Projects are what keep me on task, focused, moving forward and staying reasonably positive. In a world where so much negativity is happening daily, staying positive is no small trick.
To stay positive, I putter. I go into my shed (aka The Happy Place) and give one of my bikes some tlc, or fix up old bikes that I will eventually give away or resell. Today, I had about an hour to work with between chores and I whipped up a bike from the pile of bastard parts on the floor. It's almost all there, after only an hour. Just needs hooking up with chain and cables/housing, a few test rides to make sure it's all good, and voila! Another bike is ready to take on the world, and I can see the floor again. I will probably sell the bike when it's done; originally I was going to build it up for myself but then the whole Rivendell thing got worked out so now I don't need it. But someone else will, and when I see them riding this bike later in the summer I'll be very happy.
Team Slow is up and running. I have yet to make it to an organized team ride -- the ones that have already been scheduled are averaging over 30 miles, too much for me right now; or they've conflicted with other things I'd scheduled months ago. But soon! Eventually! I will make it to a Team Slow event. Meanwhile, things are getting complicated, as they must whenever a group of people tries to organize themselves into something called a team (we've got sponsors and are preparing a jersey order, which puts us way past the point of being merely a focus group). There are fits and starts along the way, especially as I begin to get to know my teammates better. I do worry just a teeny bit that we will get ahead of ourselves with all the organization and forget to ride a lot, which was the original stated goal. But it's also still early in the year and I think that as we get closer to the spring, things will sort themselves out as folks begin to sign up for races and other events.
It is very curious to stand in this place, where I am part of a bike racing club but am not really a serious, trained athlete. At races, I am surrounded by the hard, sleek bodies of professional and semi-professional racers (and based on some of the blogs I've checked out in the last few months, it appears that almost anyone with decent race results, the ability to write a decent paragraph and bike industry connections can apparently style themselves as a professional racer in this scene), propane heaters, full team kit and matching tents, large trucks hauling tons of gear and some obscenely expensive bikes. And although I've managed to assemble some facsimile of racing vibe, I know damned well that I Am Not One Of Them. Not in the fullest sense, anyway. Which is why I hope and pray that Team Slow will retain its nerdy, cheerful vibe and not get all pro-looking right off the bat. I want farmers' markets rides. I want bike-camping. I want events that include non-cycling spouses a few times a year. I want pom-poms and crazy socks and gales of laughter over beers and sandwiches. I want to compare notes with the three teammates who all used to play in the SCA (can you believe this? Unreal. Scary, too, if any of them remember me from that oddball time in my life). And at the end of the year I want to feel good about whatever I was able to go out and do. I am hopeful.