Post Epic Depression
It's inevitable, unavoidable and inescapable.
You plan for almost a year to do a monumental thing, you train like a maniac for it, mentally engross yourself in it and before you know it - it's a memory. Sure that's part of what makes big events fun and special. Don't get me wrong, I know you can't live on the edge of singletrack racing bliss and physical exhaustion every day, next thing you'd be looking for a 9-5 job as the grass is unfortunately _always_ greener on the other side of the trail. However coming back down from the BC race high has been a bit of a nosedive for me. The personal problems I left are still here, some of them have grown much worse. The issues did not resolve themselves in my absence, rather they lay in waiting to assault my self identity once I returned.
I spent a few hours at InnoTech yesterday and that made things much worse - being surrounded by people who's biggest ambition in life is to watch the newest episode of Amurican Idol; or who have not so much as jogged a mile in their miserable lives never knowing the sublime feeling of accomplishment gained from setting off for a goal that will require tough and painful weathering to achieve... how do endurance athletes relate in a country that is grossly overweight and over saturated with mindless entertainment the general population can't seem to ingest enough of? How do you explain to a coworker how great it felt to finish such a race or how hard it is to return to a 'normal' existence?
It's like I unplugged from the Matrix for two weeks and now I'm back in it. Just that Agent Smith has taken the form of my personal life and sweet, leather-bound Trinity isn't even in this sequel. Instead of waiting for the Fed Ex guy to deliver an already-ringing cell phone I unplugged from my computer yesterday, got up and walked out. At 2pm. Didn't go in today at all. Instead I sit here searching for words as some kind of therapeutic attempt at self-help.
My point to all this, however meager of a point it may be, is the bike. After leaving that building yesterday I got on my bike and pedaled. Up paved hills and down dirt paths, through swollen streams from recent rain, over slippery mud covered roots and rocks. My mind once again focused on the task at hand and on that ride I found peace again. I listened to music that encouraged me to pick my sorry ass up and move - and the bike took me there. Forward, not back. Through the pain of legs re-awakened by VO2 threshold intervals. Through the pain of wondering what meaning my entire life has had and if it will ever change for the better? Through the burning question of will I have the guts to make changes?
If there is a being — some all-knowing, ever-watching entity conducting this symphony of chaos here on Earth then I thank that God for my bike.
And even more, for friends to share rides with.
My problems are still with me, but after riding I find them less intimidating and my feeling of self replenished.
Now if only I can find my gameface for Nationals this coming weekend...