Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The "Wonder Ifs"

I wonder if I didn't drink so much. I wonder if I weighed less. I wonder if I rested more. I wonder if I trained with more intensity. I wonder if I trained more hrs. I wonder if I had a pro contract and didn't have to work. I wonder if I would have started racing at a younger age. I wonder if my bike was lighter. I wonder if I wore blue socks instead of black... and the list goes on and on.

I've been at this for over 10 years now, and while I think I have answers for most of those "wonder ifs", the dreams still haunt me, at least for another year. Well, I'm 32 years old now. It's right in that age catagory where experience meets the limits of a young adults physiology. And let's face it, the dream of doing this racing gig full time went up in smoke somewhere in my 20's. But the dream of the "perfect race" still holds a coveted spot in my heart and I still haven't convinced myself I've gotton there yet.

With that being said, 2012 is the year I settle all my wonder ifs. That's the goal. I want to be at peace with this cycling stuff at some point in my life. Some day I'd like to be a guy that enjoys a slow pace group ride, or shows up to the local race series with the winter beer belly still in tact. But this year, THIS YEAR, I'm going to accept all the mandatory requirements to survive on this planet and refuse to let them be "excuses." At the end of the day, I'm happy with the choices I've made so far. I mean, you can't be a pro forever. It's nice to have a career in place and the finances squared away. Something I'm proud to say I've managed to work in tandem with this whole cycling thing.

But I'm convinced you don't need to have a full time pro contract to compete and win against the pro's in the sport of mountain biking in the United States. Sure it makes it easier, but only a handful have the luxury, and I'm not going to let it be an "excuse". So at least I have an answer for that big "wonder if." But what about all the others? Well I guess I can't answer them all, but there are still a few left within my power to answer this year, and hopefully that's enough to satisfy my hunger for the perfect race. Hope to see you out there at the races answering all your "wonder ifs", and hopefully one day I'll be happy to just enjoy that slow group ride on a nice warm sunny day.


Jamie Smith said...

No, you'll NEVER be the "guy that enjoys a slow pace group ride, or shows up to the local race series with the winter beer belly still intact".
Not likely. Sounds nice on the surface, though.

As for tackling the 'what if...' GOOD. You HAVE to.
Because someday you'll be old, and you'll look back on 32 as being in the prime of your life. And you'll see how close you were to greatness. And you'll understand that it's not that you didn't train hard enough or smart enough. It's because you were content to reach a certain level. That's where most people peak: not at their level of ability but at their level of acceptance.
Will you be able to accept it 20 years from now?

If not, you need to dig deeper and find the killer instinct.

Just remember us slow guys on the back of the pack with the beer guts who are content with a slow group ride.

simonster said...

Thanks Jamie... I think that's what I'm getting at. Digging as deep as I possibly can, while I can, so when that day of reflection comes, I can say I did everything I could.

Mister T said...



Dan k said...

Dude. I have always respected you as a rider and person but the fact that you can step outside yourself and write a blog piece like that, not about heart rate, power, lap times or actual "what if's," means you are now stronger than pehaps ever even without the what if's that have never materialized in full. 32 ain't nothing. - Dan k.

Paul Borden said...

That being said by a guy that is probably eight years older then you are Mike.. (and still smoking fast).. We all have our "wonder ifs" that's what keeps our machines going year to year. A wise young pro cyclist that raced in Europe told me, " The key to being a good cyclist , is to train hard in the off season , stay healthy and reap all the benefits of training and of the sport". When it starts to become something you hate or don't wanna do take some time off for something you enjoy and go back to the saddle.. I think you have a lotta years left for greatness Mike. Just keep up the hard work and feel thankful to be able to compete.. As soon as you get paid for something you luv, it becomes a job.....

Brian B. said...

It sounds like you have become very relaxed and in tune with your sucess and your future. These elements make for much faster racing I believe. Good luck in 2012 Mike, looking forward to seeing you at some races this year.

gmo said...

32? As an endurance athlete, you'll keep building for at least another 10 years. Check the accomplishments of Dave Wiens. The mental aspects of training hard cause you to reconsider year after year to reaffirm your goals. Nothing wrong with that. Don't let the devil get you. As Jamie alluded, you're flawed. You'll always be the fast guy pushing the pace. Nice dream though.