|I didn't take a single bike-related picture this week. |
You're going to have settle for Clemmie Badcat stealing a Brussels sprout.
For the first time in weeks, I seem to have managed the transition back into real life pretty gracefully. Settling back into the business of making money and conditioning myself to be good at riding bikes so that I'm able to do awesome stuff later on is hard, especially when I'm tired. The last few months have been such a whirlwind for me that I sometimes forget how to settle into regular daily life. Then I remember that my life used to be like that pretty much all of the time, and at least now the boring home-times are an investment in something better to come.
Aside from real-life transition business, watching Frank prep his new tubies reminded me of how close 'cross season really is and caused me to question my own preparedness. Physically, I'm not in spectacular shape due all of my recent travel and requisite recovery afterwards. With four weeks to go, I think I've settled into a good place, but I wonder how much fitness I can build in four weeks. Regardless, I am still pretty strong and lean, if lacking in bike-specific power, so I'm still better off than I was this time last year.
I've also been inspecting my equipment and sort of praying that it will all last one more season. The bike itself is starting to show the fact that it has already been through two very full CX seasons and two Death Marches, not to mention all of the additional training and gravel riding that I did on it this year. At least it got and overhaul, new shifter, and new chain before the Death March, so hopefully the wear-and-tear is mostly cosmetic. I'm also just sort of crossing my fingers that all of my wheels and tires are fine, and that nothing will need to be reglued. The title of this blog comes from play on how "Living on a Prayer" was the theme song for my 2007 'cross season, and I'm definitely feeling like this might be the case again.
Only now am I beginning to realize how different this year will be. I grew pretty accustomed to leaving my dirty bike in the garage after races to have it washed, inspected, and any necessary parts replaced before the following weekend. All I had to do was write checks and sometimes wash and lube it myself between Saturday and Sunday races. Now all of the washing and lubing is up to me, and I'm worried that I'll have no idea when things need to be replaced until they are really bad. Then I will have to scramble to get it done at a bike shop before the next weekend. I also have to drive myself to and from races and not hit the schapps flask too hard during the elite men's race, what with the having to drive myself home.
Not that any of this is an expression of regret. It is simply an acknowledgement of another way in which I'll have to learn to take care of myself that I've never had to do before, and in the end, will be better off for it. It might slightly lessen my chances of cyclocross glory this season, but I think it's well-established at this point that it's not the most important thing in my life anymore. I've traded physical support for emotional support (and superior crafting ability and a bunch of other awesome stuff that I won't list to avoid cat puking noises amongst my dear readers). I try not to get too ahead of myself fantasizing about maybe having both someday, which in itself could very well mean my departure from the awesome 'cross scene of the Ohio Valley to somewhere less 'cross-worthy. Everything in life has a price. For now, I just need to make the most of what I have, enjoy it, and not live my life expecting things to break.