Sunday, March 3, 2013

whither bicycle racing?

Not too long ago I was really stoked about bicycle racing.
It was exciting to watch and still more exciting to participate in.
It provided a safer alternative for me than randonneuring, which took me to beautiful places but whose distances took me too long to recover from.
And it provided me with some great friends who loved to ride as much as I do.

On the professional side of things, bicycle racing has basically gone to hell. The combination of money, doping, politics and willing blindness on the public's part proved far too combustible for me to maintain an interest. Velo News continues to limp along on stories about Lance Armstrong long after he has lost the last shred of his credibility; and the UCI and USA Cycling continue to turn so many blind eyes to racers who doped, got caught, served their suspensions and were quietly allowed to get back in the peloton as if nothing had happened.
So for the most part I've stopped following professional bicycle racing. There's almost nothing there to hold my interest in a sport where everyone is still doping and the governing body doesn't care as long as sponsors get their market share of media time.

On the amateur side of things, I am in limbo rather than in flux.
Last year, before I imagined walking away from the bike industry and could look forward to another summer of Monday nights chasing dust particles around the short-track course at PIR, I was greaing up for the season -- literally, as I was building up a geared bike so I could switch from singlespeed to Masters women. I attended team meetings and tried to train. But things piled up; work got hard, emotionally and physically and y the time the season was upon me I was not ready. I ended up racing three times during an eight-week series.

This year, since walking away from my bike shop job (and all the freebies that accompany that line of work, and the flexible schedule that allowed me to race, and, and), I have been pulled into new directions that have compelled me to look at racing in a new light.

I'm a fifty-year-old woman with asthma, Crohn's disease and no time or money to devote to training in a meaningful way. My mountain bike hangs forlornly on its hook, collecting cobwebs while I hustle for gigs and try to learn as much as I can in the coming weeks and months so I can get more gigs. y signing the contract for the three-week gig in June, I've effectively cut my short-track season in half and the truth is that if I race the entire four weeks when I get home I'll be surprised. There's just too much going on in my life that's demanding my energy and time now for me to have much left over to devote to racing, even for fun. So the strong possibility exists that I may not race at all this summer.

And to my slight surprise, I'm okay with that.

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