Wednesday, May 8, 2013
There Is No Substitute (But I Beg To Differ)
What does an old warhorse do when there's no war to fight, but still holds the stink of the battlefield in its nostrils? I’m not sure, but I bet it’s frustrating.
I do understand the frustration though. And while I may have packed away my racing desires at the back of my brain, they tend to leap to the fore when I barrel into a juicy curve on our President’s highways. I’m not one of those people who clings to their glory days like a life preserver. One, it’s sad and two, it’s really sad. The past is the past and the future is open to new opportunities. I filled the gap left by racing. Like I mentioned last week, there's no room for it nowadays.
However, in the last couple of years, I’ve really gotten stuck into cycling. I used to do it to keep my cardio going. Now, cycling is a full-blown hobby. This year, I’ll probably compete in a dozen organized rides with distances ranging from 65miles to 100miles. They're rides and not races because there's no official championship or anything. That said, some of the rides are timed and/or feature time trials at some point in the ride. Even if there's not, it’s me verses my clock and my personal best. I’m not really bothered how well I do against everyone else. I’m only interested about how well I do against myself, which was the same when I did race. If I improved, my results would. Worrying about what everyone else is doing is a distraction.
Oh gosh, I am a competitive one. Yes, guilty as charged.
The competitiveness aside, cycling has allowed me to satisfy my racing desires that lurk at the back of my brain. The rides usually include heart-bursting climbs, which means there are heart-stopping descents on twisting hillside roads. Yummy. As sad as it sounds, I come whipping down this hills and I’m looking for turning points and apexes. I try to take care of braking before the corner so I can pedal or power through the bend. When I hit the bottom of a hill and go into the next climb, I’m thinking power, power, power as pedal like mad to carry some momentum up into the next climb and keep my speed up. And there's no finer feeling than motoring by another rider on a hill section or out braking someone going into a corner on a descent.
Childish and juvenile? Hmm, possibly. Does it make me feel good? You betcha.
So yes, cycling has become my surrogate for motor racing. I’m glad I’ve found something that gives me pleasure and makes up for the size fifteen carbon footprint I’ve left behind.
So what does an old warhorse do when there's no war to fight, but still holds the stink of the battlefield in its nostrils? I now know the answer. He joins a war reenactment society.