If there's one thing you learn from cycling, it's the value of momentum. This lesson doesn't take long to learn: the first time you stop on a hill and try to start up again, it's plainly apparent. Then, as you become more seasoned and more familiar with the depths of the "pain cave", you realize it's easier to maintain a a steady pace than it is to slow way down and speed up again.
Like other lessons learned in this amazing sport, the value of momentum is applicable to the "real world" as well. The only difference is, on a bike, you are either moving forward or you are not. In the "real world", I will venture to say, there is no static state, it is either positive and negative movement.
Life is a constant state of flux. We are either doing things that will make us better (better workers, better husbands/wives, better fathers/mothers) or we are doing the opposite. There is no pause, no stop.
This is where I find myself now, trying to establish momentum. Momentum at work, definitely momentum on the bike, and momentum with my wife and daughter. It's not a bad thing to strive for, but here's the tricky part - I've got a limited amount of time and energy to "get the ball rolling" in all these aspects of life.
It's a bit of a juggling act and my juggling skills are sorely lacking. In fact, I'm beginning to realize that, at best, I can maintain mediocrity in three areas of my life at the same time, but if I want to excel in any of them, my focus needs to narrow to two.
Lately, the focus has been family and work. I can say that both are going really well. But... I miss cycling. It's my passion, and it calls to me every day like a friend who wants to help me get over an ugly break up. I'm not even going to talk about the toll my time away from the bike has taken on my physical shape...
So, now I'm at a cross-road. Do I start riding again, with a goal to race, and accept finishing at the ass-end of the pack in order to keep the other areas in my life good? Or do I forget about racing and just ride occasionally when the mood strikes so as not to face the inevitable frustration and disappointment of getting whooped every race?
I'm writing this at 6:00 AM as I wait for the sun to come up so I can head out for my first two hour ride in over three months. At least it's a step in a positive direction.