Monday, February 13, 2012

#26.2 Stickers & Other Things To Let Go Of

Maybe that’s why people have stick children on their windows and put 26.2 stickers on their bumpers.  I too want to wave it around for everyone to see.  Look!  Look what I did.  I raced a marathon!  I created a monster that can’t control his two year-old self in the cereal aisle at Kroger.  I’m fit, awesome and my buns look hot in cycling shorts!

But that’s exactly what I’m doing.  I’m trying to hang my hat on something.  Problem is, hanging your hat implies being done and I’m far from that.

It’s still the desktop background on my computer, the picture from Cyclocross Magazine of me finishing 30th place and on the lead lap at the 45-49 Masters Cyclocross World Championships.  It’s my lei from Iron Man in Kona. It’s my baby.  It’s my 26.2. 

I don’t want to come off the high.  I like being him.  Still riding the buzz of the pink bike, I’m having a hard time entering another race.  I want to stay the guy whose last race was Worlds.  They always say, “You’re only as good as your last race.” 

So, I want the stick figures on my back window to show a skinny husband and wife on bikes, two cats, our 6 other bikes, the outlines of all the countries and states where we’ve vacationed and the logo from the 2012 Cyclocross Masters World Championships in Louisville.  Look!  Look what I did!

But, that’d be idiotic.  The meaningful moments of my life couldn’t fit on ten rear windows and the schmo behind me pulling into a Walmart parking lot cares as much about Cyclocross Worlds as I care about why he's pushing a cart full of Sudafed.  We don’t exist to impress other people.

However, while it’s not impressive, a cart full of Sudafed does sort of identify you, and not as someone who has a really stuffy nose.  Same goes for the 26.2.  It says you’re a long distance runner and probably look good in shorts.  And, that “I Heart CX” sticker says the driver likes racing weird bikes in the mud. 

If that’s so, that’s not saying much.  This is precisely why I don’t have a tattoo.  One day you put a 26.2 or etch rainbow stripes on your arm and the next thing you know, you’re forever locked in the past like the football tossing Uncle Dork in Napoleon Dynamite.

We’re more than that.  Lives can’t be defined by stickers and tattoos.  So, while your 26.2 sticker, his IM tattoo and my World Championship finishers medal are good keepsakes and reminders of who we are and what we can achieve, there’s no good reason to cling to that one shining moment in fear that you can’t have another.  Mementos should keep you looking forward not back.  

Go out on a high note?  Whatever.  That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.  Sign me up for another bike race.  Even if I finish DFL, maybe I will try trail running.  Even if it was a good showing at the World Championships, an ear piercer of a high note, I don’t want to go out on it.  I’m not done.  Life is a symphony, not a song. 


D.A. said...

Some fine writing, reminds of Bill Strickland's commentaries on the cycling life in Bicycle magazine.
"Life is a symphony, not a song."
Beautiful finish, sweet & simple words.
Cheers, Diego

Joe Biker said...

Much appreciated DA! Someday's the words just flow. Thanks for noticing.