by Lee Waldman
Yes, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written, but with all of the race reports over the last month I would have been lost in the shuffle. Not writing, though, isn’t the same as not riding. As an infamous Tour winner recently said, some things are as prevalent in our lives as putting air in our tires and water in our bottles. So, when I finished my last hard training ride before Masters Worlds, I decided that it was time to share what’s been floating around in my head recently.
I was just fine tuning for Louisville, the race that has occupied a lot of space and time over the last three months, especially considering the fact that I may not have the opportunity to write about racing in a World Championship again. And, I was hoping that I’d be writing this article and the one that would follow, as I mentally prepared for the race. I hoped that I’d even be able to write about a stellar performance. Maybe not a podium but at least a ride that I could be proud of, one that would carry me into the summer and next year’s Nationals in Boulder, just 19 miles from my front door.
That didn’t happen. Due to a series of incredibly unfortunate events, I was not able to ride Masters’ Worlds this year. An unnoticed change in the race schedule left me at home, frustrated and saddened beyond belief. It’s tough to end a season with a whimper instead of a bang, but that’s the way it looks right now.
For me, it’s time to start thinking about next year. I’ll spend the summer on my mountain bike. I have a new goal – to finish a hundred miler in under nine hours. That race will happen on June 15. If I’m lucky I will have become a grandpa the week before. My oldest daughter is expecting and her due date is June 6. Hopefully the little guy will be on time.
My wife and I also retire this year. For her, it means more time to garden, to ride her bike and to relax from what has been an incredibly stressful two years. For me, it means more time to write, to ride, and … who knows what else? I love the openness of the next year. I’ll trust the Universe knowing that something, the right thing, will come up. Missing Worlds will gradually fade into insignificance and I’ll move on with my life.
The beauty of being an older athlete is that although time is passing, there really is nothing of consequence that presses on us. The races will still be there next year. In the meantime, the process of training and building fitness becomes a goal in and of itself. I thank whatever forces there are that have given me the mental and physical fortitude to continue to push my mind and body when so many men my age have given up and given in.
If you’re reading this column, and if you’re over 35, I’m sure you can relate. We are a unique breed and even though I didn’t get on a plane on Tuesday morning for Louisville, I can still revel in the fact that I challenge myself each and every day. It keeps me young, it keeps me healthy and it keeps me happy. What else can an “old guy” ask for?
I’m done for now. Go ride your bikes.