Cyclo-Cross Takes Character

Today I was out for a ride and was rolling along one of my favorite bicycle paths. This particular paths takes cyclists and walkers through a forest. It is a very popular path with more walkers than cyclists. I whistled to alert two men that I was coming up behind them. They stopped and started talking to me. Right away they were asking about cyclo-cross, where was I from, where I am living, what are my results, and when I was racing. These two men were obvious cyclo-cross fans. What struck me was what one of the men said “We admire you. Cyclo-cross takes character.” I smiled and agreed.

This sentence has stuck in my head all day. This guy is right. Cyclo-cross does take character. Really anything worth doing takes character. Particularly if you want to do it well. But maybe cyclo-cross is different. The conditions can be a bit rough. Training for cyclo-cross requires technical training and aerobic/anaerobic training. The demands on the equipment are time consuming. I suppose it does take character. Unlike road racing. there is no hiding in cyclo-cross. I can sit in a pack during a road race or criterium knowing that I may not be the strongest person there – but I can follow wheels and find the protection from the wind. Not so in cyclo-cross. It is an all or nothing race.

Kind of like life. It is all or nothing. I admit I had my doubts about returning to Belgium this winter. I’m not the healthiest and I’m not riding the way I want to be. But there are no second chances or “do overs” in life. Who knows, I might not be able to return next year. So there really was no other option. All in. All or nothing. I’m here and I’m going to make the best of it.

(Mental note – putting on new road tires is very very hard on thumbs and arms. Then a few hours later putting on new clincher cyclo-cross tires is also very very hard on thumbs and arms. To sum up, I have very very sore thumbs and arms.)

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