Before we get too far away from the weekend, I (Judy) want to add some final thoughts from this weekend of racing at San Dimas.
Let’s be honest: bike racing is the longest sustained relationship I’ve ever had. I look at racing like a marriage. It’s a huge commitment, and sometimes you have more to give; sometimes you have less to give. The more you put into the sport (or the relationship), the more you get out. Of course there is that dreamy infatuation stage when you start racing – when bikes are ALL you can think about, leading you to thoughts of abandoning your school or career for that cat 3 win – but to be a really successful racer (or spouse) you need to take the long view. The long view means realizing that to be happy as a bike racer, you need balance in your life. You need a good career – or else stress will make it impossible to train. You need good, supportive non-cycling friends – because there is a limited amount of discussion time that should be spent talking about saddle sores. And you need to be out there training and racing because you love being on the bike, not because it is an obligation.
This weekend at San Dimas was like that romantic getaway which makes you fall in love all over again with your longtime partner. I’ve definitely enjoyed the collegiate and the local racing I’ve done so far this year – but I enjoy those races in the same way that you enjoy cooking dinner for your spouse, running the errands for him or her, accompanying him or her to a work function. Those races are fun, but they lack exhilaration, nerves, and butterflies in the stomach. San Dimas Stage Race had all of those. While warming up for the road race and crit, I felt the same way I’d felt before my first collegiate women’s A races in 2007 and 2008. As Beyonce (or Dani or Diane) would say, “Being nervous means you have something to lose. It means you care.”
At the same time, it wasn’t like these were my first races ever. I’ve been racing my bike for years now. So those nerves were coupled with a sense of deep appreciation – again, like the feelings you have for your spouse after years together and one nice romantic getaway. I saw old familiar faces from years past of racing. I had the chance to reflect on how far I have come, how much I have put into the sport, how much I have learned. The weekend was a moment in time to mark how I’ve passed what is almost the past decade of my life – hand in hand with this sport that has given me purpose, friends, and dreams fulfilled.