Saturday, November 16, 2013

Accountability and Training

It takes a moment of bravery to start anything and putting yourself out for critique requires a degree of ambivalence to consequences. I started this journal years ago without a purpose. Slowly a purpose evolved and then its importance to me faded. The desire to tell my story never vanished; more or less it simply faded into the background of those things that were otherwise deemed important at the time.

Took a big leap of faith and brought a bike with me to
Rio and discovered I could ride with monkeys there.
As I sit here on a cloudy and somewhat damp Fall day in Washington, D.C., I am looking at a forced day or so of training zone zero.  An illness stemming from the reality that one can only survive on adrenaline and espressos from Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso Bar for so long before stress, training fatigue and lack of sleep catch up to you.  Time off does not come easy to most type-A personalities but it hits me particularly hard.  I've been a competitive endurance athlete since I was 6-years old when my parents first tossed me into the deep end of a pool and said go swim.  In the nearly 3 decades since then I have had my share of victory and tasted the bitter pill of defeat.  What has remained constant during those 30 years has been the desire to wake up and attack what drives-- the thrill of competition.  Time off gives you the ability to think about that desire and to find a quiet moment of introspection that is often missing in my otherwise hurried existence.  I, like many others, need to slow down and relax.  I've been told I'll live longer that way.

We care the most about the things six inches in front of our nose.  Those things that were right there in front of me grabbed my attention and over time the desire to write and to record my history just didn't seem important. A short time ago I met a fellow American when we were in Brazil.  He told me of a new company he had started called Before-I, the idea of which resonated with me. While this was not necessarily the message he intended to leave me with; what I took away from our conversation was a renewed sense of self-accountability.

Riding in a legitimate rain forest in Rio.  Something as a
cat 5 in Kansas 10 years ago I never dreamed I would do.
There are an incredibly few people that you will meet in life that will make you be exceptional. In fact, few people in this world will make you strive for mediocrity. The drive for exceptional stems from within. This journal has always been about one aspect of my life- bike racing.  I've endeavored to leave the other parts of my existence free from public view; but that's not fair and frankly it can be rather uninteresting.

One of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever
seen from the heights overlooking Ipanema.
As such, from now on out, my ambition is public, my success is public and so is my failure.  A full accounting of these affairs is what I owe to myself.  There is no motivation quite so powerful as self-accounting.  This is of course quite different from self-doubt which kills motivation and strips the mirth from many a passionate endeavor.  The knowledge that you must be able to face yourself in the mirror and in viewing that image recognize it for all its characteristics-- it's perfections and imperfections.

At times I will rant and at times I will rave; but on these pages I will lay bare this story and not because I crave anything.  Rather because I seek that peace which comes from stopping for a moment and taking a deep breath to take in the occasional sunset or dramatic vista before diving into a harrowing descent or lining up for a twilight criterium.

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