I was asked today why I train/race/ride. I spend a lot of time and effort getting faster, working hard, etc.. Let's face it, at age 45, I'm not going to the Olympics or even the Pam-Am games. It's not unheard of for someone 40+ to make it, but everyone else has been training their entire life, and I started 3-4 years ago. There are masters categories for the provincials, nationals, and worlds, but I still have some work to do to reach the world class calibre even in the master's divisions.
I think this photo sums up why I spend so must effort:
(Press CLOSE INFO above, left to see the whole photo)
It's moments like the one above that I will never forget. This photo was shot in the Nith River Road Race where I fell off the front of the pack for half a lap. Yes, I fell off the front of the pack. Really, I train to be fit enough to have fun during a race or a fast paced group ride. To be able to keep up on Jane St. on the Donut Ride. Yea, I might remember my moment of glory stepping on the podium, but last season I spent so much effort trying to get to the podium, I lost focus of why I ride: to have fun. The most fun I had last season was sleeping the day away, the day after breaking my collar bone. It's moments like above I want to be to remember. It may not be a big deal to anyone else, but it's what drives me.
Here is another moment:
Killing it in the Centurion C25 riding the completely wrong bike and getting put on a two page spread in Canadian Cycling Magazine. This photo also made Eon D'Ornellas a happy man. It's another race I'll never forget (and nevermind I flatted about 10secs after the above photo was taken).
Maybe I am a bit of a glory hound, but all the training and time spent on the bike is so I can be fit enough to race competitively, and enjoy it. I see a lot of guys show up to the race, and never finish or fall off the back of the pack, and I just can't understand why they do that. I want to be able to hold my own in the pack, ride at the front if need be, and be able to see the finishing sprint first hand if not be that guy that crosses the line in the top five. To me, it's no fun to be dying through the entire race to finish near the bottom of the list or to DNF. At the same time, I want to be able to ride stupid long rides like the Hairshirt or to ride to Niagara Falls because I can, go do a slow group ride on a Sat because I'd rather socialize than train, and basically remember why I start all this: to have fun. I want to be fit enough to have fun.
So, the goals for these season are a bit simpler:
My longer term goals currently are:
Speaking of glory, check out the Jan/Feb issue of Bicycling Magazine to see my tips (and a lot of others) on how to use the bike to lose weight.