Oh dear God, I hate this question.
I’d love to say yes. There was a time where saying yes would be a knee jerk reaction. Yes. Of course. I love feeling like my lungs are filling up with blood. I live for off camber turns on slick mud. I yearn for moment when the barrier rushes up to greet my shin, like a stone meeting a river. Wendell Berry made a point to say, rather simply, that a river ‘Only sings when obstructed by the stone.’ A chorus of pain, bruises, blood and mud.
If suffering is the gold standard of cycling then gentlemen, we have found our El Dorado.
But my answer is no.
There was a time when Fall came not with a chorus of redemptive “I’ve been training for this all season”, but with a collective sigh. The work was finished and our tired legs could take the time to remind our minds what brought us to this point anyways. A love of the bicycle. You want to do that crazy long ride you’ve been planning but always had that race coming up? Go ahead. How about that extra slice of pizza? Why the hell not. Does your family complain that you’re never home during the weekends? Spend some time with them and hold it over their heads for the next season. The simple joys of life.
Now we are expected to jump headlong into another season. Some choose, of course, to focus on cyclocross. They say it’s more ‘worthwhile’ than the traditional weeknight criterium and weekend road race. And if you look at our current calendar, it would appear promoters agree. This is not to say that CX is totally without merit – it’s fairly easy to take a nice slow ride out to a course and grab free hot dogs and beer – but after a full season of racing, riding and monkish living I say it’s time to live life to the fullest!
So no, I’m not ‘racing’, but I’ll be there. Taking photos of your absurd pain faces while stuffing myself silly with free grilled meats and delicious adult beverages. Screaming at you to get the lead out and catch up with Mr. Perfect-Calf-Muscles. He’s only got five seconds, come on!
Tis the season, after all.