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…