekly fast-paced rides, and continue to try and push myself to a new level that I used to question. There are times I’m deep in a work hangover but still manage to keep moving and realize that I am capable of more than I thought. No longer do I want to be caught up in the distractions of those who are out every other week racing there bikes. I know when I’m ready, and will be there when the time comes. Until next time.