Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April in the States

I finally made it into the CyclingDirt Club at Sea Otter a couple weeks back.  This interview does a good job summing up the last several weeks:

Watch more video of Spencer Paxson on

I've had to battle some adversity back on home soil, which has been frustrating, having already fought for my spot so much on the World Cup circuit.  Lately, one of the greatest burdens has been managing expectations.  With some mechanical setbacks in the last two races, and most recently an untimely illness, I'm working on my personal pep-talks.

Even if things aren't going as hoped for, a few bent chains and little flu bug never really hurt anyone, and the good times are never that far out of reach.  Last weekend was a great time down in Prescott, AZ with the Kona XC crew - Barry Wicks (Team Manager/Racer extraordinaire), Kris Sneddon, Cory Wallace, Windy Simms, Dave McNaught (Mechanic extraordinaire), Alice Pennington, and fellow Oregon legend Sue Butler from River City Bikes.

The biggest cash purse in North America (and the biggest number plates) at the Whiskey 50 Off Road in Prescott, AZ.  It's been said a lot already, but I'll say it again...big hats off to the crew at Epic Rides for putting on such a great event, and doing so much to boost the sport of XC mountain biking in the US!
Photo Credit: - See the Kona train at the front of the Fat Tire Crit...I earned a solid top-10 in Sunday's 50-mile marathon XC, not too bad after training for events less than half the length!

Photo Credit: - Pain face at Sea Otter Classic.  The 'Otter was a good test of perseverance - I broke my bike about 8min into the race, and could barely keep the pedals going around smoothly, but decided to fight it out and re-gain ground for a top-15 finish.  Good legs, bad bike...better than the other way around!  One of these days, a Sea Otter Podium is waiting!

I shouldn't get too far ahead of myself.  A year ago, a top-10 finish at a major national-level event was a big deal.  But as a matter of perspective, things have shifted, and now I know I am capable of podium the pressure increases with every domestic event where I don't make it.  Podium results are accomplishments that resonate with everyone...meanwhile, starting at the back of a World Cup and finishing on the lead lap is also an accomplishment...but only understood by fellow racers who have attempted it.  On paper, what's cool about 87th place?!  It's somewhat defeating to think that all of the energy I will have spent pursuing the international events will go majorly unnoticed, but that's also just a matter of perspective.  I definitely don't do this bike racing thing just to get noticed!

Why do it then?  I'll share with you a poignant answer that I heard while listening to an episode of RadioLap, this one from Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics:

"What exactly about sports gives it an immeasurable value?  It’s a proxy for real life but better.  It renews itself, it’s constantly happening in real time, there are conflicts that seem to carry real consequences but at the end of the day don’t, it’s war where nobody dies, it’s a proxy for all our emotions, desires and hopes – what’s not to like about it."

Next up is a return to Europe for World Cups 3 and 4, and the conclusion of the Olympic Long Team qualification period.  The campaign for the American men is fairly wide open.  Whoever puts together the strongest rides at the next two World Cups will make a strong case for their selection to the Games!

'til nextime

1 comment:

  1. 87th place looks a lot better if you include all the rest of us watching at home on the list of DNSs, man.