I'll be 44 soon. I've been racing for 26 years, coaching for 15 and managing a team for 10. During the process of setting the budget and objectives for 2008, meeting with sponsors and compiling product lists from riders etc, it all just became too much. I realized I was dreading 2008. I started to ask myself what I was doing all this for? Money? ,some but surly not the mother load. Fame? I'm as famous as I'm ever going to get! Then what?
I have a 10 month old son who makes me belly laugh every day. I started to think of the hundreds and hundreds of hours I would be training, the time spent organizing my team and traveling to races, the meetings and dinners with sponsors, the time spent at suppliers factories giving them endless product feedback, the proposals, budgets and presentations and on and on and on.
I decided that I was done. Finished. I would much rather hold my son than hold 400 watts. I would much rather spend my time riveted to him, watching him play with the coloured blocks I just bought him, than on the rivet.
At first I was really frightened. For 26 years I knew what my life was going to entail each and every day. My life was planned around my training schedule and it was certain, reliable, predictable, safe. I had difficulty sleeping for a few nights. It was all I could think about.
Then I started to remember that there were other things I used to enjoy doing. Reading for instance. Playing Poker with my degenerate friends. I built a bike with a baby seat on it that my son will soon be old enough to enjoy with me. I thought about how much I used to just love riding my bike. I went into my office and took my computer off my bike. Suddenly possibilities began to open up. I thought about the bike tour I'd been trying to convince my wife of for years. She was game (sort of) but it never happened because I needed the time to train. And that was just the beginning. A weekend in Macua...a weekend in Hong Kong...there are hot springs in the mountains about 2 hours from here.
With the up, there is usually a down. I started to worry about getting fat (hey, I'm vain, so what). I wondered if I should join a gym. I already knew I wanted to study Chi-Gung (The precurser to Gung-Fu, - Kung Fu to you white folk) with my son when he was about 4. maybe I cold start now? I wondered if I could still motivate to ride enough not to become Stephan Roach.
I'd really be interested in hearing from others who have gone through this process. How was it for you? How did you cope? What changed in your life? Any hints or tips? I'm in virgin territory here and could really use some sage advice.