Dec 10, 2010

The Opposite

“If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” – Jerry to George

Nearly every instinct I’ve had in the last 10 years has been related to mountain bike racing, in one form or another. How I spend my weekends; how I spend my mornings and evenings; what I eat; how much alcohol I do or do not consume; how much sleep I get; where I work; yada, yada, yada. I’ve had a good run at it, especially for someone who started so late in life, but the last couple of years haven’t been much to blog about. While the competition keeps getting younger, I keep getting older, and with age come greater responsibilities outside of elite fitness.

It’s not easy for me to admit, but toward the end of this year I finally realized that I was going to have to change the way I do things, or I was going to go insane trying to continue in the same way I lived in the past. As you get older, you get slower. That’s a fact of life, and a fact that I can no longer believe as fiction. Plus, it’s not easy to get up at the crack of dawn to ride when it’s dark and near freezing outside. It’s equally as challenging to get on the trainer at 6:00am when staying under the covers feels so good. And the thought of messing with a lighting system in order to do night rides seems as laborious as taking out the trash or changing the oil in a car. Who really wants to do those chores?

Basically, that’s what riding has become for me lately; a chore. Basically, I’ve decided it’s time to live a little and start doing the opposite. I’m not saying I’m done. I’m just saying that when race season rolls around next year, I’ll without a doubt be racing myself into fitness rather than being fit to race. I’m sure I’ll probably hate myself when that time comes, but right now, as I’m doing the opposite, I’m actually enjoying myself.

For example, in November, Ryder, Tricia, and I joined my entire family in Vegas to watch the final round of the EnduroCross series. Not counting a Supercross earlier this year, it was the first “off-road” motorcycle race I’ve attended in about six years. I got to see some old friends and co-workers and it even rekindled my love for riding motorcycles. So this weekend, I’m actually going trail riding with my buddy Kelly.

Until now, I’ve spent the last seven years avoiding motorcycles at almost any cost. Like a heroin addict, I was afraid that moto’ing again, just once, would cause a relapse and I’d find myself spiking a vein with a Honda CRF250. Before living, breathing, and sleeping pedal bikes, I lived, breathed, slept, and even made a living off of motorcycles. Both two-wheeled vices are similar in lifestyle, and there’s only room for one at a time if you’re going to do it right. But I’m doing the opposite now so Kelly and I will be twisting throttles on Saturday morning instead of turning over pedals.

Last weekend I played in a soccer tournament. Three years ago, if someone would have asked me to play in a soccer tournament I would have ridden away before they could finish asking. Even talking about playing soccer could result in a torn ACL, but last weekend I threw caution to the wind and played three 30-minute games. I was terrified the entire time, but I survived, and I even had fun. And when I wasn’t playing soccer, I was carrying wheelbarrow loads of dirt for the pump track I’m building Ryder. Okay, technically the pump track is bicycle related, but it’s really for Ryder and his friends to have a safe place to ride their bikes. It has nothing to do with my racing, although shoveling and carrying a dump truck load of dirt from the front yard to the back did serve as good weight training - so much weight training that I couldn’t have done it without the help of Kelly, Joey, and Destry.

So lately the opposite has been working out for me. Check back in March when I’m suffering like a dog trying not to get lapped by the likes of Todd Wells, JHK, and Adam Craig. But right now, the opposite is okay.

We scored on my corner kick. I bent it like Beckham.

Motley Crue.

That's a lot of dirt.

Update: Since I wrote this blog I spent 90 minutes on the trainer and did a two hour night ride with Woody - all in the same day...