Saturday, January 17, 2009
I realized today that I sort of miss competing in 5Ks. I don't miss training for them, I'll hasten to add. Definitely not. But somedays I miss competing in something that is so solitary and straightforward. I also like tracking my progress and winning things, surprise surprise.
I know what seems to be the obvious answer: I should take up bike racing. And in fact Kyle has been bugging me to do so for a while (to which I usually answer: "You first.") I should emphasize that I'm not delusional - I know that I'm not fast enough to compete right now. But that's not the real problem. The truth is I don't know that I'll ever feel comfortable bike racing. I hope I'm wrong of course, but right now I could never do it.
That's part of why the Expresso bike appealed to me. I could compete against real cyclists for real prizes on real-looking courses, but do so in the comfort of my own home with no chance of crashing. That fear isn't like me, I know. Generally I'm an incredibly aggressive athlete. I always have a physical style of play and I'm never afraid to sacrifice my body. (Exhibit A: My awesome "Sacrifice Your Body Like an Aztec" Hydra Paper Plate Award.) The thing is, though, I'm an absolute wuss when my feet aren't on the ground. I suck at rollerblading and iceskating because I go as slow as humanly possible, I've never skiied or snowboarded because the very idea terrifies me, and I would never in my life ride a motorcycle. I will run headlong into a 300 pound linebacker or dive on hardwood to grab a basketball but do not ask me to skateboard down even a tiny hill.
Of all my fears in this vein, cycling is one of the worst, mostly because the consequences for crashing can be so severe. During outdoor training any wipeout or skid could take me into the path of a car. Sometimes when I'm riding I become almost paralyzed by the realization that with one slip I could be dead. It may be possible to die playing ultimate but it would take one heck of a freak accident. Even in races that close off the road to cars cyclists can get seriously injured by a crash. They're going so fast and there are so many things to run into. It's all rather terrifying, and that's a problem. I don't want to race until I can do it the way I play other sports. I need to be able to draft within inches of another cyclist's wheel and take sharp corners without losing any speed. I need to be able to focus on riding and winning and not on fear. I'm just not sure if that day will ever come.← Hungry Hippos and Honeynut Cheerios | Home | Hey D.J. →
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