Friday, October 26, 2012

What drives passion?

I was going to write a blog today (October 26, 2012) and found this one sitting in the drafts folder. I am guessing I wrote this some time around July 12th or so. Later is better than never, right :-)

Enjoy the read.

The Breckenridge 100 MTB is tomorrow. For those of you who don't know what the race is all about you can read the wikipedia article or see the official race page. If you asked me how ready I am compared to last year I wouldn't be able to give a straight answer. Last year I was more scared and aggressive toward the race mentally than this year. Last year I had never ridden my mountain bike more than 64 miles. It was the first time I was going to attempt pulling off a 100 mile ride, period. I have never even ridden 100 miles on a road bike. That is mostly because I don't have a road bike. This year, I know I can ride 100 miles. I also think that I have spent more time in the saddle than I did last year. Last year I rode a grand total of 1100 miles while this year I have ridden roughly 3200 miles from January to today according to the records that I kept in Garmin Connect. Really those figures are meaningless because I only started to track my rides after the Breckenridge 100 last year. The other huge difference between last year and this is that I went and saw Brad Ott at Rebound Physical Therapy. This was by far the best thing I did for myself. Brad helped me start to ride my bike as fast, hard and long as I wanted and have absolutely no knee problems! It has been amazing. I think this is a huge reason for being able to ride 3200 miles so far this year already.

Many times when I tell people I am going to ride my mountain bike 100 miles they ask how long this will take. I then inform them that it will take me between 11 and 12 hours to complete the race. At this point they are amazed. I suppose I can understand why you would be shocked hearing how many hours one spends on the bike when doing a race like this. I mean putting in a 12 hour day at work is a long day. To me on the other hand it is an amazing 12 hours. There are several reasons for this. The biggest of them all is the same reason that I love race days. Race days are wonderful because that is all you do, no work, no bills, no house maintenance, no working on the car or cleaning the garage. It is all about racing your bike.

Why don't people get excited about work? I mean you never see friends come over to each others house to watch an office meeting go on. Just imagine if my daily stand up meeting was on the same level of excitement as watching even the coin toss of the super bowl. No one seems to care about work outside of work. Well, I suppose an exception to that statement is when someone owns a lot of shares of said company and it either heads for the moon or tanks out. I think that it is because for most people, work is something they are good at and pays them enough to fit their life style. It isn't necessarily their passion in life. Take my self for instance. I really do like what I do, no I don't think that my boss will be reading this any time soon. In fact there are days I go home and continue playing around on the computer just because it is something I enjoy. For example I will spend a week or so understanding what GWT is all about just for the fun of it. If you were to ask me right now what I would do if I could start all over after high school and know that whatever I picked would pay me at least what I make now, I think I would either shoot for professional cycling, forest fire fighting or being a park ranger. Why don't I pursue those things? I think that is pretty simple to answer, FEAR.

Lets look at the three things listed above I hope it is obvious as to why I am scared to pursue those careers. For the professional cycling, I really don't think that I have the sort of talent to compete with the likes of George Hincapie, Cadel Evans, David Weins, etc. Those guys are just animals on the bike. I think the prospects of being even a domestic for those guys is super low for me. Maybe if I had been in the saddle shortly after I had learned to walk I could be singing a different tune. But there are some things in life you just are not built for. Yeah, I am okay at riding my bike, but I just don't think the right parts are there to be a world class cyclist. As for the other two, it really boils down to money. I don't think that being a park ranger or a forest fire fighter would bring in the steady income I see today being a computer software type of guy. Some may say that is sad. I think of it as smart. I can easily provide for myself, Jenn and our lovely dog Chester.

So, what if the tables were turned for me? Lets say that I was a professional cyclist. Would I be wishing on super hard training days in the cold rain wandering up a mountain pass that I was sitting in front of a computer drinking a coffee and writing some program to analyze forces applied to a distribution power pole? I doubt that I would be wishing for that specific scenario, but I do think there would certainly be times when I wished for that desk job. So, maybe if things were swapped I would look at leaving the world of professional cycling to enter a desk job as something that would be frightening. Who knows. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to sit down with one of cycling's greats and ask them that question some day.

So this brings me back to the question in the title of this blog, what drives passion?

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