My post season break after cross not only started before Thanksgiving (States was on November 23rd) but lasted a bit longer than it had in recent memory, about 2 months. That meant I had no direction, commitment, whatever in December and most of January. Having a new position at work helped that, and I went back to the homeland (Iowa) at the end of December – riding there at that time, well I wasn’t interested. I started the season off on February 3rd, I had checkpoints along the way, a far off goal, and then another cyclocross season to ramp up for.
That was until about 2 weeks ago, I was going up a road I hadn’t ever been on, with under spec’d tires for the job at hand. I follow a training plan, I’m that sort of rider, but that day was simple – 3 hours at a pretty good pace, dealers choice otherwise. The following weekend was gear experimentation on the singlespeed and tackling things steep enough to reduce me to appearing as if I’m wrestling a submissive gorilla instead of riding a bike. I’ve only really begun to understand the ethos of Rodeo: Ride, Create, Explore.
I Ride enough to fulfill the first third of this equation, a work from home job helps this massively. I did a fair amount of the Explore part last year – I bought a small arsenal of bikepacking bags and spent 7 nights out on 3 separate trips in 3 different states. Create, if you know me I’m not an artist but I can create great food and practical things. How does that translate to this life lived on two wheels?
On May 1st my first checkpoint was cancelled, May 13th the second checkpoint was cancelled, only that big goal in September looming off in the distance. I already had the coach side of me to convince the athlete side to stick to the plan, even if the checkpoints and goals disappeared, there will be new adventures. That is what I need to Create, the adventure is out there but just undefined to my athlete and coach brain.
I write down a list of two-wheeled goals every year and rank them. The majority of goals involve numbers being pinned to my side or zip-tied to handlebars. Those are slowly being edited out of the plan, each weekend presents a new place to Ride. A road I’ve only looked at on maps that calls my tires to Explore its curves. If I zoom out far enough, piece those singular places and strips of dirt together, I can Create an experience. Maybe soon that experience won’t solely be mine. Perhaps friends can come along, and we can do these things together. Create a collective experience and share in those emotions.
The only constant is change and in order to thrive in this life we must be able to adapt; evolve. There isn’t some normal that to achieve, just a temporary balance until something shifts, and we must course correct. If only to achieve that equilibrium for a fleeting moment before the next shift. Sometimes equilibrium lasts longer, plans in helps that, but maybe with those in place we have stifled creativity. My plan (which lasts until Thanksgiving) has been adapted, it has evolved into 2020.2. In the place of step by step: B follows A which is then followed by C; I have a system of guardrails that extend to the horizon and beyond into 2021. On the path, the lanes between those rails multiply, I have a direction but many paths to get there. I Ride this new path and have allowed myself the ability to Explore turns less traveled, or even veer off to Create a new path altogether.