“I’m going to do the Leroy TT tonight”, I said in my email.
“OK, have fun”, my wife wrote back.
Have fun. It hit me. This is not really “fun”. Fun is a nice Saturday afternoon in September, with no more races and nothing to do except go for a nice ride.
Races (and training) aren’t usually fun. They can be challenging, intense, miserable, frustrating, satisfying, but not usually classified as fun.
If it’s not really fun, then why do it?
That same day someone at work, who plays tennis, was talking to me about Roger Federer losing at Wimbledon.
“I think he should stop when he is on top, like Sampras.” How can it be fun for him after being number one for so long.
There’s that word again.
I said that I imagined he was still hooked on the competition. For me, that’s what it is about racing. There’s something about the competitive nature — even if it’s just competing to see your own PR on a stick at the Leroy TT — that keeps me racing. There’s something addictive about it. That wouldn’t be the case if it were “just fun”.
I clearly remember the start of the first race I ever did. I’d never been in a pack of riders that big before. The sound of the wheels, chains, and gears shifting was sensory overload. And so very cool. It made me jump out of the pack after a rider who had taken off. I caught him, then not long after touched wheels, over-corrected, and went down.
But I was back again the next week (and every season since).