Monday, August 9, 2010

Good is enough sometimes…

I picked up cycling as a “divorce recovery.” Basically, I wanted to take one failure and turn into a success. I put time and energy into the bike for this reason. While there are millions of divorcees around me on a daily basis who act like it was not a big deal in their lives; It was and is a big deal to me. When you divorce, your lives move on and you find a lot of empty space that needs filling. I could have spent that time wallowing in my own misery but that would have been extremely unproductive. I promised myself that I would not fold into the background, that I would try new experiences with or without someone, and I would be good at the things I tried.

Some people choose knitting as a hobby, quilting, basket weaving, golf or even scrapbooking. I wanted a hobby that pushed my limits physically and mentally. I wanted to sweat. Everytime I found an obstacle on a ride, I worked on a way around it. I worked to improve. My first “real” season on a bike, I was bruised, battered, scraped, and tired. A 30-mile ride seemed impossible. Yet, after a while, it steadily became easier and now my challenging rides must tip 60-miles to truly tire me out.

I’m not great on the bike. I do not walk around pretending to be great expecting attention for my cycling conquests. I am not some racing prodigy who is going plow through my competition with the force of a heard of bulls. I am not physically designed well for cycling. I am short and if cycling is not enough of a challenge, finding clothing and a perfect bike fit are. I’m never going to take a race series by storm and annihilate all of those around me. No, instead, I am going to go out this year, race, have fun, accept the risk (yes, I may crash. I may get hurt) and smile all the way with what remaining teeth I have after a few crashes (I have great dental insurance). I will NOT be reminded that I have only barely raced before. I will not be told that I am not good enough and I will NOT accept people’s criticism, skepticism, or disbelief that a 5’2”, 106-lb chick can race. Anyone can race. All you have to do is sign up and pay the fee. I don’t want to race to beat another or to show off my machismo (do women have machismo?)…I want to finish a race. It is VERY important that I finish a race.

I do not take failure lightly. I do not quit easily either. Even in Kindergarten, my mother insisted I was an overachiever. It was not because I desired to be liked by the other kids. I never cared about that. I liked the sense of accomplishment. I liked the sense of knowing I could do something even when others thought that I couldn’t. The rides on the bike that have resulted in grunting pushes to finish have also given me time to clear my head, accept who I am and not dwell on a so-called “mistake.” So while others race to get podium finishes, meet hot women (or men), or express a primal urge to compete, I will race this season because I can. I will never be great…but I will be good and sometimes that is the best I can do. It’s a lot easier keeping promises to yourself when you finish what you started.

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