11 March 2009

First Test

This weekend marks the first test of my season. Its' a rolling circuit race that takes place at Long Run Park, here in Louisville. I've scouted the course, and it looks to suit me quite well. As mentioned it is rolling, and only has one climb.

I could have had my first test last night, since it was the first of a season's worth of Tuesday Night Worlds. I decided to bow out of that first night. Instead of a quality hard session full of tempo riding, its a high-paced showing of everyone's legs from the training that has filled their off-season. Its not exactly the effort I needed, and is populated by riders that I can do without. Cycling is not just a sport, but rather a complex community that thrives on competition and camaraderie. That camaraderie is unknown here in Louisville. Rides don't start with the chatter of how one's family is doing, or what their winter free time held; but simply with talk of Vo2 max tests, average power, training intervals, and just random information that is hollow and impersonal. I train nearly all year long, and do so with a power meter, but that isn't how I compare and judge others. I have struggled at times to fit into groups throughout my life because I don't fall into the general chest-thumping behaviour that exists in sport. It has frustrated me for a long time, because the beauty of sport and competition has been lost by many. I tend to distance myself from this and the people; to some it seems cold and unfriendly. I just choose to stick to my path, and if others parallel my path, they are let in to what I have to share.

Passion drives sport, and sport demands passion to become successful. I have a few friends that I ride with that ride with that passion. I choose to only ride with those who get it, otherwise they are distracting me from my trip. Those that I ride with range from new competitors that still find the joy, to riders that have hundreds of thousands of miles in their legs from a lifetime of "getting it."

Mary is one that truly enjoy riding with because she has a fierce competitive spirit to the degree that even when suffering with horrible allergies, does whatever she can to do her best. Ask her about day three in Cincinatti. Her first race was one that I won't forget. It was a pseudo-'cross race at a KOA campground in Indiana. She had no idea what to do, but she toed the line anyways. The race started with a Le-Mans style start, and Mary took it upon herself to somersalt down the hill instead of running it. She picked herself up and made it to her bike. The race continued, and unbeknownst to Mary, she had won. She thought that she had one more lap, and was drilling it. She did an entire extra lap faster than those before it, just to push herself more. She crossed the line in disbelief that she had won, and a little frustrated that she did an extra lap. Her only competitor in her class, finished a long ways back, and launched a rivalry that still exists today. It can barely be called a rivalry, mainly because Mary and I are the only ones that know of it. So, Mary became the "Indiana State Cyclocross Champion of the World" as she named it. She understood what cycling is that day.

Cycling is a personal development and journey to find one's self, and to discover the depths of beauty that lie within a ride. The riders that find themselves, whether through competition or alone out on the road, have truly won. I continue to ride for escape, adventure, and discovery, and I encourage all of you to do so.


nickleonard said...

how did the long run park race go for you? i went and got soaked in the cat 4/5 guys...plus got my butt handed to me.

Hawkeye said...

Yeah, it was wet. I did the 4/5 race too, but I've been struggling with some achilles problems since switching shoes. So, I rode in the front group until the 5th lap, and then headed back to the stables. Hoping to race this weekend, but I don't want to re-injure my achilles. But, it was the first race of the season, so even if a butt-handing was done, you still have a long year ahead.