Since wrapping up this year's mountain bike season, the one I started at The Snake Creek Gap TT in January last year, I have spent quite a bit of time reassessing my goals and figuring out what I want to get out of this sport.
As usual, I'm going to leave the season somewhat open ended, open to flexibility to change goals if it works out better. But mainly it looks like I am going back to my roots.
When I first started riding, I did a couple of metric centuries. These were fun so I started signing up for a couple of full centuries each year. I moved to Asheville 9 yrs ago and was introduced to Bent Creek. I sold (or threw it over a cliff, I can't remember) the piece of crap mountain bike that I was riding, and bought a Specialized Hardrock Single Speed.
After riding that for about 9 months, I signed up for the Cowbell 12 hr Challenge. All I had was a cooler with some water and snacks in it. No support. I didn't know I should have a tent either, so I set my cooler by the informational kiosk, sliding the cooler after each lap, in an effort to keep up with the shade.
I had a blast and immediately signed up for ORAMM, finishing with my best time ever... 7.5hrs. In the 3 subsequent years, I have not been able to come close to that time.
So, here I am, 5 years later. I have improved a lot, no doubt, and I would love to continue racing every other weekend. Traveling around the Southeast, staying in hotels etc but a few things have changed.
I have an awesome 9 yr old now who deserves my attention. And I want to be there to see him slide tackle that kid, and score that 3 pointer.
Sometimes I imagine what it would be like without a kid. It would definitely be different. I would have different experiences, different failures, different successes. But in the end, this is what I signed up for, and just like my mountain biking career, I am determined to do the best I can.
Another thing that has changed is the wife has a job with an odd schedule. Again, this is what I signed up for, and I am uber proud that she found a career that she loves, and I will do what it takes to make sure she is successful at it.
And lastly, another huge issue is the cost of living. When I started racing, I could enter a race for $65, and buy a gallon of gas for close to double that. Not anymore. Everything, bike parts included is more expensive. Don't get me wrong. I'm not whining or singling any one race out of the mix. I'm just saying things are more expensive. And on top of that, I now get to register for soccer, basketball, piano lessons etc. Life in general is more expensive.
But, that's how it goes. No use sitting around complaining about it. Just have to readjust goals.
At this point, with the home remodel still going strong, I've turned to running to keep me sane. An hour out the front door and back has been a lot of fun. I live near some trails so I have just been running out and back and enjoying the change of pace.
For next year though, I'll be doing a lot of riding just for fun. I have an idea of a handful of races that I want to go back to and finish successfully, without winding up in the back of an ambulance. Hopefully I can get those worked out on my schedule. I also need/ really want to get down to ride the Trans North GA route. I'm going to need a big chunk of time for that, and to work out some logistics. Maybe a 2014 spring ride though, we shall see.
That about sums it up. Still riding, less racing, still having fun. I'll miss hanging out with the MTB community every other weekend, but that's life. I now get to hang out with soccer moms and dads every weekend!!
See you on the trail, or the soccer field!