I'm ready to give myself closure on what has been a painful subject for 25 years, BMX racing.
I defined myself early in life by my racing. I started when I was 12 for two reasons: I wanted to be different from my friends and I wanted a good reason to stay away from home.
I accomplished those things. And....here it goes...I got GOOD at it. Yes, my big problem is that I have never been able to say that I was good and actually mean it. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to win every single race. I could not accept being beaten, ever, by anyone. If I did win, I wanted to win by a larger distance. By my own definitions, I could not have been GOOD...I wasn't the best...I didn't win every single time...and there were people that could line up to race and beat me.
I rode my bike constantly. I lifted weights hard three times a week. I ran stairs three times a week. I did intervals on rollers twice a week. I did sprints, twice a day, three times a week. I did practice gate starts almost every day of the week. This went on almost year-round. Once I got a taste of winning races, I couldn't bear NOT WINNING. It was very stressful. So stressful, in fact, that even now what I remember most about my 8 years of serious BMX racing is not the wins, or the friends, or the places that I traveled to, but the losses. I'm no Stu Thomsen, so the losses outnumber the wins by quite a significant margin. That means that there are a lot of bad memories that piled up over those 8 years. Truth be told, I've hated BMX for 25 years.
But I'm letting it go. Dear lord, it's been 25 years. It's time to let it go and be happy that there were so many good times, memorable trips with my father, memorable people, great friends. I won some races. I raced against the best in the world at times and I was competitive...and dare I say it...I beat some of them some of the time. I won money. I won cool trophies, some of them taller than my kids are now. I raced cool bikes, some of which were given to me by cool bike companies. I had plane tickets bought for me by those cool companies to fly to cool places to race their stuff. I had my name on a cool home-made bike. I've had my picture in magazines. I signed autographs for people, sometimes cute girls. I signed kid's t-shirts, helmets, frame pads, and number plates just because they thought I was someone special like Eddy King or Brent Patterson or Richie Anderson.
I eventually started racing other kinds of bikes, and haven't done half bad since then, mostly because of the skills and fitness I gained from for BMX racing. My kids think I'm cool because I'm not like other parents. I started working in a bicycle store because of my racing, and I still work for one and it's been quite a career. In fact, most of my work ethic and my way of regarding the world came from those very important years.
So I asked myself: What is so terrible about all of that?