There are so many clichés about it. Buddhism and Hinduism both teach the concepts of the circles we travel through the course of our life. Bands have devoted entire albums to the concept. And for most of my life I thought this was all total crap.
I always looked at life as more of a meandering journey. To me, life was like a stage race. Each day is different. Sure – there are general categories. Some stages are for sprinters, like first love: long hours waiting and preparing in the peloton until a final, quick culmination in sheer joy for a few, bitter defeat for others. Some stages in life are long grueling climbs punctuated with decisive, strategic attacks (*ahem* my professional life). Of course the climb is then followed by blistering fast descents where your tires are barely holding on to the edge of the tarmac – sounds like high school to me.
Recent events in my life have forced me to rethink this outlook however. I’m sure that turning 41 had no small amount of influence on my introspection. As I’ve gotten a wee bit older I’ve come to find more insight from the similarities in life’s situations, not the differences. I’ve come to the conclusion that Life is a crit, not a stage race.
I think that was the interesting part of this train of thought for me. Sure, a crit is just going around and around on the same course. But it is the dynamics of each lap that make it interesting. It is how we adjust and adapt to what we learn on each lap that moves us forward.
If life is a crit it means that I have a chance to adapt and change to the circumstances and people around me. Maybe there is a prime next lap. Last time I went for a prime I attacked just as I heard the drunk guy on the 3rd corner yelling, but that guy in the red kit took me! So maybe this time I hold until I’m through the turn before taking a flyer. And I need to watch out for the guy right behind me. He’s been holding my wheel for 5 laps now and I hear he is a great sprinter. Or maybe I just go for broke and trust that my teammate will take it across the line for our team.
That is how I know life is a crit, not a stage race. Those are the type of dynamics I’ve experienced in my life. I’ve faced challenges both successfully and unsuccessfully. The successful ones always seem to be due to either a bit of luck, or applying what I learned from similar situations I’ve failed at in the past.
Here at VeloReviews we’re in one of those situations now. It wasn’t that long ago that JustAnotherCyclist was some nutty commuter/cycling blogger alone in the world. It then became a part of VeloReviews – a great community of cyclists, blogs, and podcasts. Then VeloReviews decided to “Pull a Voigt” – go completely and fully and don’t stop until we win or nearly die trying. VeloReviews invested everything in a honest-to-goodness, brick and mortar independent local bike shop. And well… I guess you could say we flatted. And bonked. And crashed. And dropped a chain.
But cycling is a team sport. We’re picking up the pieces. While the VeloReviews name is out of the race for now, the team pushes on.
The online portion of VeloReviews is now transitioning to JustAnotherCyclist. We’re going to regroup and refocus our efforts where we started. We sacrificed much of the blogging and content generation while focusing on the bike shop. Time to sharpen the pencils again. Time to connect with the folks online that share the passion for the bike we do. Together, we will continue to revel in the passion.
There is always a risk when you try to turn your passion into a job – because a job can easily become something you HAVE to do and try to avoid. Luckily that passion is still with us. In fact, one of the lessons I learned here is that if you love cycling and being on your bike, don’t open a bike shop. I spent all my time trying to make the shop work and precious little time on the bike.
And next time you are faced with a challenge remember, life is a crit. Maybe you are in a different position in the race this time, but you’ve ridden through all the corners before. Remember what line you used last time and how well it worked. Adjust as necessary. Just keep pedaling.
But don’t be afraid to enter a stage race every once in a while too.