28 Nov A Perfect World on the Bike?
It was only a matter of time until the correct article came across my computer, an article that would allow me to share my personal frustration with you. As readers of my blog, you know I have been boycotting the CX season, a personal choice created by the emotional fall out of the scandalous acts by the top men in bicycle racing. A choice that has a number of my friends thinking that I have lost my mind, that there is nothing to gain by this action, only the personal loss of partaking in my beloved hobby. Some will say this move is bad for cycling, that blaming USAC for the UCI dropping the ball is not how I should show support to the local system or the clean riders and juniors striving to be the next super stars of racing. I admit there may have been a more correct and supportive method, but I have always been my own person, not always dancing to the music just because I hear it.
When I started riding, it was a way for me to improve my fitness and endurance for downhill skiing. After being smashed by my friend Chip Kent, during our first ski trip together to Jackson Hole in 1983. I realized that power and endurance were physical weak points, and cycling would help to improve these weaknesses. After meeting Ron Boi (RRB) and asking Ron how to become a good cyclist, he said, ” ride you bike, when you are tired, ride your bike some more, and when you are finished, keep riding your bike!” It was that simple, ride your bike a lot.
I did this and like the story of riding the steep hills in Boulder County, I found a beauty of being alone with only myself, many times only hearing wind, my breathing, and my heart pounding. This became an addiction, a love of the bodies metronome, while my fitness grew and an addiction to riding. I could continue with the history but to the point, after a life time of riding and racing while raising a family and living life, I always seemed to gravitate to the racing, not only lining up but being a fan of the top racers. A fan of the one day classics before most of you even new what the Tour De France was! Being a fan of riders such as Joop Zoetemelk, and Jock Boyer, as well as getting my assed kick badly TT’ing against Kent Bostick in his prime. These guys inspired me to work on my game and improve as a rider.
Now to present day, where we have learned that for the past 15 years, it was all a sham, or scam. What is very disturbing to me is the cycling world seems to be blaming a guy named Lance Armstrong for all of it!!! All the people that cheated their way to fame and fortune, were forced to cheat by Lance?. That admission of cheating is enough to walk away with amnesty, then being praised for saying they cheated. This is the crux for me. We live in a world that has rules and laws, but the rule breakers in cycling are not being subjected to them. A 6 month suspension during the off season, is less than a slap on the wrist. Where is the joy in this, the human metronome that most all riders fall in Love with in the begining, I do not see or hear it, not even a faint hint of it? Not having a cure, I would try to understand the problem. It goes much deeper that a broken system!
So here is what I have learned from sitting out the CX season to date. I Love life as an active physical being. Racing is one of the entertainments that I happen to be good at, an easy way to have fun while being challenged by my fellow man in strenuous activity. I also have realized that riding and racing fuels the animal in me, which does not help me remain peaceful. If you doubt ask my family. You see I have an expectation every time I swing my leg over my bike, it is not a conscience expection, but my sub-conscience that is always striving to be the best it can be. If I am not in top form, riding is not fun, it is stressful. I find myself needing to do a hard efforts seemingly being addicted to the go fast part of riding the bike. Is this the addictive fuel that made the cheaters break the skin on their way to fame a fortune? I say it is the exact fuel, the ego juice. It was not the pressure of Lance! It was the cheaters ego’s needing to be the best, at all cost.
As competitors, many time loose sight of why we started riding, and I am guilty as charged. Does the fact that I raced clean, within the rules every time on a start line make me any better than these cheaters? I think not, I was, am, as addicted to winning as anyone I know, and this can be a dangerous drug. Do not be afraid to ask yourself why am I doing this? It may be one of the most important question you ask yourself with regard to racing your bike.
My message to all the young, want to be racers out there, remember that riding your bike started out as an activity that was fun. You never thought of racing the first day you learned to ride your bike. This may help you keep your prospective on what is important, it is not winning! It is keeping a positive outlook toward your competitors, knowing that any given day, someone will be faster or smarter, or it is just their day to win, either way it should be fun to ride your bike.
Though I have not raced, I have and will continue to support the youth of the sport. Though not physically present at the Psimet Woodstock or Fox River Grove CX races this year, I was their in spirit, supporting the CX racing scene in a different way than in the past years. So good luck to everyone racing in the Illinois State CX championship this weekend at Montrose Park. This is one of the best courses of the year, a solid test for crowning a state champion. Also good luck to all the racers going to Madison and Louisville, the big races of the 2013 CX season. Louisville is a must for any and all fans of racing, this being the first CX world championship in the USA, lets support it by driving to Louisville for this great event.