Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The First Step

Last night my wife and I went out to dinner. Over dinner and a few drinks we talked about our families, her upcoming trip to Portland and how we thought my brother's new relationship was going. As the conversation wore on I thought about my rides earlier in the weekend.

The day before I was out on a ride and stormed up a climb where I normally suffer. I felt that the strength and speed that I've been training were really starting to show through. This season I've put in a lot of hard miles, and I felt like it was all coming together as I turned the pedals over and made the short but steep climb up to the Trapp Family Lodge.

All I could think about was that feeling, that incredible power that comes when you're on form and that the gratification you've been delaying has finally caught up with you.

That improvement has come from sacrifice. I've weaseled out of family responsibilities, delayed repainting the deck and been guilty of being entirely single-minded at the expense of those around me, namely my wife, Carrie.

With all of that in the background I brought up an idea that I thought was sure to be a dud. "You know, I've been thinking about wanting to turn pro, and I want to write about it." I've needed a creative outlet and this seemed like the a perfect solution to incorporate that with my cycling goals. What happened next was unexpected, and showed me one of the many reasons why I married Carrie. "I think that's a good idea," she said. "And I think if you're serious about it you should take a writing class. And you need to read more."

All at once she was supportive, honest and matter-of-fact. It was as if I'd just gotten my driver's license, wrecked Dad's Ford Taurus, then asked my parents for a Camaro.

If she was on my side, I knew I could do it. At 30 I was getting a late start. I've been at the Expert level for 8 years and until recently struggled to maintain it. Making the jump to pro was the next rung up the ladder. On paper it seems so close, just one level above Expert (or Category 1) but anyone who has made that jump will tell you that it's a quantum leap. It's not just an upgrade, it's a lifestyle change and monumental shift for you and everyone close to you.

This is the first step. This is my story of how I'm going to make it to pro before I turn 35. I know that if I work on the steady improvement that I can do it.

No comments:

Post a Comment