All my years as professional athlete I’ve raced in all conditions imaginable. I’ve raced in some of the most beautiful backdrops on the planet & raced in places that made me question why I was there. I’ve had winters in So-Cal sun & stifling summers in the jungles of Central America. I’ve had days where the hardest decision of the day was what flavor scone to go with my coffee. And I’ve been shaken-down by crooked Mexican Policia, wondering if our team would just vanish from the Ruta in Mexico. I’ve raced with boken bones, road rash, saddle sores, sick, tired, sunburned, sore, blistered, mad, sad & general busted-up. It was my job. Many times a week i had to battle the same group of dudes at a different venue. I was chopped by the same guys I had chopped the previous night. I locked handlebars, crashed, had Jersey kids throw rocks at me, yelled at dudes, got screamed at, won, lost, shared in disappointment & been ecstatic. I stayed at mansions, wineries, hotels, motels, strangers houses, cars, vans, floors, couches & airports. It was my job. I loved it. I didn’t always want to kit-up, but I did. It was my job.
I still enjoy racing, I hope that joy never vanishes. But I no longer have to kit-up to collect a pay check. I show up to the start line because I want to be there.
It was a bit cathartic last weekend when we were at the Enumclaw Stage race this last weekend. A half hour before the start of the crit it started to rain. It was already cold & windy. I was not excited to race. I’m simply tired of racing in crappy weather. Also, there are a bunch of races coming up in the near future that I want to stomp…and I’m recovering from a crash last week in training. Now, old Rocket would have suited up and suffered. New, older, wiser, retired Rocket realized he did not have to race to keep his job.
As bike racers, it’s natural to try & not be a “pussy” when it rains, gets cold, etc. But I know that I’m tough. I don’t need to prove it. I’ve suffered. It takes a true baller to do what he/she wants & not care what everyone else thinks. I’m proud of myself (and TH & Flash) for keeping my joy joyful. Besides…I won that race last year.
So, don’t forget that bike racing is fun…keep it that way. Ball.