I decided to line up and race yesterday for the first time in a year and a half.
Out of everything it’s the process that attracts me to the sport and I actually like to train (weirdly enough) so in some ways I’m lucky to be able to jump back in when the stars line up and not do too badly.
Just being back on the scene yesterday was great craic.
It looked like it was going to be a nice day on the way out to the race but being Navan a rain cloud hovered overhead for the duration of proceedings.
I looked at Anthony during the first lap with his face covered in muck and snot and he just said…
That’s the reality of racing in Ireland though- changing in a field in the middle of nowhere and getting hammered with rain and wind is what goes down most often.
I do love it though and with the clicks of gears, squeaks of brakes, muck and spray in the eyes I said to myself many times ‘I’m fucking home’!
Nowadays I just race when it suits and fits the other areas of my life and I no longer make everything else fit around it.
For once the balance is something I’m really enjoying and it’s something most of you know I’ve strived to attain for such a long time.
It’s funny to bump into lads that consider it a ‘comeback’ or waves of high and low motivation – when it’s nothing to do with that at all.
The glamour contrast
Anyway back to yesterday and the reality of racing doesn’t be long whacking you in the face like a wet flannel.
I popped a spoke and punctured about 30k into the race and with no service car that was that – I rolled up to my car and was halfway home eating lunch somewhere tasty 30 minutes later.
I just spoke to Anthony about his race yesterday and he told me he used a bunch of gels that didn’t agree with his stomach.
He had to stop and find a field with 10km left to go and do and Allan Davis on it with his cap…
If you don’t know what I’m talking about check the Allan Davis video on our YouTube channel!
Sure look – that’s racing for you.
What I mean by the glamour contrast is that racing is hard – a real mucky dirty grind – you really got to love that side of it because that’s the harsh reality.
The fancy kit, white shoes and riding around the coffee shops – which I love by the way – are a complete contrast to racing most of the time.
Racing is a different ball game – flashy kit, nice coffee stops and Strava are almost soft avenues of escapism from the reality of it all.
I’m certainly not saying they’re a bad thing, I just find it a funny contrast sometimes.
From the outside it’s coffee scones having the craic but the flip side is that racing is proper hard and people often forget that part.
I believe there to be a balance and too much of one or the other can be bad.
Sure if you’re not enjoying the softer sides of cycling you risk your longevity in the sport and if you do too much of the softer side the reality of racing will bite you in the arse.
The professional scene and the lifestyle of the pros is pretty much the same thing.
Amateur cycling enthusiasts around the word perceive the pro lifestyle to be all kinds of glamour but ask any of them – it’s a tale of two worlds!
Big team buses all the kit; team cars and flashy new tech are contrasted with shitty hotel room’s airports and tonnes of racing!
Ahh the sport we love – now I’m heading out on a brew ride!