Wausau, Wisconsin's Nine Mile Recreational Area was the site of today's Trek Big Ring Classic. The Wisconsin Off Road Series touts itself as the biggest state racing series in America. And by the hundreds of riders at today's event, it's clear this organization has developed a well run program with great infrastructure and rider support.
"Big Ring" was right. These randy competitors were grinding the big gears on this fast, granite-based course. I spotted a couple of master man style riders, but for the most part this is a young man's and young woman's game. The intensity in competition was evident. I spectated on a single track wooded section; riders were pounding through wheel-to-wheel and I envisioned myself being off the pace and holding up a fast moving freight train of off road talent.
I have become comfortable in my own skin and was quite OK at today's event. Years back, I'd be agitated and ornery about the fact I was leaning on the fence, not racing on the track. But now I realize that it's fun to watch young, gifted riders do their thing. My version of mountain biking is now a slow, reserved, spin that is more about exercise and relaxation than competition. We all ride at different phases, yet we're all part of the sport.
I find it interesting to examine myself and realize I'm pretty settled and satisfied with my state of affairs. I don't ride with the latest equipment, or wear cutting edge riding apparel. Matter of fact, I detest the term "kit" (riding outfit)....what's wrong with a jersey and riding shorts?
It's fun being the best you can be, but having nothing left to prove. I no longer need the sport to validate myself. The sport no longer defines me; instead, I define my place in the sport. Let's work to develop fun and fitness while embracing the age and ability we possess.