Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Adventure Race Musings at the End of the Season

The 2008 adventure racing season is almost at an end and I have mixed feelings about it. I've been racing since early May and have done 4 races, with one more to go (maybe). Four races, going on five (maybe) over 5 months may not sound like a lot, but these races are a significant investment in time and money.

The time commitment is not just for the races, which require a weekend of dedication or more. I typically leave for a race on a Friday and come home on Sunday. The last race , a 3.5 day event, will involve 5 or 6 days of my time . But racing also involves a time commitment in "training" so I do well and my team does well. Being committed to "training" has it's pluses. It "forces" me to stay in shape. I find it doubtful that I'd allow myself to get in bad shape, but knowing I have to race hard for 10, 20 or more hours and not let my team mates down ensures that I stay in really good shape. There are days when I would not have done a 4 hour brick instead of a fun ride with my friends if I weren't "training".

The downside to spending time "training" is that it sometimes keeps me from doing other things I like, and often doing those things with Jesper. Don't get me wrong, what I do when I "train" is not anything horrible; it's stuff I like to do - run, trek, bike, inline skate (well, I'm not such a huge fan of that sport, but....). But it becomes somewhat regimented, as opposed to the spontaneous Hey let's go ride Jamestown! My long runs I typically do by myself; too long for the dog and for Jesper, both of whom are good for an hour long jaunt, but not much more. And getting back to those weekends away, they limit my ability to go away other weekends, since I'm a bit of a home body and don't like to be gone all the time. Finally, I feel like I'm spending too much time on ME and not as much time on US (that's the Jesper and Jen US). So, I'm feeling spent out on the time commitment.

Then there's the financial commitment. Adventure racing is not cheap. I'm trying to do all this racing on my monthly income, which has been variable and low pretty much the entire time I've been in Colorado. I'm bringing in more consistent money now with the Tetra Tech gig, but the early season was a stretch. That being said, my team (Git Some) has picked very affordable races that can be reached via car to keep the expenses down. I've probably spent less doing the four races this year (and even adding in the big expedition race that might still happen) than I did doing one big 6-day race up in Canada last year.

I think I am ready to be done with the time commitment and the financial commitment.

But, I have enjoyed the racing and my team mates! I've been to wonderful locations in Colorado and have seen them in ways I normally would not (like, the middle of Lake Dillon in the middle of the night under a brilliant half moon). I might get to play in some beautiful spots near Moab if the last race comes to fruition. Being in amazing places, especially at night, creates indelible memories. I've pushed myself hard and come out pleased with my own performance. I've dramatically improved my running and paddling. I've met some really nice people in the AR world out here in the Rocky Mountain region. My team has done well and, since I'm a competitive person, it makes me happy to beat other teams. Finally, I've had a lot of fun!

I sense that my team mates are struggling with the same issues I am. As a result, we are having trouble staying together for this one last race. I'm not sure if we'll work it out to be able to race the Moab Expedition or not. You'll have to check back here to see.

Regardless, I will be sad when the season is over, despite being somewhat relieved. I'll get some good fall riding in and then segue to tele skiing for the winter. That's one of Colorado's best features, just when you start to get tired of one sport, it's time for another one. The good thing is, I know I'll come back next year with a new yearning to race again.


Stefan said...

Dang, you pretty much summed up what's bouncing around in my head too. Too much time, too much "training", missing out on too many fun and free outings. AR is certainly a lot of fun, but sometimes it just seems so complicated with all the gear drops, transitions, pack ahead planning.

Plus I hate running. At least for more than 5 miles at a time or so.

Sure hope you can pull a team together for the exhibition - one last race to give it our all.

Itty Bitty Betty said...


Thanks so much for your comment - it made me feel so much better for having these mixed feelings. The good new is Team Git Some WILL have a competitive team at the Expedition! I am super excited - one last race to go all out for! Git Some!

redstone said...

I remember a long time ago when I was racing bikes as a full time commitment. A buddy of mine had injured himself early in the Spring and was out all season. About halfway thru the season, I asked him how things were going. His reply, "Man, there's a whole new world out there when you quit racing..."

Kim said...

The things you're stuggling with are the reasons I gave up racing. I found my life was consumed by training and the need and desire to get better and the competitive side of me isn't someone I like.

Granted you're training is on a waaaaay bigger scale than mine was ever was :)