I’ll kick this off by wishing everyone a Happy Easter weekend. May the food be plentiful, the chocolate sweet, and your plan to work off the pounds gained effective. I, for one, will fail miserably. But I am confident that my care level is very low. So bring on the food coma!!!
I was able to get out riding this week, and WOW, did it feel great. The trusty BluCru 450 was just wonderful while causing some arm pump and a small number of scary moments. As a kid in my racing prime, maybe a month-month and a half would be the distance between my rides from late fall to winter training or some lucky weather to hit a sandpit. This year, my last ride was from mid-October till Wednesday of this past week. I’m just about six months.
The last time I ever came close to this was when I broke my femur in 2000, but even then I rode for three months, which was dumb because I bent the screw in my leg above my knee, but I still rode. So six months between rides feels weird. But as I get older, it becomes the norm with having a family and priorities over getting out riding. Now, the weather hasn’t been great around either, so maybe I could have gotten out a couple of weeks ago, and I passed on a planned winter trip, but the reason for that was just life. Life gets in the way of fun at times, which can be hard to grasp. I’ve written before how growing up kind of sucks, but it’s inevitable and the reality we all face. I plan to ride more this year because it makes me feel good. Today, as I write this, my body is telling me otherwise, but once I get over that little hump, riding is going to be a big part of my 2022 for myself and with my kids. Put life aside for a little and do stuff for you to hold your sanity. You have to!
I was sitting and bench racing with my buddy Diggs the last couple of days about our series and how we both saw the depth in either 250 or 450 class coming into 2022. On paper, the 450 class will likely be the weakest in history as far as riders with stats or reasons why you can be excited about them getting top 10s. I’m not sure why I think that way, but both Diggs and I agreed, as does this chat group we’re in. It’s not a knock on any of them, but it would be hard for them not to think that in the way I have presented this first paragraph of my thought: Back in 1997, when I finished 5th in the series, only like 8-9 racers did every national. I was so proud back then, and I was on the rise, but when I look back at it now, it was more of an attendance award. I had moments of “wow” and “amazing ride” comments from the sponsors. Looking back though, it’s not as hard-hitting as it was in the moment.
What is depth in racing now? How are we supposed to measure and allow people to give credit to specific riders? Me being a critic or a passionate fan with years of experience and understanding of what goes into the sport to get into that coveted top 10 in the class, but with social networks, it’s hard to give worth to some of these racers simply because they have nice photos or an insta-banger video. Riders look better than they are. But to be inside the top 10 in any pro class in this sport in your country is truly amazing, isn’t it? Why is it hard to give that credit by today’s standards? Maybe it’s just me, but I feel it isn’t because in these chat groups or bench racing with Diggs, we agree, so we can’t be alone in this. Maybe it’s just the old school mentality, and seeing the next generation of Canadian talent doesn’t seem tough enough to allow me to give them credit in the sense of a “they are really good and can win” nod. But also, how long can Wright and Pettis carry the flag on top of the main class? Who’s next in that class? With names like Piccolo and McNabb not moving up for at least three years, who’s filling that gap? Measuring depth and allowing ourselves as fans to watch and embrace a racer moving through the ranks is tainted now with social media. Looking better, tougher, stronger, faster than ever is the norm, but at the end of the day, if these guys just float around in that 7-10 range collecting points with no deep heart-pounding effort and simply showing up gets you a permanent number, is that good? Is that respectable? When I did, I was so proud, and I gained respect. Is it the same these days? My mind has a hard time wrapping around the idea. Maybe I’m just an idiot, but from the outside looking in, the attendance award will pop back up in 2022!!
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