Sure, I’m competitive and like to win but I’m not a win at all costs kind of guy. Here are a few things that drive me to win.
In 1999 I won two world titles on the track and anxiously looked forward to reading the coverage of the event in the next issue of England’s Cycling Weekly (which was the events sponsoring magazine). Instead the once a year article focused on a former great rider that had put his dentistry business on hold to make a comeback, won a race and was now going back to work. This just rubbed me wrong. This is masters racing and while some folks are fortunate enough not to work, I have been driven for a good many years by my attempt to balance employment, family and sport. Focusing on just one never sat right with me. England’s Ian Hallam holds the world record for the event that I will compete in just a few hours from now. I am not sure if I have the fitness and speed to get the world record but I know that I get a lot of encouragement from riders that also work, spend time with their families and love to play hard.
I’m also okay with being a weirdo. I’m not like other people and that’s okay by me. Not many people choose to wake up early on a cold and wet morning for a long ride before a long day of work. But, in doing so the workout gives me energy for the day and helps to fuel my next workout or my next race. For my 2008 training year (Oct-Sept) I had only two days where I didn’t get at least 30 minutes of exercise. Some would call that obsessive or silly, and I’m okay with that.
Twelve months ago at masters track nationals I was crashed, dislocated and broke two bones in my shoulder. It took over four months before I could put my arms above my head. Regardless of racing I wanted to be healthy again. I started taking Yoga with Debbie. Even though it was a long recovery the classes were of great help to my strength and flexibility.
I’ll write more about this later but being on Team Specialized for the past 15 years has been a wonderful experience. I have former professional and Olympic teammates as well as accomplished masters and junior teammates. World and National events have always been a goal of this team which has helped to keep my racing in perspective. When you shoot for a big event like worlds all of the races leading up to it serve a different purpose. Our team training for the masters nationals team pursuit was any absolute treat and a great training tool for our individual events as well. But mostly, I’m driven not to let my teammates down. Our sponsors have come to expect our winning ways but it’s my teammates that help to hold such a high standard of performance that I would never want to let down.
Finally, I’m driven to shoot for the highest honor in the sport of cycling, WORLD CHAMPION. But, I’ll not compromise my integrity by taking drugs. I had a fellow Nor Cal competitor accuse me of taking drugs earlier this year. He just did not understand how consistently hard people just like me work to achieve their goals. It was easier for him to assume that people that beat him badly were taking something than it was for him to get on his bike and train… year after year, hour after hour visualizing winning a world championship. It may not happen today, on my 50th birthday, but winning worlds is a goal worth shooting for. Hopefully, I’ll give the UCI a reason to drug test me.
Peace out, Larry