Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Out With A Bang

A pinnacle in my life is about to take place and I know that it’s going to be a whirlwind of crazy emotions. Not only am I going to quit cycling all together, but I’m ending it all after the biggest race I’ve ever done in my entire life. The Elite National Time Trial (individual effort over a specific distance, fastest time wins) is on July 13th in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. It’s the kind of thing that kids dream of when they are out back in their yard pretending that they are the great Bambino (Babe Ruth) pointing to the outfield calling his home run shot or on the court singing the “like Mike” tune in their head as they fire away a three pointer. Instead of being 10 and in the back yard, I’m 27 and have based everything in and around my life on being as fast as humanly possible on a bicycle. The competition is as good as it can possibly be in the U.S. and I’m in as good of form as I have ever been or likely ever will be. All systems check. All cylinders are ready to be fired in a symphony of intensity for 14.88 miles over rolling terrain on Highway 219. It will likely take just over half of an hour to end everything that I have focused on since I was 14. 30 minutes to end 13 years of desire, sweat, focus, dedication, financial loss and an enormous amount of hard work that has cost me many other desired things in my life. Words can’t really describe how much I want to win this race. The odds are somewhat stacked against me as I have been beaten by other guys in the currently registered field, but on the other hand, I have beaten every single one of them on some occasion in my life. Now I just have to beat every single one of them on July 13th. It’s a huge thing to ask for and I’m not in any way expecting to win, but I am dreaming about it. Everything about the course fits me. The elevation is identical to what I live at. The temperature is similar to the Treasure Valley’s. The rolling hills are what I time trial on every week and grew up training on in and around the small town of Kendrick, ID. The only off thing is that there could be humidity that I’m not used to; please don’t throw me off humidity! Luckily Seven Spring is somewhat inland of the coast and won’t be as full on humid as, lets say, Philadelphia.
All of the cards will be laid down and the dealer will finalize the results. Then I go home and go into a new phase in my life. Focusing on being an outgoing, outdoorsy, fun loving guy is what I am going to transfer my energy to. Life will be dramatically changed and the intensity focused on all sorts of other things. #1 will hopefully be my girlfriend of the last 8yrs if I can somehow earn her focus back on me. If you were wondering why I’m changing everything about how I go about life, here’s the answer. A cyclist at the top level is so narrowly focused on cycling that life steadily becomes that same way. I knew there was a problem developing and I wasn’t doing anything to fix it since I was so motivated for the next big thing. In my career as a cyclist, I’ve won more races than most and that motivates a guy to keep doing it. At some point though, the competition will be good enough to beat ya. In Idaho, I have to travel to find that competition. Traveling just to race takes a lot of time out of a person’s life and strains relationships with everyone who doesn’t partake in the same passion. After traveling extensively for the last three years, I know my physical limits. The opportunities to travel more just keep opening up. If you read my last blog about Indonesia, you might understand why I have kept it rolling. As of last Thursday night, the single most important person that has ever entered my life told me that she is no longer motivated in keeping me around for another day. This not only put me over the limit of my waning desire to keep the wheels rolling, it shattered the core of who I am and what I want for the future. Maybe it’s comparable to when a crack addict finally realizes that their addiction is ruining their life. That is what I’m dealing with as I write this letter.
The physical attributes that I have worked so hard for on the bike are still there, but the will that built up that strength seems to have deflated. I keep trying to force motivation back into the engine so that Nationals doesn’t fall off track, but it’s like trying to pump up a tire that has been punctured. Thankfully, all of the important training to gain speed for Nationals has already been completed and I’m pretty sure that I can put a patch on my flat tire that will hold just long enough to do 30 minutes of full throttle, all or nothing racing. When that race is done, that patch will detonate and the flood waters of the Johnstown Dam will come rushing out.

If any of you know my girlfriend Jami Johnson personally, would you please put in a good word for me because my words just can’t be enough right now.

Somewhere around 2pm on July 13th, every last little bit of who I currently am and what I have focused on for my entire adult life will be flowing out of me onto the beautiful rolling roads of Pennsylvania.

Thanks for reading.

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