I've debated writing about this for a long time, think 6 months long. Well that's not entirely true, 6 months ago I had no idea where I would be in January. Then when I took a full time teaching position on Jan 31 I kinda knew it was over, but I didn't know how or if I should advertise that to the world (or at least the very small larzybikes blog reading world). It's going to be relatively obvious when I'm not on the start line at Fontana, and I guess that's why I'm putting this out there now, so it's not a major shock to everyone I know.
I spent the off season riding my bike to hurt myself, because physical pain clouded out the emotional pain in my mind and it seemed like the right solution. Those mega rides you saw on Strava, those were my coping mechanism to block the feelings and convince myself that everything was all right. Every day I woke up hoping that I would feel like my old self again and want to train properly, but that desire never returned. I knew in the back of my mind that not racing might be just as hard/painful as racing would be, but the fact that my mind isn't in it kinda made the decision for me.
So here we are, March 17, 2017 and it's entirely too late to do the work I would need to do to stand on a start line for any of the big upcoming races. (yeah, this is making me so unbelievably sad)
The good news is that I am healthy physically, and that on a day to day basis things seem ok. I can focus on the task before me each day and find joy and purpose in bike commuting, teaching Algebra and working on the van with Brendan. But every once in a while the reality of what has been lost is too great to ignore. During those times I have to just let the bad feels wash over me, and surrender to the thoughts about what if, why, and whose fault is it that I'm here (which I often feel is my own but that's a whole other struggle). This week has been especially hard, like crying in my classroom for an hour after school on Thursday afternoon, and then again on my commute home at the red lights hard. It's hard to see everyone else get excited to race, to know I am so far from where I was last year at this time, and to think about having to answer the question 'why weren't you there?' It's especially hard when the students are being extra frustrating and I have thoughts about what I was doing last year at this time, and why I'm here now.
I'm not going to talk about what happened that got me here. But the short story is that no, I wont be there at Fontana, or Bonelli. I wont be at Sea Otter or Whiskey... I will be ok though, because bike racing has taught me that I can do hard things. That it's ok to feel down and sad, but the roller coaster of life will go up again, eventually, and that waiting out the lows makes the highs more fun and exciting.
And most importantly bike racing has put so many incredible people in my life and I'm so grateful for the support from friends and team mates who have been understanding and kind. Thanks guys.