Monday, November 09, 2009

The Swank

Saturday I met Heather out at Cove Creek to do some trail marking and find out exactly where I was supposed to be for the race on Sunday.

We were both overdressed as we headed up out of the cove onto the ridge line. There was not a cloud in the sky, the sun was warming the forest quickly without leaves on the trees to provide shade. It was a perfect day for a leisurely ride through the woods. We stopped every so often to hand Kenda tape from branches, especially at trail or road intersections. We were out there for about 3.5 hrs. Nice easy riding.

Sunday, Rhonda and Jubal joined me. They were going to hang out at the start/finish while I went out to direct the racers. I headed back up the trail to Daniel's Ridge, double checking the route markings as I went. I got to the intersection a little early so I sat down to wait. It took about 45 minutes for Sam Koerber, the eventual winner to come by. By noon all of the racers had passed and the sweepers showed up around 12:20pm. I packed up and headed down Daniel Ridge to Farlow Gap trail. I hung out with a small group of folks by the creek while we waited for some folks to heckle. Sam came by, still in the lead.

I headed down the trail to the rest stop, double checking the route markings as I went. After hanging out there for a little while, I decided I should not let this warm weather and the chance to ride Cove Creek trail again, slip away. So I headed up the long dirt road to Cove Creek and headed back to the finish line.

Rhonda and Jubal had volunteered to help there. Jubal was calling out numbers as racers came in, and Rhonda was taking names. I was happy that they had found something fun to do.

It was great to sit around and chat with friends that I have made over the past two years of racing. The mountain bike community is a group that I cherish and as I stood there after dark, looking around at the faces, it was good to be among like minded individuals.

A Revelation:
As I was standing in the middle of the woods, watching the top riders cruise past, then the middle of the pack, fighting for a place in the middle, then lastly the people who were out there doing it, either because they lost a bet, or they wanted a challenge, I had a revelation.

I'm never going to podium in an open category, ever. There are lots of people who are faster than me. They have coaches, more time to train, and the talent of racing for 10 plus years. I'm not going to beat them so I'm going to stop trying. Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to stop racing, and training and giving 100%, but I am going to re-assess who I am and what I want from the sport. I have limits, and I have spent the last 3 yrs fighting those limits. I know my limits, and know what I am capable of, so I'm going to train for it and get out there and do it.

So, just know that when you see me out there, ( or if you are so fast you don't see me out there), I am out there because I want to be, and I am going to be pushing, and grinding away, because I love to be out there, and I love to be out there with like minded people. And I'm going to do the best that I can, and train hard in the rain, snow, or sun. And I'm going to get stronger, and hopefully ride faster and still challenge you. And when I don't come in in the top ten, I'm going to be satisfied, because that's how it worked out!!! (so, don't stop looking over your shoulder, I'm still back there somewhere).

Long live, long rides!!

Have a great day.


Chris said...

Hey Stephen -- NEVER give up. Oh, and ride with those stronger, more experienced people for the challenge. :-)

My name is Stephen said...

Thanks Chris. Definitely not giving up, just keeping it in perspective!!