Returning to racing made me realize that it had been a while since I did something that properly terrified me.
The comforts of adulthood have allowed me to avoid doing things that make me anxious. I like to think I go out and challenge myself professionally, physically, personally, but there’s always a level of discomfort that you’ll shut down at. I mean, why subject yourself to pangs of anxiety?
Suddenly though, something that I love and adore was flip-turned upside down when I crashed.
It broke both my arm and the feeling of confidence I once had while riding in a group. It made me question if I ever wanted to race again because it wasn’t just the time off the bike that sucked. It was the complete lifestyle change that a brief case of boneitis brings (not to mention the hospital bills).
In cycling you’re at the mercy of the wheels around you. I went a very long time without slipping on a banana peel before it happened twice in three weeks this year. But to invoke one of the oldest cliches ever, I had to face my fear.
I lined up last week at Bryan Park and was worried sick for the first 10 minutes or so, but after that the butterflies left my stomach and flew away. I stayed closer to the front and help control the pace of the peloton, which I was happy to do since Greg was up the road in a breakaway, from which he held on for third place after lapping the dang field.
There are other teams in town with more experienced riders, more tactically aware riders, stronger riders, and just straight up more riders than we have. But I like being the scrappy underdogs. I want to stretch my legs against the strongest racers in Richmond, or at least make them nervous.
My legs are feeling better, and my mind is getting there. It’ll take more time before I feel good hopping from wheel-to-wheel in a bunch sprint, but I’ll get there, one pedal stroke at a time.