Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Smoke Signals

Fire makes such a great analogy for things in life.  It can be amazingly powerful, but fragile at the same time.  Cultivated properly it can sustain, provide warmth for those nearby.  It is useful in so many ways and yet destructive at the same time.  It can be fearsome, or comforting.  Controlling it can be a bit of an illusion at times, snuffing it out can be immediate and harsh.  All kinds of parallels can be drawn between flames and the chemical fire that burns in each one of us.  Some are smoldering, straining to stay alight while others are consuming everything around them, all consuming and destructive in nature.

Allison has been using fire as an analog in many of her posts recently and I like it.  Understanding fire and bridling it's good qualities while avoiding the bad is much like the way an athlete cultivates their ability.  The title of this post was one I thought of on my long drive home this last Saturday evening after the final CX race of the season, following the awards ceremony where I stood on top of the podium as the Series Champion for 35+ A group.

Lots of smoke is usually a bad sign from the fire.  It can mean lots of things, burning too rich or having trouble staying alight...

The past few races I felt like my fire was making too much smoke.  My results have faded some and I have struggled with the race efforts and with the motivation to compete.  It isn't like that is a big surprise.  I have had a lot of racing and stretched my base further than expected, the fire needs to be reformed and rebuilt.  As I started with my YIR post, which turned into a series, and was then never finished; 2011 was one hell of a year for results for me.  I raced more than ever before and was on the podium more than my share.  I won a lot of races, placed third at Nationals, took several jerseys for my collection, and was forced to pick and choose between trophies for the shelf.

At dinner last night with my father-in-law Allison and I agreed that it was probably our best year ever for vacations, and will be one with which many future years will be compared to (with the exception that her whole racing season was destroyed).  So after having a bright, hot, somewhat destructive fire things need to be rearranged, they need to have some order restored.

So that is what I am doing now.  I need to find out if my fire can burn brighter, cleaner, hotter, maybe a tad less destructive and overall more efficient.  I will have more competition, serious wildfires to contend with in 2012.  Fires that left a much bigger swath of destruction behind them than I did last year!

Seeing as how I am not so good with plans I am still playing things by ear.  I am entering the year with diligence and focus but am not expecting results on the same level.  I am looking forward to the epic battles and hope that I am prepared to take part.  Despite where I lay when the dust settles, I hope to have improved in some way.

To this end I am doing some trail running in the hopes of promoting continuous improvement.  I am still very new to all this and have much to learn about sport and myself.  2012 will be an exciting year and I hope to have many fabulous stories to write in my blog.

Till then, a drink to the success that was 2011 (and then a little with the last CX race this last weekend)!

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