Friday, January 29, 2010

It's not about the watts

Friday, 29 January

I am blue today.

This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of the death of two family friends in a preventable plane crash and the celebration of life/memorial service for another friend who recently lost a long battle with cancer. None was what you’d call a close personal friend, and yet they were all intertwined with my life and who I am and what I treasure in ways I come to appreciate more as time passes. Remembering them makes me realize how trivial the pursuit of watts, power, and speed really are in the big picture. That doesn’t mean I won’t be out training on my bike this weekend, but it does mean I will be using that time to enjoy the friends I’m riding with, the things I see, and the things I learn. Whether the end result is greater speed is not the most important thing in the world.

If I am, at lucky best, a mediocre bike racer, it’s not because I don’t care, it’s because other things are important to me. After one particular thread of whining listserv email this week, a friend commented that you had to take but one look at Haiti to put all our bike racing quibbles--nay, our priorities--into perspective. I hope not to get so focused on my own goals and desires that I fail to cherish the people who make up my life. Sure, I’ll miss 350 watts when I can no longer pedal that hard, but not like I miss the people who’ve shaped whoever I am.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bleak midwinter: NOT

Friday, 15 January

"In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone."

So goes one of the lesser known Christmas carols. But we aren't even to midwinter yet (barely three weeks into winter) and already things are breaking out in fragrant blossoms, which can only mean full-on spring is just around that corner. All of these plants are blooming outside my office today (okay, the daphne and lily of the valley are still not quite in full bloom, but the witch hazel and the super-fragrant white stuff make this midwinter anything but bleak):