Photo: clarkmaxwell, Flickr Creative Commons
I just realized that I went the entire month of April without posting. This isn't good. I should be writing, and this is currently my only outlet in that area. It's probably irrelevant though. We all know I'm never going pro as a writer. I'd never be able to be self-employed. I lack that part of me that gets me off my ass and working unless I have someone over my shoulder.
Still, that hasn't stopped me from daydreaming a lot lately about going pro as a cyclist, even if it's by far more of a long-shot than the older writing dreams. I have never possessed any athletic talent. My best will always be competent, and I'm okay with that. Although, despite my earlier claims to the contrary, I've been an effing badass when it comes to motivation lately. I put almost a hundred miles on my borrowed bike last month and that included the fact that I had to squeeze in a lot of my training rides after both a full workday and a second partial workday as a tennis coach. I was also having to split training days with running (18 miles) and swimming (4.5 miles). I missed 100 miles on the bike and the running was down from an average of about 40 miles a month because I missed four days of training in the middle there when I was too sick to go out, although even then I trained on most of the days I was sick.
I ride in my first criterium bike race this weekend. I'll be a category 5 rider (basically beginning racer) and I honestly have no idea how I'll perform. Two weeks after that I run my first sprint triathlon. I've already set my two next goals of completing a marathon within a year and graduating up to the Olympic-distance triathlons by the end of next year. I'm sticking with the cycling.
I enjoy running. I don't have to force myself to go out on my run days. I've run high on sore throat and cough syrup. (That actually made me nauseous.) I've run through drizzling rain. But I've never been excited about running. I love what's it's done for me. It was the gateway into a new mindset for me and I'm glad for that, but I'm beginning to verge on the obsessive with cycling. I look forward to my biking days. I want to go out on my rides. I spend free time reading about cycling and lusting after bikes I'll never be able to afford. I like the speed. I like the fact I can go out farther from my house and see things I would never get around to seeing on foot, and I still get that zen-like state I get while running. My mind clears, I'm out on my own, and temporarily not a father or husband, just a guy repeatedly contracting and relaxing his leg muscles. My om mani padme hum comes from the rhythms of my feet striking the ground or following the circle of the pedals.
Swimming, I don't love so much. I'm too busy concentrating on not choking from timing my breathing wrong to be able to think. My swim days are merely tolerated. At least I have the self-discipline now to do it anyway. I have improved though. I'm a decent swimmer. I just don't really enjoy it.
You know what, screw reality. I fully expect to get noticed during my race on Saturday and get signed by a local semi-pro team. By the end of the summer, I'll be able to turn in my notice and go pro, where I'll be able to travel the world and continue to live my current teacher's lifestyle. One day, I'll make the roster for a team in the Tour de France or the Giro d'Italia where I'll play a support role to help my superior teammates win stages or the team finish in the top three. That's right, even in my wildest dreams, I'm only just good enough to make a living.
Maybe this is why I haven't been writing lately. Sure, part of it is the lack of free time I've had, but I haven't really been thinking about much besides the bike, my running, and swimming in the last month, and, while it all fascinates me, I can't say I want to turn this blog into one that focuses solely on athletics.