A local three-day road cycling event, Tour de Whitehorse, held July 25-27, 2008, marked my formal return to bike racing after a three-year hiatus.
Racing bikes is never an easy task, even when you're in the best of shape. Your lungs hurt, legs throb, back aches and wrists sting no matter what level of fitness with which you toe the start line.
I used to race mountain bikes on a provincial and national level from 1994-1999 and the sport defined who I was as an individual. Of course, that was all long before getting married, raising two kids, running a business and other more important adult activities came to be.
I've put on some weight since we had Adele and Seth; I'd guess about 25 pounds over four years. Most people think I'm still pretty skinny, but I know better.I know how I feel about myself and how much more effort it takes to do things I like, such as hiking up a mountain with snowshoes or running loops through the snowboard park at our local resort. My family also has a history of high cholesterol and heart disease; both conditions I'd dearly like to avoid.
Yes, the ol' spandex doesn't look as good as it used to (did it ever?) but you have to start somewhere. At least I could pull it on without looking like a shiny bag of potatoes. I've lost more than 15 pounds this summer through regular bike rides and minor changes to my diet - no juice, pop or post-dinner snacks, for example.
For me, this return to bike racing, even though I ended up coming half-way down the pack in the Sport class, is an important achievement.
The experience confirmed to me that I am, in fact, not dead, not washed up and not over the hill. That I can still get out, try my hardest and do my best. That's really all I want out of this activity. Just to be able to set a good example for our kids and show them the importance of not being afraid to simply try.