Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Seasons They Are a Changing

The best unexpected gift: beautiful fall days. I once had a friend tell me that his favourite riding weather was when he could wear leg warmers, a long sleeved jersey and no gloves. At the time, I was living in Australia, loving the 35+ weather, and I quite frankly, thought he was nuts. I further attributed this strange attitude to the fact that he was from England and that IS summer weather, from my personal experience of summering at my Grandparent’s place on the North Sea. But as I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve started to understand his wisdom. Honestly, nothing beats a crisp sunny ride in the Gatineau Park at the end of the season.

Now, if I’m to be honest, I’m not really sure that it’s fair for me to call this the END of the season, given that my season never really was. But as we learn with time, the world keeps revolving even if we’re standing still, and not racing the bike season doesn’t stop the leaves from falling or the feeling that the winter months are beckoning. However, the imminent end to snow-free roads does help me to appreciate the dwindling days out on the bike.

Yesterday I got such a gift of riding a loop in the park with my friend Sarah Coney while she was back visiting from Vancouver. We had a gorgeous day and it didn’t even matter that we were creeping along in the hills as we are both recovering from injury-prone seasons. I came home somewhat shattered (it was the first time I’d seen a hill in a number of months) but incredibly contented. All the pressure and uncertainty that can plague the higher levels of the game was washed away by the pure joy of riding my bicycle.

I am incredibly sad to see my team from 2011 fall away going into next season. The girls, with the help of superior management surpassed any expectations placed upon them this year on both the domestic and international cycling scenes. It was super exciting to watch and really motivated me to get back on my game so I could get out there and join them, which unfortunately will never happen. I would like to thank everyone involved for all their love, sweat and tears (yes, from time to time there are tears in sport, despite learning at an early age from Tom Hanks that “there’s no crying in baseball”.) A special shout out needs to go to the man who kept the team running smoothly all year long, despite having a million other things to do (I swear I have no idea when the man sleeps): thank you Malcolm. You made many of our dreams a reality. And a pretty darn glitzy reality at that! I would also like to wish all my teammates the best in their future endeavours. You are all incredible people who deserve every opportunity that comes your way. I really hope that I get to work with you again in the future.

So, as I sit here gazing out at the cold rain falling, I look forward to tomorrow’s promise of sun and above-freezing temperatures to roll around on my kick ass (more or less unridden) Specialized, but I think today’s a day to throw on the running shoes. I’m still not up to 100% health, but I’m getting closer and closer means that I can exercise on a daily basis again – which makes my heart glow. This less than ideal season has reinforced to me that you really do have to take each day as it comes. As a goal driven individual, this can be difficult from time to time, but it really doesn’t hurt to slow things down and think “hey, what I’m doing: here. Now. This is pretty great”. And to really enjoy those red and gold leaves – because before you know it the pretty little snowflakes will be falling from the sky!