Tomorrow, around 9 am, Chris will head out to do the AZT300.
He has officially made it safely down to Arizona -- quite a step up from last year.
As I was driving home from a long day at work and class tonight, I was thinking about what he's about to do, where he's been, and how unbelievably proud of him I am. And when I get proud, I have to do the proverbial shout from the mountain tops in the form of blogging.
So here it goes...
I have a theory.
As with all of my theories, I am absolutely right. No questions asked.
We've often had the discussion about whether your seemingly bottomless pit of talent comes naturally or through hard work. We always come to a conclusion that it's a good combination of both.
Surely you have a natural drive and desire to explore, challenge yourself, and succeed. You approach everything in your life with this obsessive enthusiasm that I absolutely love. A drive like that is not something someone learns, it only can come naturally.
On the other hand, you are the most dedicated person I have ever met. With your natural enthusiasm comes a will to learn, train, and suffer. This is what ultimately sets you apart from any other athlete that I know. I can't even begin to count the times that you have dragged yourself out of a nice, warm bed, only to put on some chilly spandex and head out into the dark to ride. You resist the urge to get into sweats with me when I get home from work and instead hop on the trainer for some hard workouts. I've seen you make yourself suffer because you know that it'll help you out down the road.
You research every possible angle of a race, how you want to approach it, what gear you will need, what mindset you need to be in. You work hard for what you achieve, no one can possibly argue that.
Last year you were set for this race. Your mind was in the right place, your fitness dialed. But, as we've all learned, the unexpected often happens when you least want it to. You rebounded pretty well though, setting your mind to other tasks and trying to stay positive.
So here you are again this year: dialed, ready, fit. But this year you have a little something extra.
And finally, here's where my theory comes in.
You have wings.
You must've been born with them, as you let them peek out when you decided to ride away from your family at the park as a kid and end up miles down the road, only to send them into a frantic search for you (and yes, our kid will be properly outfitted with a SPOT at birth).
I think you let them out a bit here and there, testing the water with various activities, sports, and passions. Even when you got into biking, you tried to let them out but they seemed stuck.
When you finished the Colorado Trail this summer, it seems you found them. You realized that with a bit of frantic waving, they would come out and you could fly.
The good thing about wings though, once they are out and moving, you can use them whenever you want.
When things are hard, when they are easy, or when you are simply turning over the cranks one after the other, they are there in your bottomless pit of natural and learned talent for you to use.
You can fly.
So go do it.
The rest of us will be here cheering you on.
Watch Chris and the other AZT300 racers here.