Monday, November 14, 2016


“I’m not joking. This is my job!”

In   college I had professor of English who, in flashes of inspiration, would say, “I want to give you a word.” Proceeding to the chalkboard, he would write the word and then give the class its definition. The students quickly understood that these words were to be taken seriously. Anything written on the chalkboard was likely to appear later on an exam. So, it seemed odd when at the very end of the last class, when all exams and writing assignments were behind us, the professor returned to the chalkboard one more time.

“I want to give you a word,” he said. Then he wrote D-O-N-E and bade us farewell. And “done” is an interesting word for one so small, so common, so … monosyllabic. It can be a simple statement of fact, or a lament, or an expression of joy. For college students wearied by a week of finals, it was certainly an expression of joy.

Today my 2016 racing season is done. That’s a simple statement of fact, and a lament, and an expression of joy. I’m glad to be done, glad to be rid of obligations and expectations. I would have liked to go out on a high note, but frankly that seemed impossible. Last week I spent only 4.5 hours in the saddle, adding a paltry 69 miles to my total. It was my worst week of training since May 9-15. This week isn’t going to be much better, and I don’t feel fit enough to give a good account of myself in the remaining WCA cyclocross races.

It’s probably not a coincidence that such a bad week immediately followed the end of Daylight Saving Time, and the days will continue to get shorter for the next month. Colder too: we’ll have some 50° days this week but West Bend might fail to reach 40° on Saturday and Sunday, and high winds on Saturday could bring sub-freezing wind chill. I really want to spend some time hiking, an activity I can enjoy under weather conditions that make cycling unappealing. And I really want to spend more time lifting weights, especially since I expect mountain biking to be the focus of my 2017 season.

There is no offseason anymore. “Done” is the just the end of one thing and the beginning of another. Today I get a head start on next year.

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