About a week ago, I was laying in bed with the chick I sleep with. We were discussing me being a big fat bag of shit. The subjects varied from "Honey, I'm running out of pants that fit." to "Jeezus, I don't think I can pull off another Crusher from the couch this year."
At this point, the mother of my children looked at me with those please-stay-on-your-side-of-the-bed eyes and said, "You could probably do really well if you'd just try."
Why didn't I think of that?
In the 19 years we have been together, she has seen me go from a 145 pound stud in Levi's 560's and a mullet, to a fat dude with an ear hair problem. I am not sure what in our history together makes her think that I can do anything besides survive a race like the Crusher.
That fact is that all of the big races or rides I have done in my life I have suffered through. Often touting my blue collar work ethic, otherwise known as being too dumb to quit.
The original Depic, the first two Crushers, the Park City Point to Point, every damn 'cross race I have ever done. All of them finished on the verge of, or just beyond the verge of puking.
I have never successfully trained for an event, participated in the event, and had the desired result at the end of the event. I long ago gave up on the fantasy that I have any natural ability or strengths when it comes to sports. I was certifiably terrible at every team sport I ever played. Individual sports were no better. I was a terrible wrestler, a mediocre at best swimmer, and below average at just about everything else I ever tried.
The reason I bore you with my ridiculous sporting career is to illustrate the fact that my wife(and children, and parents, and friends, and strangers) have never seen me excel at anything. I am not a born champion. I came to terms with that a long time ago. My concept of trying remains in the realm of not quitting. Once I begin an event, I will finish, or die trying.
What I think she was talking about was trying BEFORE I begin the event. Not doing it off the couch.
I guess that could work.
Since "The Challenge" issued by my wife, I have had some renewed vigor. I have ridden every day since then. Sometimes twice a day. I mentioned to her that one of the training challenges I face is the guilt of being away from my family...okay not really, but my excessive absence has historically been frowned upon. While she is, for the most part, very supportive of my alternative cycling lifestyle I have, on occasion, found her limits.She didn't really SAY I could spend the next two months training but she didn't say I shouldn't.
In all reality what she did was give me a slight nose tweak and tell me to get off my ass. It may just be exactly what I needed. To know that somebody that cares about me thinks I can do well.
When I was a kid, the often overheard reason my father gave for not attending my various attempts at sports was that he couldn't bear watching his kids fail at something. As an adult, I have figured out that what he thought he was saying was that he cared too much about us to see us hurt, or sad. What he didn't take into account was that to his kids, it sounded dangerously close to "My kids are losers and I don't want to watch that."
My Dad had some interesting parenting techniques, but he is directly responsible for the blue collar work ethic that I spoke of earlier. The plan for now is to combine that work ethic with the confidence gained from being told I can do it.
That and a $200 fat man wager with Doug Kolan.