Since I decided in March that I would not race at all in 2012 a few things have happened:
1. I have not ridden my 700c-wheeled bike more than a handful of times. I still like the bike aesthetically, but it's not nearly as comfortable as my upright, 26"-wheeled All-Rounder. I've had the LongLow for almost 13 years now, and as I've grown older and my already short torso has begun to shrink (hey, it happens) I've found that I don't like riding drops as much as I used to and so I don't ride this bike much anymore. I suppose I could swap in some upright bars, but having multiple bikes with similar cockpits has never made sense to me except in the case of my All-Rounder and my cargo bike. I'm hanging onto the LongLow through 2012, keepin track of how many times I reach for it; and will reassess next winter.
2. I have grown less fond of wearing lycra. More specifically, I've grown less interested in the ritual of getting all dolled up in the stuff before a ride. (While I appreciate the ritual of embrocation before a cyclocross race, I know I am done with cyclocrss racing and will have little need for that ritual next winter.)
I love my looser-fitting urban knickers and wear them almost daily during this changeable spring season, and I'm most likely to pair them with a t-shirt or button-down shirt. I think I'll be finding a home for what's left of my racing shorts and most of my lycra jerseys soon (though of course I will keep my Team Slow gear).
3. My cycling-specific shoes feel almost unneccessary. With more and more of my riding utilizing grippy, flat platform pedals I tend to wear sneakers for all of my riding these days. My feet are always very comfortable and best of all, I no longer experience "hot spots" in my shoes, ever.
4. I dream of all-day rides around the Portland area, and perhaps an overnight campout or two. Schedule permitting I will utilize more of my "me" days this summer for that purpose, rather than for heading out to the races. I will go out to some races to cheer on my teammates but this year my status has officially become "Friend Of Slow", a decided non-racer.
5. Most telling of all is that I ride slower, and when I want to climb I shift way down into the granny gears so as not to upset my creaky knees so much. If I need to get off and push, I do so without shame.
I still entertain the vaguest notion of perhaps returning to short-track racing next summer, on a multi-geared mountain bike; but at present I have no plan in place for how I might prepare for that. As my career transition continues apace and I continue to focus energy on writings songs and somehow making another CD happen this year, I don't see how I would make the necessary time (or resources, frankly) available for racing. Meanwhile, I've gained back about five of the ten pounds I lost from last year's training regimen. I try not to stress about it; it's only five pounds and I haven't become startlingly, completely sedentary or anything like that. I still ride almost daily, and I still enjoy it, and that's what matters.
Sweetie and I are enjoying time together tending our garden and watching the miraculousness of green things growing up into food we will eat and share. We go for walks in Forest Park and around our lovely city, and spend time with friends enjoying the many smaller moments that life is really made up of.
And now, while the weather is mellow and cool, I'm going for a bike ride.