December 6, 2009

The road is long - Cyclocross Nationals, Writing, and the PeterPan Syndrome

I will be 31 years old in January.  And finally, at least for today, I have figured out what I want to do with my life.  I want to write and I want to ride my bike. 

I want to write, to inspire, to motivate.  I want to submit the edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting stories that publications like Women’s Adventure and Wend and Outside can’t get enough of.

I want to ride my bike, to pedal, to sweat, to feel the pain and the pleasure that comes with stepping up to the line and riding all-out for no less than one hour.

When broken down to the lowest common denominator, cycling and writing aren’t so different.  
To excel, to succeed; I just have to put myself out there.

I want to perfect an article or execute my finest race and then, get thrashed.  
Beaten down, torn apart.  
I want an editor to get out the red pen.  
I want my coach to raise the bar.

I want to suffer and sacrifice and then, slowly, with care and gentle masseging; rebuild, restructure, and rebirth the stories I once thought magnificent, the legs I once thought were strong enough.

The road is long.  Improvement and strength come from commitment, dedication, failure, sacrifice and a dash of lunacy. 

My first big test is now.  
USA Cyclocross Nationals…just one week away.  
Am I ready for knowledge and development that will come from racing at this level?

I say I want to get thrashed, but am I ready to get lapped in front my friends, family, and all of Bend? 

Stepping up to that line will be the true test of my commitment to cycling; my commitment to improvement; my commitment to myself.      

A friend ask me yesterday if I was “stoked” for Natz.  
Stoked….well, excited for sure.  Nervous, under-trained, over-trained, tired, lazy, scared out of my mind!

It is hard to mentally prepare to get lapped, racing for top 35 instead of top 10, getting creamed.

I watched a video interview of Mary McConneloug last night, filmed before the US MTB Championships this summer... she was calm and confident and smiling.  She didn't seem a bit nervous, not a bit worried about how she would perform.  She was confident that she would give all her body would allow on the given day.  
She was just a regular person, sitting in a coffee shop, talking to a friend (with a video guy in the background).

Does she know that there are kids like me, plagued with the Peter-Pan Syndrome, that want to grow up to be like her?

Do Katie and Amy and Georgia know that their pictures fill the training journals and bedside-table drawers of local top-5 racers?

What would it feel like to know you had a chance at the hole shot, a possibility of standing atop the podium, that zipping into the jersey with the stars and stripes wasn’t far from reality?

What will it feel like to stand next to those women one week from today?

For me, cross is a money-sucking addiction, a hobby that fills my weekends and free-time, a passion that brings a smile to my face.
For these women, it is who they are, their passion, their livelihood.

When I contemplate the feelings that will fill my mind as I stand on the line and prepare for 45 minutes of wonderful, torturous bliss, I realize how crazy it is that I have the honor to, for just one split second, as the gun goes off, be racing with my idols.