Friday, August 23, 2013

A Kiwi and a Swiss walk into a restaurant...

Occasionally something positive can happen when you get dropped in a bicycle race as a matter of fact, sometimes a good old whooping can be down right comforting and pack a healthy reality check especially if you end up eating dinner with a couple of your "hero's" who lapped you not once but twice at the Tour of Nevada City Cycling Classic.

The promoter of the Nevada City Classic traditionally allows the top 3 junior racers to take on the pros the following day on fathers-day weekend. With 20 years of hindsight, I can now appreciate why he offers up this humble pie opportunity to teenage racers. You would think my reality check would have settled in when Wayne Morgan and Alexi Grewal lapped me for the first time. I couldn't care less because my dad was sitting on the sidelines with my silver medal safely tucked away in his pocket and I knew my weekend was untouchable. 

It wasn't until we had dinner that evening with Jim Gentes, Rob Parsons, Herbert Niederberger and Nathan Dahlberg when my subconscious career change set roots. Whats the saying- the devil is in the details? Lets just say that I'm convinced that the littlest and inconsequential details we remember make the most impact in our long term. To this day, I still reflect on the fact that both Herbet Niederberger and Nathan Dahlberg (both TdF finishers) barely ate anything on their plates that evening after putting in a couple of huge efforts at Nevada City that day (I'm pretty sure they were both in the top 5). It wasn't the speed of the race or the high stakes descending that got me thinking about a career change, it was the simple fact that you have to basically starve yourself to maintain the slightest possibility of landing another year with a pro cycling contract. Seeing these guys in street clothes was also an eye opener as they looked so thin and frail they were obviously straddling the fine line between healthy and sickly.

You remember things for a reason and I am convinced that dinner was meant to be. It was almost like they were doing me a favor with their demonstration of one simple sacrifice they endure daily. I have all the respect in the world for these guys knowing, well... imagining, what it might take to pedal in their shoes. 

For the record:
Dahlberg found out that he was going to race the Tour de France with team 7-Eleven the night before it started...

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