Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bring Your Head Up

This morning I was busy nursing my wounds from Saturday's carnage:

(I would have shown you a third picture of where I took the brunt of the fall, but I didn't want my blog to be labeled as a porn site. Also, notice in the top-left background that a few flesh wounds doesn't mean you should stop commuting to work).

It got me thinking about how lucky I am to have a hobby like mountain biking. That's right, licking my wounds made me think of how lucky I am. Over the past week or so I've had a few conversations with some old friends that I don't see very often. The conversation usually turned to what each of us were up to. It seems like the response of choice for most of my friends was:

"I'm keeping my head down."

"Keeping my head down", in case you're wondering, is another way of saying "I'm working my ass off", or "Trying to get ahead." I used to ride with some of these guys, but it doesn't sound like any of them have been out in months or even years. I secretly felt a little bit bad for my friends' obsessions with getting ahead, and I avoided telling them how much fun I've had on my bike, skis and snowboard this past year (even though they probably would have thought my time would have been better spent getting ahead).

Don't get me wrong, it's important to work your ass off. Especially right now when you never know if you'll have a job next week. I look back on the 7-8 years I spent up at Utah State (my #1) and the U of U (my #2) , and there were plenty of months where I "kept my head down" without ever bringing it up. I'm grateful for these times, because it laid a good groundwork for the rest of my life.

However, in hindsight, my best memories from my years in Logan are the times I did bring my head up. Riding the Jardine Juniper and Bunchgrass trails, hiking to the wind caves with my wife, and taking a semester off to travel Europe with the misses. I'm grateful to have the memories I do have, and I wish I had even more of them. Too many memories are of me sitting in the Engineering computer lab.

So feel free to work your ass off. Just don't forget to bring your head up from time to time. If you're not enjoying the journey, it's time to take a step back because the journey just keeps going and going.

Whoa, this suddenly turned into my most preachy post ever.

So anyway, to get back to the beginning of this post, the burn/sting from my my leg, arm, and hip serve as a reminder from my crash. Maybe it makes me a narcisist (I think all bike racers qualify to some extent), but I sorta like that painful feeling. It reminds me that I'm alive. It reminds me that I brought my head up last weekend. It reminds me that I'll be bringing my head up again on Monday. I won't win, and my chances of a podium finish are slim, but sure as hell beats keeping my head down.


Ski Bike Junkie said...

Amen and all that to everything you said. However, I had a hard time concentrating because it looks like you're in desperate need of trimming down the steer tube on your road bike. I've never seen a spacer stack like that. At least not above the stem. I have a chop saw in my garage that would make quick work of it.

nails said...


Sabrosa Cycles said...

Word to your word. Was there a 2x4 involved by any chance? Nice wounds.

Work hard,so you can play harder on the weekends. I dig showing up to work on monday morning hammered from a good weekend epic.