Sunday, August 14, 2005
If I have learned anything from my nearly 44 years on this earth, it is that sometimes the direction our lives take may not be what we intended or expected. When this happens, we have choices. We can either lament the loss of what we thought should be and live in angry sadness about it, try to change it and force it to be what we thought it should, or accept the new direction, embracing the challenges and rewards it may present. After unsuccessfully attempting the two former options, I have elected my best course as a bicyclist is to pursue the latter. Over time, I have come to realize that I am not, as I had attempted to be for many years, a bike racer. While I do love to ride and enjoy greatly the friendships I have made through the events in which I have participated, the act of racing is not where my heart and soul reside. I am not a very competitive person by nature and do not generally enjoy the stress and anxiety of a true "race" atmosphere, both of which severely hinder my capabilities to be very effective at racing and indeed frequently impact negatively on my appreciation of the joy of just riding. What does speak to my own spirit is the simple act of riding my bicycle - just because I enjoy it - and the profound personal knowledge I gain about the individual I am when I ride, particularly for long distances or long periods of time. This is not to say that I will never race again; obviously I will, as there are trails and dear friends that I would not generally get to see were it not for attending certain events. But when I do, I will carefully select those races that particularly appeal to my spirit, and I will view the experience in a very different light than I have over the previous years. This blog entry is not a sad one by any means, however, because rather than being disappointed by this new point of view, I am invigorated, excited and enthusiastic about the new direction in which my bicycling life is turning.