As a former Biathlete, I was fortunate enough to have a full sponsorship from a local ski shop for all my skis, bindings, boots, poles, clothing, and an extensive wax kit. As a Master-aged athlete, that several thousand dollar wax kit served as the basis for the entire Provincial Biathlon Team in many of our races in Western Canada 🙂
As a recreational road cyclist, I do not have the privilege of a sponsorship for my cycling gear needs. Each and every bicycle that I possess today, was paid for by my own hard-earned dollars, and I think I value and/or appreciate my tools of the trade a lot more. Naturally, although the aforementioned tools represent a financial outlay of thousands of dollars, I have always sought to be rather modest in my purchases and try to get the best bang for my buck.
I look at material items like bicycles as simply tools – tools that will allow me to participate in the various disciplines of road cycling. The bicycles pictured represent a lot of memories for me – both good and not-so-good.
And I accept that, as that is the way I roll 😉
Life, as I know it, is full of ups and downs. It is incredibly easy to celebrate the successes – not so easy to be positive in the valleys of disappointment. Sometimes, when I enter the room where I store all my bicycles and gear, I am reminded of those disappointments.
For instance, my failure to achieve a sub 1 hour 40km time trial on my trusty Felt S22 TT bike. Or the rather dismal road racing season I had this year on my Specialized Tarmac, attending three events and then having to bow out ungracefully because of recurrent asthma. Or suffering a nasty knee injury mid-season (from pushing too big of a gear) on my fixed-gear Kona Paddywagon.
Call me a Dreamer, but I still view life as the glass half-full rather than half empty. I keep trying, despite the setbacks, knowing from experience, that the troubles each of us go through in this life will eventually sort themselves out. Adversity builds character and the knowledge that it is “always too soon to quit”. Sooner or later, a break will come in our life and we will be grateful for “keeping on keeping on”.
If I have anything to say to a younger generation, many of which are fellow road riders, don’t let your frustrations get to you and simply give up. It takes years of hard work and dedication to be successful in road racing, let alone daily life. Finish that road race you entered, come hell or high water. Even if you are dropped from the peloton and have to ride the better part of the course (as I did) alone.
As my Father used to say:
When the going gets tough, the tough get going!
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