Living The Life?

Now, I may get myself into some hot water with this post… But I can’t hold back any longer. I’ve been seeing this tagline all over cycling blogs/Twitter feeds/Facebook posts/etc the last few weeks and it really is making my eyes crossed. Yes, the offending tagline is: Living The Life.

What the heck? What is exactly Living The Life? I really don’t know where this tagline/motto/slogan came from but I would like it to return to the rock from which it come out from under. Harsh, I know. But seriously…

What do these three seemingly innocent words exactly mean? By using them are you trying to make others jealous? Are you attempting to belittle the work and effort you put into your training and racing?

The fascinating aspect to the use of this slogan/tagline/motto is that I haven’t seen any ProTour or top North American pros using it. Nope, it seems to be coming from those who are along for the ride (so to speak). Now, some of you might hesitate to suggest that I’m one of those along for the ride…

Well, bite your tongue on that thought young man. Yes, I bill myself as a pro cyclo-cross racer. Essentially this is what I am – I don’t really work much, I have sponsors who support my racing efforts, and I do earn some money from start contracts. I suppose, I’m a candidate to use the “Living The Life” tagline/slogan/motto. Heck, I might as well get it tattooed on my bulging quads. But I digress….

Really, there is nothing awesome or spectacular about choosing to ride and not work much. It is a choice. Is it a glorified existence? No.

From the full-time pro road racers I’ve spoken to, the life of a professional ProTour or top North American bike racer really isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Having no control over when and where you race. Literally racing to save your job, lest a poor day on your bike puts an end to your contract. Living out of a suitcase. Being away from family and friends. Crashing hard and still being expected to get out there and race again the next day. Having no control over the equipment you have to use – forget the fact that the team pedals/shoe combination inflames your ITB or that the saddle you have to ride really just doesn’t fit your “you know what”.

Living The Life? Gee, I’m really not so sure.

But for someone like me things are a bit different. I choose my racing schedule and arrange my own travel plans. If I’m sick or simply not having a good day on the bike, not to worry, there are plenty of other races. I have two homes: Ottawa and Blauberg (thanks Tim and Jos) and don’t have to worry about less then spectacular hotels and hotel food. I race and ride with the equipment and clothing I like. Simply put, I have control over my bike racing life.

So maybe, I’m Living The Life? I still don’t think so. Since I still have concerns like mortgage payments, arranging sponsorships, and living a normal life.

I guess this all leads me to one big question: can someone please explain to me what Living The Life is? I’m so darn curious. I’m thinking that if I could just crack this nut, I’d really and truly have it made. On the other hand, I can stick with what I have and be damn happy and lucky that at the age of 38 (soon to be 39) I’ve got an amazing husband who helps me keep the dream alive.