Raising a Cycling Career
When I met my girlfriend, Kate, I wasn’t sure what to think about her having a 3 year old son, but I was comforted when, during our first date, we ended up joking how I had a child of my own – cycling. At first glance, it seems like an almost absurd proclamation. I mean a child is a life, one that you have to protect and be responsible for, but after a year of dating a girl with a child and spending a year in the life of that growing child, the similarities are remarkable.
Children are needy – emotionally and physically. They drain your energy, test your patience, drive you to tears, put extreme demands on your time, and they also bring you immense joy and often, a sense of accomplishment. You can see how they change over time and can see when they need some behavior modification.
Anyone who has dedicated themselves to cycling, especially those of us with aspirations of “going pro” can attest that cycling is a needy, whiny child that puts very similar demands on our lives. Cycling pushes us right to the edge of what we can take emotionally, physically, and places in between we can’t describe. We can’t go out with all our friends because we have to watch our “cycling child” and make sure it sleeps well so it can test our patience the next day. We have to prepare the cycling child the proper meals, educate it, clothe it, and try to give it every advantage so its on the same level or better as it’s “classmates”. We start to notice negative behaviors that need correction, like over-training. And we get pulled away from the world around us and our relationships outside of cycling get strained to the limit. Our bodies whine in protest, teams ignore you, directors lie to you – like an obstinent child drives you to tears, so will cycling.
Though, if you walk away from cycling, the only person you stand to damage is yourself.
At the end of the day, when your hair is all pulled out because you are questioning how much more you can take or what you can do differently to get the results you desire, they are both very worth it.