It is hard to know when it is time to stop racing. For some it is a change in life circumstances (job, family, age). For others it is an injury or illness. For others still it is a feeling of “being done”. I think for a bike racer, this is one of the hardest decisions to be made.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been grappling with these thoughts lately… My recent crash combined with feeling a bit “old” and thinking it might be time to get back to full-time work – has all contributed to these thoughts. As you can imagine, this makes for some challenging times!
I’ve had a lot of talk about this with Marc, Nikoline and others. What I’ve learned is that no one can make this decision for me – this one has to be all about me. So I thought and wanted to believe that I was done with racing my bike… And then I watched a few races on television – all it took was watching Scheldecross and Overijse on the weekend and watching some race clips last night with Sarah and I was convinced.
I miss bike racing. I really wish I could have raced this past weekend on two very awesome courses. (I raced Overijse in 2007 – it was my first UCI race in Belgium.) I missed seeing my racing pals and being part of the pre-race, race and post-race action. I felt jealous of my friends’ race experiences.
I’m not done. I’ve got more races in me. I want to have that season that I was ready to have this year. I want to do all the races I had planned on racing this year. I want to conquer my fears of the “Zolder descent”. I want to race on courses I’ve never been able to race on before.
So after much thinking, analyzing, talking and processing – I’ve decided that I’m not done. I love racing my bike. I’m pretty confident I’ve got more watts in my legs, more confidence in my heart, and a desire to get all I can from this cyclocross racing life.
So where does this leave me in the middle of December as I sit here injured and watching the 2011-2012 cyclocross season slip away? Well, I’m taking this time as my “off-season” – now is the time that I’m recharging my batteries, letting my body heal, giving my brain a break from constant thoughts of racing, training, recovery and technical skills practice, I’m being a bit more relaxed with my nutrition – and just generally taking this time for what it is. This way I’ll be all ready to go in January when I get the final okay to start training again – I guess in the end I’m pretty darn lucky to be able to go through this…
I used to do biathlon. I was ok, midpack at Nationals, a solid member of my university relay team.
When I entered the workforce I slowed down the training, got a but frustrated, and, given it’s also tough to train for biathlon in this province, let it go. I didn’t switch to another sport.
10 years later I was fat, and my racing stories were old and tired. I had made a huge mistake.
Whatever you do, keep your fitness. Nobody is going to think less of you if you’re not at Worlds. But you’ll think less of yourself if you fall completely off the wagon.
Being an elite is hard. Being a weekend warrior who trains is fun.
Thanks for the comment Rob.
You’re right – there is one thing I don’t want to loose is my overall feeling of fitness and strength.
Lots of time to think and ponder I guess.
I hope you’ve recovered from your injury and are ready to go for the Gatineau ski race. Looks like I might be getting out on the skis this year.