A Note from Fatty: If you came to my blog today to find my mashed potatoes recipe, click here. If you came for the banana cream parfait, the recipe is here. And if you came to buy a t-shirt, you’re too late.
Thankful for the Off-Season
2013 was an amazing riding year for The Hammer and me. We did a half-Ironman. We did the Rockwell Relay. Leadville. Crusher in the Tushar. Salt to Saint. 24 Hours in Old Pueblo. 25 Hours in Frog Hollow. The LiveStrong Challenge. Africa in Moab. Levi’s GranFondo. The 100 Miles of Nowhere. And more.
Neither of us have ever been so fit or fast. Neither of us have ever raced so much, and The Hammer has made the podium her home.
Now, the final race of the year is behind us. And we haven’t really started thinking about our 2014 schedule yet.
And it feels wonderful to not have a race to be thinking about. To not have something to train for.
You know what happened yesterday? I’ll tell you. It’s going to blow your mind.
I was busy working on my book and daylight kind of got away from me, so an outside ride was out of the question. It was very cold outside, so I didn’t The Hammer said, “Well, you can go set up the rollers and do a Sufferfest video or watch something on Netflix if you want.”
And I said, “Nope. I’m just not going to work out today.”
That’s right. I just didn’t ride. It wasn’t a rest day. It wasn’t a taper. I just took the day off.
And it was exquisite.
Now, I don’t intend to stop riding altogether. After all, this was the first day in about a week I hadn’t bundled up and gotten out on a ride, and I’ve been having fun on these rides. But when you’ve been riding on a very strict and focused schedule for about nine months, to be able to just shrug your shoulders and say, “To hell with it, I’m not riding today,” feels incredibly luxurious and indulgent.
And that is why, at least partially, I haven’t gotten into cyclocross. I’ve been racing and racing and racing. I am all raced out. The thought of getting up early on weekend mornings, gathering my stuff together, feeling the race anxiety build in my gut, flogging myself on a muddy course, then spending the rest of the day cleaning my bike and gear…well, it doesn’t appeal to me. At least it doesn’t appeal to me as much as going out and mellowly riding random trails at Lambert Park.
I am currently loving riding or not riding, as the mood strikes me.
I am thankful for, in short, the off-season.
Thankful for Now
I spend a lot of time thinking about this one: I’m really thankful that I live when I do. I start thinking about what a person like me would do fifty years ago. Before there was social media and personal publishing. Before there were incredible bikes available at reasonable prices. Before the world was, in short, a technology wonderland.
I’ve raised millions of dollars (around three million at this point) for charitable causes I care deeply about. I couldn’t have done that before easy electronic payments were possible. Or before blogging. Or social networking.
I’ve written one book, published two, and am working on a third. Until a few years ago, my publishing options were incredibly limiting. Now they’re wide-open.
Until a few years ago, the likelihood of me finding the few thousand like-minded people in the world and then haphazardly establishing a friendship with all these people would have been none. The odds against me meeting the guys at Twin Six and putting together a great partnership and friendship — now in its sixth year — would have been huge.
The fact is, the stuff I love doing wasn’t possible even a few years ago. I’m thankful to be living in what is, essentially, a science fiction paradise.
I know, expressing gratitude for a protein bar may seem kind of weird. Until you try this particular protein bar.
The Hammer. My kids. The Core Team. My readers. I have somehow wound up in a life with an incredible group of people around me, both physically and virtually.
For whatever part you have had in my life, thank you.