Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Every girl can wear a white dress, only a few can wear a national team uniform

As I creep towards the aged spinster, I wonder (a lot) about whether I am making the right decision in pursuing this cycling dream.  A lot of people have asked if I will try to make Rio 2016 if I don’t make London 2012. And the answer is a tentative Yes.

For my entire life I’ve been in pursuit of the “next thing.”  In high school, it was going to a good college. In college, it was doing service and finding a career that I found fulfilling. After college, things got more complicated as there was rarely a “next thing.” So I went back to graduate school, where the next thing became getting a good job.  But then I settled in to the routine of a job and I was unfulfilled. I had friends, and a church that I enjoyed. I had nothing to be unfulfilled about.  But there wasn’t a goal that lies ahead.  And then I stumbled my sorry, unfit butt into development camp and made a pathetic showing at Road Nationals – and BAM! I had a new goal.  I went to track nationals, was selected to go to Track Worlds and now I want to do well at Road Nationals/Parlaympic Trials in Augusta, GA.

Will I make it to London?  Probably not.  The odds are stacked against me.  Six women want one spot.  Am I closer than I was last year at this time?  Of course. I understand what it takes to get a spot, I just need a little more time.  I’ve come leaps and bounds from where I started. Cycling provides me not only with a “next thing,” but also with a way to challenge my body and mind.

What about getting married?  There was a time when this was my goal. I love children and would love to have children of my own. And maybe I should focus on that part of my life more.  But I’d like to believe that there is someone who would understand this crazy obsession and would choose to be a part of it.  Relationships have fallen apart because I am tired from riding, I need recovery time.  I don’t necessarily feel like dressing up and going out on a Saturday after I’ve ridden for five hours. If you don’t understand that part of my life, then you probably don’t belong there. 

And so I return to the title of this post.  Not to belittle or demean getting married, I’d love to get married.  But for now, when I pull on that National Team kit and see what lies ahead (as gruesome and painful as that might be), I’m satisfied without the white dress.

Monday, April 16, 2012

John Paul II

For my birthday I asked for the book of daily thoughts, Love is the Explanation for Everything.  Hidden inside (I didn't know until I was skimming through it), there is a meditation for cyclists.

"The pursuit of sports always reminds us of the ideals of human and Christian virtues, which not only contribute to physical and mental training, but promote and encourage strength and moral and spiritual greatness.  Sports are a school for loyalty, courage, tolerance, will power, solidarity, and team spirit.  All of these natural virtues are, frequently, the foundation upon which other supernatural virtues are consolidated.

In your lives as professional cyclists and in your family and social responsibilities, do not forget to put into practice that series of small and great acts of self-control, simplicity, honesty and respect for others that are in the arena of sports.  Shun all that disloyalty, deceit, and cheating because that degrades your profession and diminished you in the eyes of God."

Speech to the Spanish Cycling Team
June 10, 1985

In researching this statement, I found the John Paul II Foundation for Sport.  As always JPII never fails to disappoint.