Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Appreciation For The Chance To Do Something You Love

A decade ago when I graduated from high school, my year book had a quote in it about where I thought I saw myself in 10 years. The answer: living in my car, traveling from one NRC race to another, hopefully with a contract to pay for the food in between events.

What happened between then and now? I wasn't too far off of that old prediction was I? NRC's - check, making enough to pay for food between events - check. Maybe my motivation for living out of a car to make sure I got to the next big race dwindled just a smidge... okay, a ginourmous smidge.

When I was 15 and just hopping into the sport, I did not question whether or not I'd find myself a spot in the Tour De France, it was a given. Four times a day up a three mile, nine percent grade at full speed every time was going to assure me of that. Maybe that changed a smidge too.

Graduation from high school brought one heck of a decision. Try to find a way to give it a go at being a superhero on a bike or go into a real life. Since my idol of the last four years (Rusty Beall) was in college and still rocking out with the best in the U.S. on a bike, I figured why not do both at once. If he can do it, why can't I?

A few years later, I'd found myself delved into a regular life. College degree on its' way, a girlfriend that I supposed would turn into a wife, and a new found appreciation for beer and the all mighty dollar developed from working real jobs. 15 extra pounds of weight accumulated over a few years of less than full throttle racing told me that I'd been going in the wrong direction of what I had so feverishly worked for when I was younger. Wake up call for 185lb version of Mr. Weyen!

I quickly went back to work on all of the local hills and a huge increase in desire for going one mile an hour faster each time I climbed them fueled me. Soon enough, what I demanded was coming true. Only one major problem presented itself, graduation. What was this whole real world thing anyways? Turns out that the answer to that question is ever changing and there doesn't seem to be a perfect answer to that question.

Eventually the desire for cycling and making sure my belly didn't go empty from lack of cash hit a front. To Boise it was going to be with further training in a field of interest (computers) as a semi-motivator. Once the decision had been made, a few reconnaissance missions were in order. Of course, I had to recon the local race scene since the Lewiston area's race scene consisted all of a local Thursday night time trial. Oddly enough, I had raced hard enough to catch the eye of one of the greatest persons I've ever met, Tad Hamilton. The guy must be some kind of genius when it comes to making good things happen at a bike race. When he asked me onto the team in 2004, for me, it might as well have been Chris Carmichael offering his assistance in helping Lance Armstrong race for Motorola.

Ever since, things have happened in a way that only a 15 year old cyclist in small town nowhere could have dreamed up. Every year, I learn more closely that racing a bike isn't always just being 1st (although it sure is nice), it's about getting the chance to do something important to you and having a darn good time along the way.

Fighting for the 1st place can sometimes feel like more stress than your body and mind could ever handle and it's true, sometimes 1st isn't possible. Last Sunday, I was reminded as many times before, why I stay in this amazing sport. It's because it's all a test as to how far you can push yourself. No matter what, you win when pushing your body to its limits. When you do get the chance to win, do not take it for granted, it's not so often you get that chance!

It's also not so often you get the chance to race with a squad like this, and last years, Bob' crew. It takes years to build a group like this. We're a finely tuned group of racers that sacrifice all sorts of daily desires for the chance to go fast. The next time you cross the last stage's finish line of a National Calendar Race stage race with a bunch of professionals; you'll understand what an opportunity you just had.

Thank you more than you'll ever know Bob's and the people at the heart of that operation (you know who you are).

That thing took a serious beating from a motivated 15 year old a long time ago.


Allison said...

So, is this officially the end of the Weyen cycling career?

kai said...

Hey you got another package at our house. I believe you still have my number.

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