I have a fear of commitment. Many people who know me can vouch for this. I'm talking about racing. On two wheels.
It pains me to register for a ride in advance. I don't have an OBRA number. I don't commit to many events ahead of time. When I do, it's like I have a panic attack in advance and all the self-doubt creeps up into my gut at once.
PIR? No, I can't get there early enough. Blind date? Darn, I have a "Ride with Power" class at the NW Athlete's lounge that I've paid for in advance. Cross Crusade? Oh, maybe. But I have a big heavy mountain bike. Cross bike? No, can't commit the funds, and anyway, can't justify it because I don't commit to racing.
Racing? Me? Nah.... more like "participating". But that's okay. I recall a conversation with Russell Cree at Alpenrose 2 years ago. I told him I don't have the competitive drive which he called "eye of the tiger". Nope, don't have it. I saw the game faces yesterday at Rainier, the focus, the determination. How do they keep riding when people are screaming at them, ringing cowbells and yelling? Oh - I get it - that is supposed to encourage them! I vaguely remember from the first time I "rode" at Hillsboro - that yelling made me pedal harder, I got a charge out of hearing my name, and it made me both happy and self conscious at the same time. I'm not comfortable with all that attention, so I thought I can't let them down, they're cheering for me! That pressure. I couldn't take it last year, couldn't get up the courage to participate, so I didn't. I wasn't even in the right frame of mind to show up & socialize. Lame. This year, well, I think it's time to commit. People ask, are you racing? Are you going to race? Which races will you do? Oh... I mutter something about how I haven't thought about it, I didn't buy a cross bike, then I change the subject.
I love showing up at 'cross races and seeing so many people I know, even on various teams. They are all having a great time no matter how their particular races go. It's about fun. It's not serious competition (at least not for me). I like what Einar says - when asked how his race went: "I finished".
I've been thinking about triathlons recently. It was something I wanted to do when I turned 50, but couldn't commit. So, is it too late? I hate running, I tell everyone. But last week, to burn off some stress on one of my walks, I challenged myself - run just to the end of that street, I thought. So I did. No pain, no burning desire to stop. Felt kind of good, even. Hmmm. This isn't so bad. So I am seriously considering checking into a short distance (sprint?) tri for next season. Stay tuned - because I haven't committed to anything yet, I reserve the right to say that I never said any of this.