Sunday, November 20, 2016

i like the roller coaster

"You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it."
-- Grandma, from Parenthood (fun clip below)

After yesterday's challenges, my goal today at WCCX II (West Chester Cyclocross -- part II) was to have a clean race and to support a trio of great friends who put on a great race. As so frequently happens at those races closer to home, I got lulled into a little bit of complacency and got to the race later than usual. I did not get to do my usual warm-up, but still felt great and seemed to have great legs. In warmup and in course inspection, the work came easy. I seemed to cherish the effort. Despite the windy conditions, I felt little resistance. I got a great start and quickly found myself at the front of the race. With Barry on my wheel and Bob in close pursuit, I wanted to set a quick and hard pace while remaining smooth and clean. Before long, I realized that Bob and I were alone and growing a gap to the others chasing. While physiologically shorter turns would have probably been more ideal, Bob and I took turns leading laps. Each time I got back on at the front, I reminded myself to ride clean and to be smooth, while also wanting to put a bit of stamp on this race. 

And it was amazing. Up and down. Turning and churning. My bike and I seemed to be one. Willing each other to go faster and faster. I railed the corners with a confidence that I don't often feel. My breathing slowed, the race slowed, and yet we were flying. Bob and I stayed together all six laps, but in the end, I was fortunate enough to get the "W". 

I've had my ups and downs this season, and while I don't care much for some of the downs, I'm learning to take from them what I can. I'm learning to use those experiences to become better, both on the bike and off. And, I love the ups.

I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.

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