If the title of this blog post sounds familiar, your “blink” impression has served you correctly. All you have to do is look to this time last year, and you will find my blog post titled “How Much is Enough”. You may wonder, why do I dwell on this? So, I looked back over my training log, and although I thought I had adjusted my overreaching and resting ratio this year to avoid any un timely needed rest, and I still seemed to be in the same place just days before the first race saying "Why am I sick with a cold and feeling like I am done racing altogether?"
As always, the biggest question is determining whether this feeling is physiological or psychological. This year with the help of Ken, my coach to guide me in the physiological department, I am looking much harder at the psychological part, and with me it almost always seems to be psychological. So I have decided that I might benefit more to take a good look at what I HAVE accomplished, and not what I think I may NOT be able to accomplish.
If I take a brief look back to seventeen years ago when I first swung my leg over a mountain bike, I was hardly a racer type. I got onto a bike only in hopes to get back in shape after having back surgery. I entered my first race merely to be with my friends. Competition was not a priority to me I thought, but quickly I found that it could serve as motivation for personal goals. Seventeen consecutive years of racing and 250 races later, I have gone from Cat 3 to Cat 1 and claimed 2 National Champion Titles and 2 World podium spots. I have only DNF’d one race in all that time, and managed to get out and race every year, even with injuries and having Lyme Disease. Consistency, keeping it fun and giving back have been the threads that have held me in this sport this long.
Racing can be very intense, and to be a pro, no doubt you need to make your training a top priority. But for the rest of us average middle age folks, we more often than not need to keep things real and keep balance in our lives. Making priorities, and then readjusting them periodically helps, but sometimes you just need to walk away from something with your mind if only for a bit. This is where I feel lucky. Any time I feel down on myself in my daily training, I can just walk away with my mind and go build a trail, or teach a woman to ride a rock garden, and I am instantly reminded why I love this sport, and I feel fulfilled in knowing that in some way I have passed that on to another person. This works both ways as well. If I put all my efforts into trying to open a new awesome trail, and then the proposal does not get approved by the park, I can put it away and go race hard on Sunday. Keeping a broad base in the sport and finding balance has been key.
The intertwining of my involvement in this sport has greatly been influenced by Paydirt founder, Sarah Frost. Although she was not much of a racer, she was onto something when she 1. held her first "All Girl Day". 2. Brainstormed the "Paydirt" concept with Wally Tunison. and 3. Held her first "Jorba" meeting. She always got involved where she could. These efforts played a huge role in the sustainability of mountain biking in the Garden State in the years to follow and still do today. Little did I know that I would be involved in carrying on some of these in my own small way. I can only hope that others will find value in these things and carry them on when my role is over.
So to get back to the question: “How much is enough?”, the answer could actually be: "All of It!"
My message to all: .... Get out and ride your bike. Ride for fun or ride hard. Look around and love what you see in that special place in the woods. Make an effort to get involved in protecting that special place, and try to share all of this with someone else.