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Shades of Gray | CX 2021-2022 #4

I’m one of those low gray area folks. I’m typically 100% or zero and I struggle with the transitions. It may take me hours to settle into a project but once I’m there I typically don’t want to stop. The fire of being productive is consuming and after all it took effort for me to get it blazing.

The same can be said for my racing, I’m rarely anything but full gas if I’m in it at all.

My previous cross seasons have been buried in the racing, full emersion, nonstop, no weekends off. It’s been possible to do this in the past with a fairly robust race calendar and even options. But the Covid pause wrecked havoc on an already deteriorating roster of congruent events. A solid portion of the races went away and what races survived, feature grueling travel with a much less cohesive timeline to voyage, much less drive, across the country.

Even in Europe the racing is near non-stop. The changing climate of Covid erased a few events, altered a few others, and made for some last-minute decisions as the rules of each countries governing bodies waxed and waned. My time spent over the pond is cherished, but without consistent racing to keep me centered, the short days, long nights, and cold houses becomes a catalyst for desiring blue skies, strong sunshine and the various other creature comforts of home.

So home I went with the motivations to train and focus and come back stronger. What happened was anything but. I race best when I’m fully emerged and I found myself less centered and less confident. Ultimately I was less happy and happy equates to fast in my book. Sure it was great to be back under my own roof in my own bed, central heating, and surrounded by friends, but I felt removed, and with that complacent.

I’m a firm proponent to owning ones truth, taking charge of ones circumstances. But sometimes you just try to work something out that won’t, and the negative energy takes over. It interferes and in the moment it's difficult to resolve. The everyday things you want to have happen don’t because that one toxic road block is keeping you from being the real you.

The cycling community is my safety net and it will always be there for me because I am real, I’m caring, giving, and open. The obstacles in our lives are temporary, only holding us back so long as we let them, just biding the time until the path becomes clear. As long as you choose to see the good in what can be it will, it’s just the transition to neutral ground in my black and white world that is tough.

So I learned - or rather reinforced - that 100% is my way. Other influences on my path will go by the wayside, fading with time if they aren’t allowing me to be productive. My season was more spotty, more filled with questions and unsettled resolve, but I still found a way to leave my mark, to accomplish my goals, and to be the positive influence I want to be. If I had to identify my takeaways, it’s that there is balance, a balance that might not be immediately apparent but still takes those extremes to the spectrum and makes them gray.


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