December 16, 2011

Why We Race. USGP Bend.

Photo: Matthew Lasala
There are races to celebrate because you rode your best, everything went according the plan, and your hard work paid off. You crossed the line thrilled, smiling, speechless.

There are races to celebrate because you learned something. About yourself. About why you race your bike. About your spirit and your pride and your ego. You cross the line holding back tears, stunned, speechless.

Last Sunday was the later of these. When it comes to this type of race, celebration doesn’t come all at once, but only after a long, slow marinating. After the disappointment has worn away and a few layers of self doubt stripped back, you see yourself, and why you race, and what you do this for in greater clarity; with greater satisfaction.

Last Sunday, I had high hopes. My heart and my legs were on fire. I was ready. And then the race started. I had some mechanical troubles. I ran a long way. I was fighting to not get lapped. I finished the race. I wanted to cry. But I didn’t.

Until I was home, in the shower, scrubbing off the embrocation that was burning my legs.

And then I was done crying. Each life event has something to teach – what was I going to learn?

I love to race cross. Even when I was running around on a cold and dusty cross course, with my beautiful bike over my shoulder and my derailleur blown to smithereens, I love to race cross.

When things go right, it is easy to celebrate – it is when things fall short of “right” that we must dig into the pit of who we are, of why we do this, of what it means – and come out on the other side, stronger, wiser, and more in love with racing bikes than ever before.

The celebration our defeats are some of the most joyous celebrations because they do not come easily.  They come only after we strip ourselves down, look deep into who we are, and find the heart-fire that will never be extinguished.

Madison had better be ready.  This heart is on fire.

Family Support is The Best    
Photo: Lyne Lamoureux