Thursday, May 6, 2010


Another week and another bike race, this week it was the Mudslinger. A great name for this race as the mud was thick and wonderful. I didn't feel particularly strong but none the less I was competitive and ended up third. What I did do was rail this mud section (as seen in the photo) like a pro. I managed to get into first with this sweet bit of technical riding but a long gravel uphill right after was more than my legs wanted and two of the older guys got by me. What is more interesting to me is at the awards ceremony the presenter asked how many had raced this race in the 90s, quite a few of us raised our hands and then it was the 80s, three of us raised our hands and then it was the first one 1987. One of us raised our hand. Here I am in a sport I love and I feel like the last man standing. Well not really, what I really feel is all this appreciation for still doing what I love to do and when I come to an event the promoters are thrilled that I still attend their races. Maybe I should ask for a senior citizen discount. I wasn't the oldest racer (my friend Ron Strasser is one year older than me), but I have been doing it longer than most others in the state, it is nice to know I can still do this sport. I think I even ride the mud better now than all those years ago. Longevity is something I seem to be good at,working at Sunnyside for over 30 years and married to Kathy (May 1st) for 39 years.

I see on Facebook when one of my friends does some horrendous workout in the hail, snow or rain their friends seem to say awesome Matt, or go girl you rock or something to that affect. Now I have done hours of riding in some pretty "bad" conditions and never have I thought of myself as awesome. Dumb, insane, and clueless are more of the descriptions that come to mind. Some think I am a little obsessed with my training (why would a 59 year old do intervals in the garage 3 times a week?). They are correct. Most of us who train hard, disciplined and and in all weather conditions are more obsessed than awesome. What we are really doing is taking time for ourselves. In a way it is more selfish than awesome. I look at my training as very personal and it is my time to do with what I want. I suppose if I were awesome I would not train on those days and volunteer at a homeless shelter, or maybe the bike coop, but no I choose to stay in shape, and it takes time and it is my time and I enjoy every hail stone, rain drop gust of wind and flake of snow, I enjoy the night ride by myself and the mystery of the dark. I also enjoy, though Kathy doesn't approve, listening to hours of my favorite music, the Beatles, the Gypsy Kings, Johnny Cash etc. I don't mind the recognition nor even to be called awesome, but I am doing what I absolutely love and I feel like it is a gift that I have been given. I have friends who are not doing what they love for many reasons, but they still get on with life and live it as full as they can. They are the awesome ones in my mind.
One more thing. The middle photo is of Andrew Neethling. He is a South African Mountain Bike Pro. He races the downhill and was 11th overall in the world cup last year. He just happened to stop in to see his friend Travis (our newest employee). Kind of cool.
Take care.

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