I mentioned last year that 2012 was going to be a year off from racing for me. I guess I should have qualified that a little more clearly as I have raced in a Super D, in a Toonie race, at the Three Alarm Adventure Race, at Wade’s Excellent Adventure and at the Red Bull Divide & Conquer over the past few months. I probably should have stated that I’m taking a year off of planning and more importantly training specifically for races. Instead, as races come up, I’ve decided to make a decision at the time and if necessary find team mates but basically do as little thinking about the race before the race and just race for the fun of it. Of course the accident last year stamped this in stone as “training” time was severely limited over the winter months and my fitness levels still aren’t where they were back in July/August of last year.
Racing for fun
My wife has said to me on several occasions the past few months how proud she is of me in my races. Not because of the results, but because of the smiles. She says I’ve been smiling from ear to ear this year after every race. I’d have to agree with her. Without a dedicated focus on training and preparation for these races, the pressure is totally off. With the pressure being off, the stress is less. With less stress, that opens up some space for fun, and fun has taken over my body the past few months.
Racing is fun
One thing I’ve noticed is that I really enjoy racing. Actually I love it. I love how it pushes me beyond my limits. I love how it takes me to the edge of my abilities. I love the adrenalin. I love the competition. I love the feeling after a race. I love smiling during and after a race. I love the people who race. From the pros to the weekend warriors, most of them are out there because they love it too. I love the day of the race. I love the nervous butterflies before a race is about to begin. I love how they seem to disappear immediately when the gun goes off. Racing really is fun. It took me taking a step back to realize this.
Not every day is a race day
The above title used to be my wife’s favourite saying when we’re out on the trails. I’d be hammering up a hill trying to maximize the training opportunity instead of enjoying the scenery or the company. These days, we’re going a little slower than I’m used to, in part because she’s getting in to the best shape of her life and can go faster, and in part because I’m just out enjoying being out. Not every day is a race day. Sometimes it’s about the grins after a sweet downhill mountain biking section. Sometimes it’s about the view at the top of a mountain. Sometimes it’s about the conversation along the way. These are things that I’ve come to enjoy again as well. On the non race days (which are most days) it just feels good to be alive and out in the mountains with good people. It feels good just to breathe in that mountain air!
Happier than ever
So for all of the above reasons, I’m happier than ever. We are so lucky to live on the North Shore where we live and to be able to have a back yard filled with stuff that makes our lives happy. The fact that I can enjoy that with great people makes it even better. The fact that I can race for fun on the same trails makes it even better.