What in the world am I training for?

It's been several years since I've considered myself an active racer. Yet almost every day of my life I announce—often to myself—"it's time to train".

Ironically I’m probably faster and smarter now than I was then, but yet its not about the handful of crits that I will actually participate in each year. Its about the joy and happiness that cycling brings me. Its about the balanced center that I find when I’m fit. Its about the love I have for pain and exhaustion. Its about that misty feel in the morning air on top of Avocado Crest.

I love riding bikes. Admittedly, most (ok, all) of my riding is on the road. But I’d rather be on a DH bike any day than the nicest luxury car in the world.

I’ve seen some folks who love the sexy aesthetics of bikes and bike stuff. I’m right in that group too. But I don’t see bikes solely as museum pieces. The day my first Pina was built up, I rode it for a couple of hours in the pouring rain (against Jeff’s wishes, sorry amigo, but I don’t regret it for even a minute).

I love finding my ideal heart rate zone. I love hearing the hum of a new set of tires on a set of wheels with overhauled hubs gliding along the road. I love a 5% grade that goes 10 miles. I hate/love a 10% grade that goes over a 1 mile road.

Sometimes my favorite thing in the world is a super fast pace line where I know I have to pull through but barely can. I really love it when said paceline hits the climb and I can ride away from some and loose the wheel ahead of others. Nothing is better than allowing my imagination to tell me that its Garzelli that I’m chasing, not the guys from ShoAir.

Its hard to think of anything better than getting ready for a five hour ride up GMR to Baldy heading home on East Fork. Although finishing that ride and the resulting exhaustion is certainly a competitor.

Riding almost every day brings some really amazing benefits to my life.

Things such as permanent scares from road rash, broken bones, damaged equipment, the dreaded phone calls to loved ones only to say “it happened, again”, are a few of my favorites. Sometimes I just want to end it. Hang up the wheels and be a typical bike shop owner. End the constant before dawn alarm clock, have more Saturday nights with Faye that last beyond 11 pm, know something about primetime TV, and read more than just the latest tech manual from DT Swiss.

But each rest day gets me more excited to get back out there, so its hopeless. I will die one day, but at least I will have the memories of not only getting over the Monte Grappa, but passing people along the way.

Eric Popiel