By the end of the month, many people will have started their racing seasons. Of course, for most the real start was weeks and months prior to the first race day; but it's nice to think that the season has a brightline start date which coincides with a race. There is a lot that goes into bike racing, beyond just hours and hours of training. There is equipment and clothing to buy, coaches to talk to, schedules to make, babysitters to pay for and bargaining with one's spouse or significant other for unreasonably high amounts of training time and cash to be spent on bikes. I recently detailed on a training ride the number of people and companies that contributed in some small way to me going out that day-- it totaled at least 15 separate contributions. It cleary takes a village to outfit a bike racer.
This is a year of new beginnings for me. By its end I will have married the love of my life, started racing for my first new team in over 7 years and maybe bought a new house. Any one of these events could be enough "change" for a whole year in itself. But true to form, and contrary to my Grandfather's sage advice, I don't like doing anything in moderation. There is a true freedom in a new beginning. It's the opportunity to remake yourself in the way you see best fit; to learn from the lessons of the former and make the new better.
Progress, like new beginnings, comes in many different forms. Most often progress is subtle. We constantly search out the big change, the breakout story or the sudden smash hit. However, progress is more often just a touch of advancement here and there. When I was growing up I had a description of what it meant to be a capricorn on my wall in my bedroom. I must have read it a thousand times, something that struck me was the message that capricorns feed on small accomplishments. As a teenager I did not quite grasp that concept because I always wanted to be the flashy new kid on the scene. I wanted to burst into success as the guy who came out of nowhere to the pinnacle, afterall that's what made the best stories on NBC's coverage of the Olympics.
Reflection now, however, shows that the slow but steady climb up the ladder can be just as good as the bottle rocket to success approach. It takes a different kind of strength to make these two climbs and honestly neither is better than the other. I've spent so much time in recent years trying to figure out which way(s) are correct and thus the only way to do things; but it recently dawned on me that there are often mutliple different answers to a question and thus mutiple different "correct" ways. In the end, maybe Granpa was right, everything in moderation...including moderation itself.